By Michael Perna Jr., Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – One of the many businesses that were built after Route 9 was constructed in the 1930s was the “Red Top” – a popular restaurant/bar that stood on the north side of the turnpike. The “Red Top” was located on the top of the hill as you enter Shrewsbury from Northborough. The matchbook cover shown here advertises the business as being at the “Peak of the Pike” – could it be that this spot was actually the highest point of the road between Boston and Worcester? The fact that the phone number printed on the matchbook cover is only three digits tells us that it is from the early days of the Red Top’s existence. In the early 1960s, the “Red Top” was turned into the “Driftwood”, which became well known throughout the region as a restaurant and lounge featuring live music from some very well-known groups. One feature, as related by Arthur Tonelli, who owned the “Driftwood”, was the Club Steak for $4.50. He relates that Tony “Champ” Santello, who ran a steak house on North Quinsigamond Avenue, had “the best steaks around”. “I wanted to make sure we became known for having the best steaks!” he said. The “Driftwood” also featured a function facility and motel. Today, all that remains is a motel that uses the original “Driftwood” motel building.