A friend of mine, who will go nameless because, well, you'll see, once won a great bet at the Hilltop Steakhouse.
He had just finished a tasty slab of prime rib - the king cut, I believe. Baked potato, all the fixings. Like a good man, he ate the meat but left the hunking piece of fat on his plate (as I recall, it was the only thing left on his plate).
So this other friend of ours says she'll pay for his meal if he eats the fat. And not just down it with a glass of water but chew it alone and eat it.
He pulled it off and, somehow, didn't throw up. And he got pie and a glass of milk for dessert. The story is the stuff of legend among the fellas and retold anytime any of us passes the Hilltop.
After today, that can only happen in Saugus now that the Braintree Hilltop has closed its doors. This picture tells the sorrowful story more than anything I could muster here. The plastic cows are gone. The placemats identifying each cut of beef on a map of a cow are history.
Where, on the South Shore anyway, will the fat-eaters of tomorrow craft their trade?
Where will the gluttonous masses go on a Saturday night to eat til they practically puke?
Where will guys who shouldn't be wearing cowboy boots and women who shouldn't be wearing Texas belt-buckles go for Sunday brunch?
The Outback? Puh-leaze, mate.
Bugaboo Creek? Sounds like a bad Robert Redford movie, not a steakhouse.
The 99? Might as well go to Unos and have a pizza, you wuss.
They, my friends, will go to Saugus where the Hilltop still lives, thrives and reigns. And then, for a brief time anyway, all will be right in the world.