Saugus, Massachusetts: Frightening Saugus
Visitor Tips and News About Frightening Saugus
A little past Saugus there is still more tackiness to delight those traveling Rt. 1 North of Boston, including the Golden Banana - a strip club infamous for (among other things) its tacky name and huge hideous sign (visible from both I-95 and Rt. 1). A Boston radio station even did a song about it (set to the tune of Copacabana of course).
Also, don't miss Kowloons (though second in size, it was the original abnormally large Chinese Restaurant on Rt. 1), and Karl's Sausage Kitchen (which always just kind of cracked me up).[Kristen, 03/12/2009]
I had to write in after reading Brian's 6/19/1999 comments on Saugus. I've lived in Saugus for the past five years, savoring the wonderful tackiness of Route 1 (I took my future bride to see it on her first visit to see me in Massachusetts). Brian touched all the high points, but it should be noted that Weylu's chinese restaurant is now bankrupt and closed down. It still stands on its rise where route 99 meets route 1 at the Malden-Saugus line, but you can't eat there anymore. Alas, the huge inflatable fruit on Whole Earth Farms, a little farther north, are gone as well, now that Whole Earth Farms has closed. There's still a giant fiberglass Santa almost across Route 1, though.
Several years ago some MIT students "liberated" one of the fiberglass cows in front of the Hilltop Steak House (which has a whole herd outside, next to its enormous out-of-place cactus) and put it atop the Great Dome of MIT. It's now in the MIT Museum.
One place not mentioned: The Full of Bull restaurant has wonderful and eccentric decor (It's on Route 1 South, just less than a mile north of Walnut Street). The walls are literally covered with license plates from all over, along with 50's automobile memorabilia. Each table is actually a glass-topped box, inside of which is more memorabilia. It's worth checking out.[Steve Wilk, 06/24/1999]
February 2004: The Full of Bull Restaurant is reported gone, replaced by a McDonald's.
Route 1 in Saugus is known as the restaurant capital of the world because it is said to have more restaurants per mile than anywhere else. Many of these restaurants have world-famous landmarks (i.e. the Hilltop Steak House Cactus & Cows...).
A few years back a restaurant called Weylu's opened their Weylu's Palace, a 3 or 4 story replica of a Chinese palace which is rumored to be the largest Chinese restaurant in the world. [Update Feb. 2007 - Weylu's has been purchased and reopened as "East Manor."]
Across the highway is Route 1 Miniature Golf, which features the Big Orange Dinosaur. A little further up is the Kowloon, a Chinese/Polynesian restaurant housed in an enormous straw-looking structure and featuring a room with a dance floor that looks like a boat, complete with star-studded ceiling, fake palm trees, and a volcano in the wall that continually erupts.
Still further up the road you'll find the Prince's Leaning Tower of Pizza restaurant, which features a 3-story leaning tower with word "PIZZA" emblazoned on its side in red neon.
Not far from Prince's is Kelly's World Famous Roast Beef, which in itself is not all that odd, except they have mounted on the wall inside an enormous dented clown face from the carousel at Revere Beach. The face is 8-10 feet across and looks like something out of Stephen King's IT (I'm fairly certain that unwitting parents are scarring their children for life by bringing them here.)
Still further up is what used to be The Ship restaurant. It was a four-story ship seafood restaurant. But alas, the restaurant went under and the ship was turned into a mall with another restaurant on the top floor. A Christmas Tree Shop store was built right next to it, and the bowsprit was shortened by about 10 feet, so now the effect is that of a ship running aground into a fishing village.[Brian, 06/19/1999]
We've been down this impressively tacky strip north of Boston, though nothing jumped out in truly gargantuan proportions. May 2002: Ken Balcom sent in some nice pix.
As you drive along Route 1 in Saugus and Revere, Massachusetts, you pass two of the better known local roadside landmarks. In Saugus there's the large cactus sign and corral of fiberglass cows that mark the Hilltop Steak House. The cactus is very tall (30' or so, rough estimate), and the cows are the focus of pranks almost continuously (most are now anchored in cement, as kidnapping cows was very popular; one of the Hilltop's cows found its way to the top of the Great Dome at MIT). The food's quite good, too.
In Revere, you'll drive past a large orange dinosaur that's part of a miniature golf course.[Mark Coen, 09/12/1997]