Hilltop Restaurant keeps the neighborhood diner vibe alive

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By: Sarah Welliver

Walking into the Hilltop Restaurant in Lakeville, Ind., is closer to your grandmother’s kitchen then a diner—in the best possible way.

The homestyle comfort food that fills most of the menu has been bringing people back for more since 1977.

Step inside and you can tell this family-owned restaurant is as much about the friendly atmosphere as it is the food. Spend a few minutes watching people walk through the doors and you’ll see waves and smiles, a name called over the bustle from the back and a empty seat scooted up to a packed table. “Everybody knows everybody here,” joked Sherry Vidmar, who has been a server at Hilltop for 34 years.

The kitchen keeps local regulars happy during the week with more out-of-towners filling the seats from as far as South Bend during the weekends. Karen Iovino who owns Hilltop with her mother Vera Gouker credits word of mouth for most of the new faces sitting down for a meal.

Vidmar recalls a pair of twice-a-year regulars that drive from Michigan to Florida. “They stop on the way down and on the way back,” she said.

Grab a booth, and you’ll have a hot cup of coffee and a smile within minutes.

On my first visit to Hilltop, I ordered one of the most popular items from the breakfast menu, the corned beef hash special, with the optional green peppers and onions added in.

Every morning the hash is made fresh with bags of potatoes boiled, peeled and cut. The difference is obvious and delicious. “We don’t do frozen here,” Iovino said.

If you’re too full to move just yet, you could spend hours looking at the walls covered in antiques, paintings, old photos and knick knacks.

As I got up to pay, I asked how long it took to collect everything here. All I got was a laugh and a look that seemed closer to a mischievous grin then a smile. “You should see the basement,” was Vidmar’s reply.

I think I’ll save that for my next trip to Hilltop.

Hilltop Restaurant
303 S Michigan St.
Lakeville, IN 46536

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