This past Thursday was the official Grand Opening of Hello Bistro in Oakland. Hello Bistro is as I’ve mentioned before a part of the Eat’n Park Hospitality Group, you know the wonderful people who have brought us Six Penn Kitchen & The Porch at Schenley. Last Wednesday night I was privileged to be invited to a VIP dinner before the official opening. Everything that I loved about The Porch’s look a few weeks before I can say the same about Hello Bistro. Even before you walk in the outside decor of wood and chrome style along with garage style door windows is great and very modern (pictured above).
I have visited Hello Bistro a few times since they have opened and when you walk in a greeter will give you a menu and go over the concept with you. After you look over the menu you will place your order at the register. If you order from the salad bar they will walk you through it as you tell them what you want on it or if it is a salad from the menu they will go ahead and make it and then meet you at the end of the line with it. If you order a burger or anything else from the menu you will get a number at the register, you will place this on your table when you go to sit down and a server will bring your food to you VERY QUICKLY!
My first trip I tried a few things. I started with an Apple Almond Crunch Salad that is a salad from the menu. It has romaine lettuce, grilled chicken, granny smith apples, bleu cheese crumbles, almonds, and apple cider vinaigrette dressing. The Apple Cider dressing is AWESOME! As much as I love Eat N Park’s ranch, this could be my new go to when visiting Hello Bistro. The salad is massive, I believe they said 40 ounces! It was great because once they add all the items in the salad bowl you go to the chopping station and get it all chopped so the ingredients are mixed together. This was a great idea, I always like to get a little bit of everything in a bite of salad and it was perfection.
After you pass the chopping station you will notice a little bar. This is where they will be serving coffee, milkshakes, ice cream for floats, along with beer and wine. There is some seating around the bar along with a TV to watch.
Across from the chopping station is the refreshment area where you will notice a Boylan Soda Fountain. I have only had Boylan in a glass bottle, Hello Bistro has the only Boylan Soda Fountain that I have ever seen. My favorite is the Birch Beer (more flavorful than Root Beer).
Next to the soda fountain is where you will get your napkins, utensils, ketchup and even Eat N Park Ranch! Most restaurants charge you for a side of ranch, I really like the option to get ranch as a side for no extra charge.
After I ate my salad I had a few other items to dig into! The first thing I tried was the Over-Easy Cheeseburger (much like a breakfast burger on other menu’s) which is a burger topped with cheddar cheese, bacon and an over-easy egg. I love the over-easy egg because I like to cut into the sandwich and let the yolk break and ooze into the sandwich so you get that in the first couple bites. I have also now heard of people who break the yolk and let it drip off the burger and then just dip the burger into it like a dippy egg. However you eat it, it all turns out to be delicious. The bun it was on was so fresh and soft, yet the inside had a little crunch because of it toasted on the grill (nice touch!). I am a burger and fries kind of guy, so I knew I had to try the fresh cut fries. I am a sucker for fresh cut fries, I think fresh cut fries and homemade chips are 2 of my favorite things ever! The fries come in a brown bag and are seasoned with salt and pepper. Add a side of Eat N Park Ranch and BOOM I’m good to go!
Who doesn’t like grilled cheese?! I love all the different takes on it and the most unique take Hello Bistro offers is the Italiano Grilled Cheese. Italian Bread, Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, Pepperoni and Marinara Sauce. WOW, while I am typing that my mouth is really beginning to salivate! That’s how you know something is really good! The fresh mozzarella really brings this sandwich together and makes it unique, because most places will give you sliced instead of fresh which I now know loses a lot. The fresh mozzarella really paired well with the marinara (like it should), and I noticed the pepperoni on the sandwich because it gave it flavor but it wasn’t the main attraction, the sandwich really made the fresh mozzarella shine.
At the end of the day the only thing that I could have (and want) was a Smiley Cookie (Yes they have them!). Hello Bistro sells Mini Smiley Cookies along with Chocolate Chip Cookies. It was the perfect end to a great and filling meal. Besides the food the service was excellent! The staff was very friendly and were always coming by the tables to ask how the food was or if they could remove anything from the table. I can see myself visiting Hello Bistro once a week if not more! If you haven’t made your way to Hello Bistro yet, what are you waiting for?! HURRY HURRY HURRY!