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Boston Restaurant Blog >> 2006 archives >> January, 2006 >> blog entry

Boston Restaurant Blog -- January, 2006

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Restaurants on Route 1 in Saugus

A few of us were talking about past and present restaurants on Route 1 in Saugus. For those who don't know Route 1, it is one of the cheesiest, outdated, most over-the-top roads in Massachusetts, if not the United States. Everywhere you look, you see weirdness, including a leaning tower of pizza (not Pisa), a string of no-tell motels, a huge dinosaur guarding a miniature golf course, a bunch of plastic cows, and a huge ship near the Lynnfield border that used to be a restaurant. Route 1 in Saugus, for better or for worse, is a memorable road.

There are a lot of bad restaurants on Route 1, but there are a few good ones, too, and even some of the bad restaurants are worth going to just for the atmosphere. For instance, I don't particularly like the Hilltop Steak House, but the cheesy cactus sign and the plastic cows out front are almost worth the price of admission. Another rather mediocre restaurant, Augustine's, is now closed, but in its day, it was worth piling up on the pasta at the buffet while listening to the woman playing unforgettable songs (again, for better or worse) on the piano.

One restaurant I really like on Route 1 in Saugus is Prince Pizzeria and Bar, home of the aforementioned leaning tower of pizza. Some of the best pizza I have had has come from Prince Pizza, and the atmosphere is old-fashioned and family-oriented, so this is a great non-chain option for people with children. The owners are truly good people, and they really treat their help well, which is often a rarity these days.

Some other restaurants on Route 1 in Saugus include The Continental, a middling restaurant that isn't a bad option for families; a branch of Kelly's Roast Beef, though I would rather go to the Kelly's on Revere Beach; a branch of The Border Cafe; Donatello's; and, of course, the famous (or infamous?) Kowloon, a restaurant made famous partly by a certain sports radio guy's love for the place, and partly for its almost unbelievable cheesiness and tackiness.

If you have not been to Route 1 in Saugus yet, do yourself a favor and make a trip up there. You won't soon forget it!

Related Blog Entries: Saugus restaurants

Sctts said:
I am very sorry to hear that Augustines restaurant in Saugus is closed. I took my wife there for our first dinner out and now I was planning to spend our 20th anniversary there. I know that they were the best Italian restaurant in the Boston area for years.
Posted on 9/26/06
BostonGal said:
The best part about Hilltop Steak House is my childhood memories of hearing over the loudspeaker "Sioux City pahty ah fouh ya tables ready."
Posted on 4/23/08
Barbie said:
I remember the Hilltop and the loudspeaker too! That was so much fun. The Continental is still there and the food is great as well as the entertainment. Smokin Joe DJ and Karaoke is just a blast. He has a wonderful voice and you can dance the night away! We went the other night and it was a lot of fun!
Posted on 7/1/08
Suz said:
Had I not grown up in Lynnfield and driven down Route 1 essentially every day for 20+ years, then I'd think it were the trashiest place in America. However, I do not. I have a strange affinity for this road and all of the options from food to shopping and everything in between, and I'm talking from Saugus to Topsfield. They're doing a lot in bettering the grocery options as well with the development of the new plaza where Caruso's Diplomat used be, which now features a Trader Joe's. Oh, and Prince Pizza - AMAZING. I just may go grab a pie from there right now! :)
Posted on 12/11/08
aj gabby said:
The Continental still knocks out a good meal. Lots of nibblies are passed around by servers before the meal starts - popovers, meatballs, etc. The meals are good as is the service. It's not gourmet meals but good food. The decor is the same as it was over 40 years ago when my wife and I were dating.
Augustines was pitiful. It's sad to go to the Hilltop and see how little business they have. The porkchops and salad are a great meal and it's very inexpensive. Two large porkchops for about $13. Worth the trip.
Posted on 12/12/08
mlb said:
I miss hearing the announcement of your table is ready and the room that they decided to seat your party at the Hilltop. I still go there occasionally because my husband likes a good steak and baked potato. But I must say, I hope Route 1 in Saugus continues to offer a diverse amount of choices for eating. Kowloons is a great place to go if you have a large party and Prince Pizza continues to offer cheap and delicious meals for families.
Posted on 1/17/09
Jeff said:
I miss the old Diamond Head restaurant where Polcaris is. The food was good and there was entertainment there on the weekends.
Posted on 2/6/10
Trish said:
I grew up in Lynnfield and Rt 1 was the only place you could go to shop and eat back in those days. It wasn't tacky at all to us - in fact, as an 8 yr old - it was magical! That crazy orange dinosaur and leaning tower of pizza were landmarks that marked the coming of great food and wonderful experiences.
All our proms were at Kowloon and I never got eat at the Hilltop because McDonalds was right across the street and we couldn't wait 4 hours to eat!
I loved Rt 1 in Saugus - and even though I couldn't believe how awful it looks now - back in the 70's and 80's it really was a very cool place.
You can go home's just not the same anymore.
Posted on 2/9/10
Bobby De said:
How about Adventure Car Hop...Woo Woo Ginsburg. Now more toward today. Hard Cover still good but not many of the old spots.
Posted on 6/25/10
dwn said:
remember fri or sat at the hilltop wait at least 1hr for good meal now its not very good.
Posted on 8/8/10
CJ said:
How about the Red Coach Grill and also Valley Steak house. The good old days...I also think there was a Red Lobster way back when where the 99 resturant is standing.
Posted on 10/10/10
Ron said:
I agree, Diamond Head restaurant was a great place. Hilltop Steak House was the king of steak houses on rt 1 in the old days.. does anybody remember Jolly Georges or the Saugus International Airport restaurants? Continental restaurant was and still is a decent eatery. Love all those munchies...
Posted on 10/19/10
jm said:
Where was Augustines restaurant.
Posted on 8/6/11
MH said:
jm, it was on Route 1 Northbound, just north of the Lynn Fells Parkway fork.
Posted on 8/8/11
Kathy said:
I grew up in Saugus with the Kowloon, Hilltop and Vallee's...Augustine's and all live in central Mass and we travel back to Rte. 1 for Donatello. If you want excellent cuisine and outstanding professional will find it all at Donatello. Veal is perfection...Di Vitello Francese is my fav but they have taken it off the new menu..but will make it for you ask. Gnocchi are pillows, and you start the meal with an overflowing bread basket of fresh homemade bread and breadsticks. I love this place...who else would travel 1 1/2 hours for a piece of veal...! Well worth it...check it will feel special as they attend to your every need..
Posted on 8/13/11
SVC said:
A couple of us were trying to remember the name of the restaurant where Spinelli's Lynnfield is now. I had my wedding rehearsal dinner there, but can't recall its name. Does anyone remember it?
Posted on 9/1/11
kmb said:
Route 1 thru Saugus is the definitive of cheesiness!! Tacky is putting it nicely. However, myself & a bunch of girlfriends did go to Kowloon a few years ago to see...Rick Springfield?? hahaha...admit that we had fun & lots of laughs.
Posted on 9/2/11
WHA said:
The Town Line (Lyne?) was where Spinellis is today. The Continental's still worth a trip and I miss the woman with the too-many-cigarettes voice at the Hilltop. When that was too crowded we'd go to the Red Coach (where Kelly's is now) or Valles (where the JoAnn Fabric store is) but it just wasn't the same! Russo's had the best chocolate ice cream ever, while my Dad was partial to Lum's because they steamed the hot dogs in beer. Long, long ago there was even an amusement park, Kiddie Ranch, just north of the Essex Street exit. If you can remember that, well, you're old like me!
Posted on 9/21/11
sci said:
Did anyone ever go the "Flash in the Pan" it was really delish, early upscale gourment in the old silver diner. I think it was only there for a short time, early 80's does anyone know where the chef and his team is now?
Posted on 9/28/11
MRC said:
The Towne Lyne House was where Spinelli's is now.
Posted on 1/2/12
klm said:
What was the name of the restaurant where Donatello's is....before it was Donatello's Saugus, Mass
Posted on 1/16/12
JJF said:
I grew up in Lynn and never thought of Route 1 as tacky...all the great landmark buildings fascinated me! We spent many Saturday nights at Augustine's, or Sunday dinners at Valle's or The Hilltop, and Godfried's Deli was the best! I am planning a trip back to Mass. soon and it's sad to know that these places are no longer there, but I am looking forward to driving Route 1 again! AND, I remember Kiddie Ranch too... my parents used to take my sister and I there in the late 50's/early 60's... crossing that little wooden foot bridge to get in was one of my favorite thing to do there! (I'm not THAT old....)
Posted on 1/27/12
Mike B. said:
stopped into the continental for lunch, the food and service were great. i was informed that they have live entertainment every night but Monday. So I went in on the following Thursday night for dinner and was pleasantly surprised. the music was great, everyone was dancing and having a good time, including myself and my girlfriend.. Great drinks, So much good food,and friendly staff. we WILL be going back.
Posted on 1/30/12
smc said:
Was John Martins Manor the name of the restaurant probably after Valles? I remember it was my favorite place to go for my birthday.
Posted on 2/1/12
CJM said:
I was with someone last night who distinctly recalls a restaurant called the "Snake Pit" in Saugus (circa 1967ish). Apparently located north of the Hill Top Steakhouse on the south bound side of Route 1. Anyone recall this restaurant?
Posted on 2/3/12
tp said:
does anyone remember the name of the restaurant before it was bertucci's on route one peabody, ma 1985-?
Posted on 2/14/12
jjmj said:
what was the roast beef place where the Mcdonald is now up near the ship?
Posted on 2/16/12
pp said:
the name of the rest on rt 1 before it was bertucci's was michael's grand cru
Posted on 2/17/12
Mike M said:
The Roast beef place where Mcdonalds is now was Full of Bull, the BEST roast beef, burgers, chicken fingers, and they had beer and wine too, place was decorated with antique auto parts, so sad to see that go
Posted on 2/21/12
Bob L said:
How about when there was a rotary on Rt 1 where the mini golf orange dinosaur is today? There used to be a Howard Johnson's car hop on the north bound side of the rotary. Ice cream after Red Sox games yum! Oh, and does anyone remember the numbers of restaurants that never ever made it at all on the Lynnfield line (north). I believe Kelly's car dealership is there today. One of those restaurants was called Johnnies (I think) and it was owned by Johnnie Carson. You would sit down at your table, read the menu and when you were ready to place your dinner order, you would lift up the red telephone and give your order to the person on the phone? Way ahead of their time!!!
Posted on 3/25/12
steve f said:
From Minneapolis. Used to go to Woburn, MA on business every Feb. Remember my partner and I always going to Rte.! to eat dinner every night. Hilltop, Augustines, Kowloon, and a place called the Ship. We loved them all. Has been 15 years since I've been back.
Posted on 4/19/12
TH said:
I believe it was the "Steak Pit".
It had a big torch out front with a real flame coming from it.
It was next to (north) Prince.
Posted on 7/22/12
patti said:
and let's not forget the Sea Witch that is still there. Sad thing is I wish they kept the giant peanut man in front. But the seafood is the best for the money. I do miss that peanut man sign.
Posted on 7/11/12
ag said:
Patti, I remember the peanut man, loved driving up there with my family.
Posted on 7/20/12
Jill said:
Anyone recall the Blue Moon just off route 1? Country western with dancing? Great. Vallee's Wasn't the Continental famous for popovers?
Posted on 8/2/12
Jean said:
Loved Joly Georges! Used to eat there after going to Gem's (back in the late 60s), a member's only store kinda like Sam's place.
Posted on 9/7/12
susan little said:
I worked at Augustines on Route one in Saugus while attending Salem State. I loved the place. I made great tips. The catholic priests and the local regulars...Great place. I met Dallas Smith at the bar and many local celebrities. I am very sorry it closed. Sign me happy memories.
Posted on 2/11/13
GMan said:
No one mentioned Karl's Sausage Kitchen!
From 1958-to-2012 (relocated up the road One Bourbon Street, Peabody). Had that great sign, right near Ferns Motel. It got a mention in one of Robert Parker's Spenser novels The Judas Goat: "It was out of the way but I had a cabbie take me to Route 1. I stopped at Karl's Sausage Kitchen for some German delicatessen and then at Donovan's Package store for four bottles of Dom Perignon" Don't know Donovan's, but there is a home movie of Kiddie Ranch at Never went but further down Rte 1 in North Attleboro we had we had Jolly Cholly's
Posted on 4/3/13
Bob said:
I believe Pierro's was where Donatello's is now
Posted on 6/2/13
Dee said:
Where was lum's located
Posted on 6/11/13
dl said:
Pierro's then Brothers then Donatello.
Donavan's was/is the liquor store at intersection of Route 1 and 129-next to Lynnfied Delicatessen.
Posted on 6/25/13
Bruce Farmer said:
In the 60's and 70's we used to travel from Portsmouth, NH to Boston a lot and always planned to hit our favorite restaurants on Rte 1 Saugus. Godfrieds Deli and a huge Italian restaurant and bakery. Was that Augustine's? The kids loved it! Huge portions!
Posted on 7/7/13
Karen said:
I've heard no mention of The Oyster House. I loved that place.It had great seafood, and for steak there was the Hilltop. We went there when it was only 1 room with a big fireplace, before he expanded. They got a lot of tourists visiting Boston because it was the largest restaurant in the country. Italian food we ate at home. Good old days.
Posted on 7/9/13
moe said:
I miss the old Jolly Rogers where the ham store is.
Posted on 7/9/13
Marjorie said:
My all time favorite was on both sides of Rt 1 up a ways from all the crazy restaurants. The north side closed but the south side remained open for many years. How can you all have forgotten Putnam Pantry, home of the make your sundae. OMG, as I kid I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when our family went there.
Posted on 7/10/13 said:
I'm not sure anyone mentioned, "El Torito's."
Posted on 7/10/13
DR said:
How about the original Weylu's in Saugus. I'm talking about the super small one before they moved up to the hill. They had better 'chineese' then Kowloons any day.
Posted on 7/11/13
WHA said:
One of my favorite Route 1 memories is that, before there was an overpass at the Fellsway/Route 1, you used to have to cross over the southbound side to get to the northbound side. I used to imagine I was on a space rocket as my Dad took the old V8 powered wagon from 0 to 60 in about a second and a half. Lums was on the northbound side where the Home Depot is today and across from where the old drive-in was, now a shopping center just behind (?) Kelly's.
Posted on 10/1/13

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