You know you’ve seen it — that gaudy Cactus cutting through the Route 1 skyline in Saugus.
That belongs Hilltop Steak House. If you haven’t eaten at the establishment already, and its on your list of “to-do’s,” plan accordingly; time is running out.
The BBJ reports that the familiar restaurant will close on October 20, after Hilltop management sent a letter to the Saugus Board of Selectmen, announcing that it would be closing after 52 years.
“It is with great sadness that we announce a closing of the Hilltop on October 20,” Hilltop owners wrote in their letter, after a “dramatic change in the volume of business.”
Basically their primo-steaks, and kind of concerning but equally amazing Cactus, just weren’t enough to get them through the fiscal year
All is not lost, however, as the BBJ reports that the Hilltop butcher shop in Weymouth will stay open for business.
The 20,000-square-foot Hilltop Restaurant sits on more than 11 acres along Route 1. In 2004, High County Investor Inc. bought the property for just over $10 million.
Robert Luongo, Saugus economic development director (not the goalie), told the BBJ “Its’ a fabulous opportunity for the town to redevelop that site and work with the owners,” adding that their is potential for mixed-use development.
Hilltop Steak House was opened in 1961, after butcher Frank Giuffrida — who’s name is displayed on the iconic cactus — bought the property in 1947.
He would later sell his share in Hilltop to businessman John Swansburg in 1988.
The following year, the restaurant’s business boomed, grossing $60 million while serving 2 million customers. By 1994, Hilltop was serving up to 5,000 meals per day.
Reports in 2011 that the restaurant was going under were denied at the time.
Another Hilltop Steak House in Braintree closed in 2007. Giuffrida died in 2003.
I understand that steaks and roadside dining don’t appeal to everyone. Not sure why, though, because that’s about as American as it gets. Regardless, it will be sad to see that giant cactus removed.
Image from eccentricroadside.blogspot