As such, I am very happy to have discovered the new Hello Bistro, a salad and burger restaurant that recently opened in Oakland. Boasting over 50 salad toppings, I knew going in that this would be nothing like any Eat 'n Park salad bar. (Hello Bistro is owned by Eat 'n Park.)
Here's how this place works: You are handed a menu as you line up. I can't speak for the burgers and sandwiches, but for salads, you can either opt for one of the few Hello Bistro creations or make your own for $7. There are little notepads you can use to check off your unlimited topping choices - yes, I said unlimited. Here's an example (not mine):
|Create your own salad|
Instead of coming up with my own salad concoction, I went with one of Hello Bistro's creations - the Caribbean Shrimp Salad, which consists of mixed greens, marinated shrimp, avocado, black beans, corn, tortilla strips, and citrus lime vinaigrette.
Once you place your order, a staff walks down the display of salad toppings filling a bowl with the appropriate ingredients.
|Over 50 toppings!|
Then your bowl is handed off to another staff member. In my case, it was a friendly young man named Peter who posed in a photo for me. He chopped my salad whichever way I wanted (medium chunks, please) and added the amount of dressing I wanted (moderate, please).
|Chopping the salad and tossing in the dressing|
And voila! My salad! Fresh, tasty, and great combination of ingredients and flavors. Way better than what I can make at home, and the portion is huge, too. I filled up on just this salad alone.
|Caribbean Shrimp Salad ($9)|
The setting at Hello Bistro is contemporary, casual, and a bit quirky. I sat at the bar in front of this gigantic blackboard...as though all the students coming in would really want to see another blackboard. But I must admit, it does add a certain playfulness the space.
|Hello Bistro exudes an image that's fun-loving and playful|
And speaking of students, expect to run into drones of them as Hello Bistro is located on Forbes Avenue in the heart of "college central" (and just a couple doors down from my favorite Razzy Fresh - BONUS!). It was pretty busy even in the summer, so it'll be interesting to see what the lines are like when school is back in session.
As a salad lover, I will be back for sure. Will I ever try a sandwich or a burger at Hello Bistro? Maybe. But the big draw for me is definitely the delicious and fully customizable salads that I am unable to replicate at home. I might even create my own salad next time at Hello Bistro.
3605 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
On the web: http://www.hellobistro.com
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HelloBistro
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/HelloBistro
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