Written by on August 22, 2012 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

(hilltopcooking.com) – the Guide Meridian in Bellingham, Washington

How I heard of this place: While we had driven by it numerous times in the past, it never dawned on me to stop in for a bite until Gene and Katee introduced us to the hometown dining experience.

Type of cuisine: “Originally known as Hilltop Cafe, we were reborn in a new building in 2004 and our clientel has grown dramatically since. Centrally located between Bellingham, Lynden and Ferndale on SR539 (Guide Meridian) we offer a great stopping place for travelers and a meeting place for friends and family…Our locally owned and operated icon serves breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, with bar service. Our prices are moderate…Our chefs have prepared popular recipes from scratch for generations of diners from near and far…Our new facility includes a separate “all occasion” catering kitchen which prepares delicious cuisine for wedding receptions, social and business events. Professional staff are ready to provide service at any Bellingham, Lynden or Ferndale area venue.” Fresh ingredients, cooked to order, with the taste of a hearty, southern home. Burgers, steak, chicken-fried steak, baked salmon, ribs, and sides, not to mention homemade pie and ice cream desserts for the whole family.

HilltopAmbiance: A renovated exterior, enlarging the entire estbalishment, still sends off a vibe of a country home dining experience. The sun setting over the hills in the dated logo, and the metal, cow-decked weather vane atop the highest point of the roof welcome diners from the parking lot into the expansive interior. Old school tiled ceilings, wood-sided shoulder-height walls between seating sections, and random signs hung from the ceiling: Enjoy Angus Beef are found dispersed throughout. Windows are large and blinds drawn to allow for the natural summer light to stream through. Upon entering, we are greeted by a wall of Memories Since 1959, with framed photographs and articles highlighting the Hilltop experience and culinary pleasures. We are escorted past a miniature display case of homemade desserts, including a seasonal blueberry parfait, lemon mereingue, berry pies and other sweet delicacies to our seats at the far end of the establishment, where, immediately behind us is a large painting of a northwest mountain- and lake-scape. As we take our seats, the extensive bar ahead of us, we peruse the menu options.

What I ordered: To begin, our party enjoyed two appetizers: Garlic Fries ($5.99), tossed with Parmesan cheese, cracked pepper and tomato bits,

Garlic Fries

and the Rodeo Rings ($5.99), a big stack of seasoned, fresh-fried thin red onions served with an aioli dipping sauce.

Fried Onions

My sister enjoyed the Garlic Baked Jumbo Prawns ($15.99), herb panko crusted and baked with garlic butter and sundried tomatoes.


My mom, suddenly craving a burger, ordered the Deluxe Burger ($7.99), a 1/3 pounder with lettuce, tomato, onion and “THE sauce”, a salad on the side ($0.69). My dad took the special of the day, a baked chicken dish ($12.99) with a soda pop to drink ($2.29).


Gene, saddened not to have seen ribs on the menu, delightfully shut the laminated list of selections when our server offered the ribs as another daily special ($12.99).


Katee opted for a delicious Chicken Fried Steak ($11.99), breaded and fried cubed steak with country gravy.

Chicken Fried Steak

Chris selected the 14-ounce Rib Eye ($23.99), “Fit for a Cowboy“, served with blanched vegetables (carrots, broccoli and cauliflower), as well as mashed potatoes.


To wash that bad boy down, Chris needed a large glass of cranberry juice ($2.49). While Mojgan and my dad enjoyed their side salads ($1.99 each), I decided upon the Mushroom Swiss Burger ($8.99), a 1/3 pounder with grilled mushrooms, melted Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and “THE sauce”, served with fries.


Although most of us couldn’t bear to even consider dessert after such hearty, generously portioned meals, our two Navy men couldn’t refuse. One small sundae ($2.99), vanilla ice cream with berries, and a a large Frosty Vanilla Milkshake with caramel sauce and whipped cream ($4.99) were eagerly and quickly downed.


What I loved: The garlic fries. ‘Nuff said.

Why I loved it: Hearty, homestyle food at a reasonable price, enjoyed with good friends, a fun server and the spirit of a loving family.

Cost: Low to average ($8.99 – $23.99 for dinner entrees)

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