“We thought about closing Hilltop after we bought it, but we just about had a mutiny on our hands,” says James D. Smith, Jr. He was speaking of the legendary country eating place that Madalene Hill opened 38 years ago in Cleveland, just a few miles from its present incarnation in the tiny burg of Romayor. Smith’s wife, Beverly, manages the restaurant, which, with its cozy hearth and cedar beams, is a lot like Grandma’s house. Here the Smith’s conjure up surprising specialties, such as spicy game hens with saffron rice and delightful bread in clay pots. After eating, guests stroll the deck and toss leftovers to the throngs of begging gators and turtles. Reservations required (713-592-5859).
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