Near the intersection of Mahan Drive (U.S. 90) and Lloyd Road sits the Hill Top Country Store. It is the only place between Sage in Monticello and the Waffle House Tallahassee where you can get something to eat. The parking lot is always jammed on Sundays after church. It is a little variety store and sells milk, beer, and chips. You can also pick up a bag of deer corn or sandwich. The people I’ve spoken with who have stopped there to grab something eat have always said it is good.
Since moving to the South some of the things I miss most about home are the Italian subs I used to get from Mike’s Red Barn. I worked there for a while and learned what goes into a great sub, quality deli meats, good cheese and fresh-cut vegetables. When I walked into the Hill Top and saw they had an Italian sub I was skeptical. Most Italian subs down here are horrible and usually are slathered in mustard and mayonnaise. I ordered one with tomatoes, onions, lettuce, banana peppers, and black olives. On top it was doused with some olive oil, vinegar and a sprinkle of oregano. The sub was rolled in white butcher paper, just like back in New Hampshire, and I was on my way. While checking out I talked to the old man behind the counter and asked where he was from. He did not sound like he was from the South and it turns out I was right. He told me he was Lebanese and had moved down here from New York. He was very friendly and reminded me of old men I’d run to in Boston’s North End.
When I got home I unwrapped the sub and noticed that it was very nicely prepared. The meat looked fresh and the veggies must have been cut up this morning. This was not a run of the mill Subway sandwich. The first bite was pure Italian-sub bliss. It tasted like one from back North and made me happy. I ate the entire thing as Jackson and Molly looked on hoping that a piece of cheese would fall their way.
Since that first Hill Top sub I have been back many times. I am a creature of habit and usually order the Italian, while Becky gets their turkey. I have also tried their Cuban sub which is also very good. The pork on this sandwich is sliced thin, coupled with ham and pickles, topped with cheese and hotly pressed. They also serve a variety of hot foods including wings, fried pork chops (which I hear are very good) and fried fish. Recently they opened up a seating area in the back where you can eat your meal. The Hill Top is a little gem that is worth a stop if you are hungry and find yourself on the back roads of North Florida.
Author’s Note: For those who like a cold beverage on Sundays and live in Jefferson County (dry on Sundays), it is the closet place to pick up a 6-pack.
Sweet Tea & Bourbon’s Rating:
Presentation: B+ (Bonus for subs wrapped in butcher’s paper)