Customers Have Beef with News that Hilltop Steakhouse Is Closing Down

On October 20, the iconic Route 1 spot will be no more.

The lights will dim on the large 70-foot cactus sitting alongside Route 1 in Saugus on October 20, when the Hilltop Steakhouse, a fixture along the roadway, closes its doors for good.

According to the Saugus Advertiser, who obtained a letter sent to the Board of Selectmen from the management team at the steak restaurant, a “dramatic change” in the volume of the eatery’s business has led them to make the decision to shutter their doors.

The letter said:

Tremendous efforts have been made over this period by our management and staff with the cooperation of the town to make improvements and overcome this decline. However, the continued change in the demographics of our customer base, increased competition and the increased cost to run this fabulous landmark has been too great to overcome. We therefore have no choice but to close our restaurant.

The accompanying butcher shop owned by the company, in Weymouth, will live on, but after 52 years in the business, the Route 1 location that has become a staple for families dining out will be no more. “We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all the departments of the Town of Saugus and its wonderful residents for their support,” the letter from the restaurant’s management team said.

The news of the closure was first reported by Boston’s Hospitality and Tourism blog, and later confirmed by other restaurant news outlets.

The steakhouse, which had a Braintree location that closed in 2007, was known for its large, 18-ounce slabs of beef served as entrees, and the iconic fiberglass cows grazing outside the restaurant’s entrance.

The Hilltop Steakhouse was a regular winner of Best of Boston’s “Best Meat, Use of Cow” category in the eighties and nineties.

News of the closure, of course, elicited a massive response from people online, including childhood memories drudged up once word got out that the steakhouse would soon be put out to pasture.