January 16th, 2014

Hobee’s InteriorThere’s a sweet little chain of diners in the Bay Area that’s so ubiquitous, such a normal, taken for granted part of the landscape up here, that it’s taken years to even remember that maybe you all don’t know about it, and would like to. The chain is called Hobee’s and there are five or six of them in the pretty immediate vicinity, though this is the only place in the world where there are any Hobee’s at all.

Hobee’s, whichever one you end up in, is a good place to eat pancakes late on a Sunday morning, or a club sandwich with fries after work. If you go with kids, you’ll be given crayons for them to draw on the table with. If you don’t go with kids you can ask for crayons anyway. They like to lean into their status as a California diner and so give a lot of space to being “fresh” and “healthy.” Their specialty, though, is giant slabs of blueberry coffee cake, which come on the side of everything you might order in the morning and are heavily encouraged at all other meals as well.

Hobee’s is not exciting. It’s not a fun new place for you and your co-workers to have a work-travel adventure in. I doubt anyone has ever been on a date at a Hobee’s and I’m pretty sure they don’t even serve wine. Still, though, there are plenty of times when you want comfort. This is why sweat pants exist. Maybe Hobee’s is the sweat pants of restaurants. And maybe that’s exactly what you need some nights, away from home, looking for something wholesome, simple and grounding. That’s Hobee’s all the way.

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