R.I.P. Hilltop Steakhouse

Hilltop Steakhouse, thanks for the memories!

I remember when I took this picture. When I worked in Malden, I would drive by The Hilltop on Route 1 all the time. Horrendous traffic aside, I really enjoy driving on Route 1 because each drive is like a trip through a sign museum. It's even better if I am a passenger instead of the driver so I can pay close attention to the details around me instead of paying close attention to the cars on the road. Route 1 is filled with signs that time forgot, and that's why I like it so much.

I had always wanted to take a picture of The Hilltop sign, but timing wasn't always right. I either didn't have my camera, the weather was bad, or too many lights were out on the sign (I can't remember the last time I saw it completely illuminated). Well one night everything fell into place. I was driving by, noticed that enough lights were working, it wasn't raining or snowing, and my camera was in my bag. I veered into the parking lot, found the best angle, and shot away.

I loved this sign not just for its unique design and towering height. I loved it for the memories it held, too. The Hilltop is one of the first restaurants I can ever remember going to with my family. I remember having to wait in line. I remember wondering if we'd end up in Sioux City, Santa Fe, Kansas City, etc. I remember Shirley Temples with extra cherries. And I remember my mom reminiscing about the good old days as a waitress there when she was younger.

I haven't been back in years, and that's probably for the best since the consensus is that the restaurant started going downhill a long time ago. The doors are now set to permanently close at the end of the month. Regardless of how it ended up, The Hilltop will hold a small place in my heart! I wonder what they will do with the sign. Here's hoping it spends the rest of its days in an actual sign museum.