Chapel Hill, NC - In 1994 as a UNC law student, Scott Maitland heard that a chain restaurant was on the verge of inking a deal to open in one of the prime spots on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. The idea of a corporate logo crowning the top of the hill in his adopted hometown was more than Maitland could stand.
"I had no money or experience at the time, but I was not going to stand by and let a TGI Friday's take over," says Maitland, who remembers his father always crafting "crazy business plans" as a way to escape the boredom of his job. "And that's how I started Top of the Hill."
After opening in 1996, the restaurant and brewery quickly became a favorite of students and locals, especially on game days. Its beers, most of them dubbed with UNC-friendly names like Ram's Head IPA and Kenan Lager, consistently win awards at North Carolina and national competitions.
On February 5, 2018 at the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association’s Stars of the Industry Celebration Gala at RTP’s Sheraton Imperial Hotel & Convention Center, Scott Maitland was honored with the Griff and June Glover award. This award acknowledges a NCRLA member who has gone above and beyond in their service to the association, helping to work toward NCRLA’s mission. The award is named after longtime members Griff and June Glover of Pizza Inn and Diversified Foods.
“This award was created to recognize a leader who demonstrates outstanding service, commitment to excellence, and leadership qualities that epitomize North Carolina’s hospitality industry,” said NCRLA President & CEO Lynn Minges.
“NCRLA is the uniting force of the North Carolina hospitality industry, bringing together restaurant and lodging establishments and partners who support the hospitality community. We impact legislation and policies, cultivate relationships and provide valuable resources to help members successfully operate their businesses,” said Minges.
“It’s an honor to be part of the NC hospitality industry, brimming with outstanding leaders who raise the bar for excellence in performance, service and commitment to the industry. We are thrilled that a member of Orange County won, The Griff & June Glover Award for Distinguished Service, because that is what visitors love best about us: Friendliness and impeccable service," said Laurie Paolicelli, Executive Director, Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau.
Scott Maitland is a military veteran, serial entrepreneur and adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at UNC-Chapel Hill. He is also the founder and proprietor of Top of the Hill Distillery, which is the first exclusively local and certified organic distillery in the South and marked its first sales in 2012.
Both the restaurant and distillery have won numerous awards. Top of the Hill Restaurant & Brewery has won more than 40 best-of awards in the Triangle area, is one of the largest bars in North Carolina and is one of only three breweries in the world with three platinum medals from the World Beer Championships and several of its beers have been declared among the world’s best by the Beverage Tasting Institute. All of the Top of the Hill Distillery spirits have won gold medals.
Maitland sees entrepreneurship as essential to the future prosperity of rural, small and mid-sized communities. His love of community combined with his own experience informs his teaching of entrepreneurship at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. He is on the board of the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, the North Carolina Distillers Association, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce and the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership.
Photo Credit to the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau