Hilltop Steak House, Saugus landmark, to close

It’s the last roundup for the Hilltop Steak House.

The landmark restaurant on Route 1 in Saugus, known for its juicy steaks, its giant cactus sign, and its herd of plastic cows, has announced that it will close later this month, citing a dramatic decline in business.

Saugus, MA 04/29/2007 - Hilltop Steak House - Route 1 South - Server Sue Henderson, cq, of Hamilton, prepares to serve a table at Hilltop Steak House. For a story about the meals tax Governor Patrick is proposing to create a new revenue stream for local communities. For Globe North. Dina Rudick/Globe Staff. Library Tag 05062007 Globe North 1
Server Sue Henderson of Hamilton prepared to deliver some steaks in 2007. (Dina Rudick/Globe Staff)The Boston Globe - The Boston Gl

“Over the past several years we have seen a dramatic change in the volume of our business,” the restaurant wrote the town’s selectmen Wednesday. “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.”

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The letter was signed “The Management of Hilltop Steakhouse” and sent to the attention of Selectmen Chairman Michael Serino.

A mecca for beef lovers, the restaurant offers, among other things, an 18-ounce bone-in sirloin steak and 14-ounce servings of rib eye steak, boneless sirloin steak, and prime rib, according to its menu.

Selectwoman Julie Mitchell said she heard the news this morning.

“It’s very sad,” she said. “It’s been there for so long. So many memories have been there.”

One of Mitchell’s first jobs was being a hostess at the Hilltop, she said. Mitchell noted that the Hilltop isn’t just an important monument for Saugus, but that people from around the world have traveled to eat there.

In recent years, the restaurant, “wasn’t what it used to be,” she said. “In the past, there would be lines and you would wait for hours.”

Mitchell thought that although general business had been declining, the use of Hilltop’s function rooms would help carry the business.

“It’s really sad,” she said. “It’s a big loss for the town.”

The letter said the restaurant would close for the last time on Sunday, Oct. 20.

The restaurant’s management and staff, with the help of the town, in recent years had made “tremendous efforts” to overcome the decline in business, the letter said.

“In closing we would like to express our sincere gratitude to all the departments of the Town of Saugus and its wonderful residents for their support and patronage over the last 52 years,” the letter said.

The company”s butcher shop in Weymouth will continue to operate, the letter said. A Braintree location closed in 2007.

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