Hilltop celebrates 50th with Blarney Stone West

The Bellingham Business Journal

The Hilltop Restaurant is celebrating its 50th anniversary and adding a touch of Irish to its anniversary celebration.

Tom and Barb Kilpatrick, owners of the Hilltop Restaurant the last eight years, are creating Blarney Stone West, an American version of a site steeped in Irish lore.

“We wanted to celebrate the Hilltop’s 50th anniversary with something that would last as long as this restaurant,” Tom said. “To build the Blarney Stone West sculpture, we’re bringing in 50 tons of 100 million-year-old olivine rock from the Twin Sisters mountain area near Mount Baker.

The original Blarney Stone has been located in the Blarney Castle near Cork, Ireland for more than 600 years. It’s said to bestow the gift of eloquence upon whoever kisses it – a tradition that will continue at Blarney Stone West.

“We expect Blarney Stone West to be completed before the start of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C. in February 2010,” Tom said. “This will be something fun for local residents and tourists to enjoy.”

While the Hilltop Restaurant isn’t as old as the olivine rock, it does have a long history. Situated at 5645 Guide Meridian, just south of Axton Road, it started in 1959 as the Hilltop Café. The restaurant is on a major state highway, near a major east-west county road and within 10 minutes of Bellingham, Lynden, Ferndale and Everson. The central location has helped Hilltop Café sustain a countywide following for breakfasts, lunches and dinners.

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