Friday, October 11, 2013

End Of An Era...

Yankeefried sends in some sad news...


Hilltop Steak House to close October 20
The iconic Saugus steakhouse, which has beckoned generations of diners with an enormous decorative cactus and friendly plastic cows, will close its doors on October 20, The Boston Business Journal and Boston Restaurant Talk report. The restaurant had been in business for 52 years; years ago, lines were out the door.

Owners point to a "dramatic change in the volume" of business as a reason for the closure. A Braintree location shuttered in 2007.
The Hilltop steakhouse is an ICON. Route 1 South will not be the same without the 70 foot tall neon cactus and the plastic cows (really. The cactus is visible from Maine. It is also located directly across the street from a Hooters, which faced opposition from the town for YEARS because they were afraid, and I swear to G-d I am not making this up, that a Hooters would detract from the atmosphere on Route 1). That cactus also provided a more personal backdrop:


Yeah, it's such an icon I used it for a KTKC shot. 

We'd noticed the decline in business over the past few years, most notable at the blog dinner for Ambulance Driver a few years back. It was rather embarrassing, as I hadn't been to Hilltop in a few years and hadn't heard anything about a decline in the restaurant. The article says the owners point to a dramatic change in volume recently - if the food we received in 2009 was any indication, there's a reason for the drop in customer visits. It went from "excellent steakhouse fare" to "rather overpriced and certainly no better than any mediocre chain steakhouse".

I do have to wonder what will become of the plastic cows that folks have been stealing through the years...

That is all.

11 comments:

KevinC said...

As a resident of The Copper State, kudos to them for making a saguaro-shaped sign that kinda looks like a saguaro.

Cactus-shaped thingies that show two equally-shaped and equal length arms annoy me, as those never happen in nature.

On a side note, that steakhouse got a passing mention in a Spenser novel, so even me, who's never been to the Northwest, has heard of it. Another local icon bites the dust.

ASM826 said...

Apparently they heard JayG was moving out of state and they just threw up their hands and decided to close.

libertyman said...

Hey, we had one of our first blogger meets there! It looked a little threadbare even then.

I remember lines wrapped around the building to get in years ago.
How times change.

Wally said...

Aw hell.

guess in order to see saguaro cactus I'll just have to....


I remember the blogmeet there 4?5? years ago, it was pretty light even then.

Wally said...

ps: $5 says at least one of those cows ends up at Weerd's

Ed said...

I remember eating there when there was a 30+ minute wait to get in back in the '80's. My reaction after dinner was "I waited for this?" I guessed that the attraction was that the dinner was possibly $1 cheaper per person, but that you did not get what you paid for - you got less then what you paid for.

Jim said...

Plastic Cows, you say?

They'll end up in a Wendy's burger, square corners and all.



Jim
Sunk New Dawn
Galveston, TX

Glenn B said...

Call in Chef Ramsey to fix this Nightmare!

Heath J said...

Plastic Cows??

If they end up in a certain front yard in VA eventually, I have no idea how they got there...

Anonymous said...

I once played down in protest. I was a cranky lad. The food was good. My parents would shop at their Supermarket, even after they moved it back of the resteraunt.About 10 years ago it got awful and never went back. Bittersweet It's the end of era. But maybe they will turn into a Mega gun store!

TOTWTYTR said...

That used to be THE place to go for Sunday dinner. Even back in the 1960s when I was a kid. That covered porch that wraps around the side of the building was packed with people waiting to get in.

At it's peak, they had 5-6 restaurants, but it's all gone now or will be in a few days.

I heard that the cows are available for #3,000.00. I think that is each.