Renovation work at the Hilltop Theater in Clifton is just about complete and the rumors are swirling as to what restaurant tenant might take the building’s 5,000 square feet. Business First reported in early 2013 that local businessman and preservationist Mo Deljoo purchased the Frankfort Avenue building from the now-closed Jim Conti & Sons for $365,000 and planned to invest around one million dollars to bring the former theater back to its original state. Deljoo formerly renovated the Scoop Theater Building on Muhammad Ali.
Broken Sidewalk toured the building back in 2008 when it was listed for sale and found beautiful original details and plaster work hidden behind boxes and a lofted ceiling. Those details drew Deljoo to the building, Business First reported. Deljoo tapped the Louisville office of HFR Design to restore the building, including a working marquee, a new ticket booth serving as the backdrop to a reception stand, and restoring a historic ceiling in the building’s entry. A parking lot and outdoor seating were also added to the side of the building where a brick house stood many years ago, and with brush cleared from that area, the open space stands out as a missing urban tooth. Otherwise, the Hilltop is looking as good as it ever did.
Renovations have been quietly ongoing, and now appear to be in the final phases awaiting a tenant build-out. Then on December 29, Insider Louisville unleashed the latest Bobby Flay rumor, noting in its Monday Business Briefing that the star chef could be considering the space. “I’m in discussions with one party, they’re a really good fit for the space,” Deljoo told Insider. “I should have some news the beginning of January.” Flay rumors have come and gone in the past, so this one might not hold water either, but such a high-profile restaurant would undeniably be a boon for the corridor.
Until then, what would you like to see at the Hilltop?