Motel & Restaurant on the Mountain

Hillburn, New York, United States

Built in 1956. The Village of Hillburn is where the once well-known Motel & Restaurant on the Mountain operated and was regarded as a local landmark. It was designed by a prominent architect, Junzo Yoshimura, who modeled the facility after the famous Kyomizudera temple in Kyoto Japan. 

The site boasted 16 buildings, a restaurant, 101 rooms, a coffee shop, and cocktail lounge, as well as a clear view of Manhattan from 30 miles away. They offered banquet/conference facilities as well as dinner theater and ski season packages.

Somewhere in this 18-year-span from 1956-1974 with the original owners, they also ordered custom cocktail mugs and drink bowls from Otagiri with their signature menu cover's risqué Geisha Girl which is taken from a piece of period art housed at the Met:

*Kitagawa Utamaro (Japanese, 1753–1806). A Woman and a Cat, ca. 1793–94. Edo period (1615–1868), Japan. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929. 

They removed the cat from their graphic art because apparently exposed nipples were permitted but showing pussy was just too much!

Thomas Esposito took ownership of the property in 1974 and unsuccessfully ran it for three failing years with many different entertainment acts. Faced with defeat, he brainstormed a last ditch attempt to make it work financially. From September 1977 - January 1978, Esposito attempted to turn it into the first gay resort in the Northeast. This attempt failed and successive businesses took control of the property since then. However, many today in the LGBTQ+ community still remember this as a historic first.

Today, it is home to Mt. Fuji Steakhouse and has been since 1985 when they did a major remodel to add it to their chain.

Japanese themed Motel, Bar, Restaurant, Dinner Theatre
Hillburn, New York, United States
Permanently Closed?


No one has visited this tiki bar.

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Date Created
1 Dec 2020
Date Updated
29 May 2021
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