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Winners Announced for the 40 Reasons We Love Hobee’s Contest

The following – in no particular order – are excerpts from the winning entries chosen in the 40 Reasons We Love Hobee’s Contest. We savored the nearly 300 entries submitted at the restaurants and on-line in celebration of our milestone 40th anniversary. In the end, we chose a final forty that represents the many facets of Hobee’s. The list includes entries that are humorous, inspiring, poetic and profoundly moving. Choosing just 40 was a very difficult task indeed!

1)             Hobee’s changes lives, one slice at a time: “I never had coffeecake before today, and now my life is changed forever….I now wonder what else I have been missing out on for 28 years.” – Stephanie Grice, San Francisco

2)              Isn’t that special?: “Every weekend I try a new item, from warm apple cider to gigantic Belgian waffles. The diversity of food astounds me, and everything is delicious.” – Orlando Caballero, Redwood City

3)              Hobee’s is comfortably healthy with a healthy serving of comfort: “We all love Hobee’s because the menu suits us all…You can go with healthy items, comfort food or even gluten-free.” – Krystle Levis, Redwood City

4)              Living proof that nice guys do finish first: “It’s not fancy or splashy or just a little too proud of that of that one dish everyone’s heard about…It sits unassumedly next to the road, quietly, patiently beckoning, ‘Come on in. It’s nice here.’ And you do, and it is.” – Leo Schwab, San Carlos

5)              Looks aren’t everything, but Hobee’s kids are just a lot cuter: “I suspect that my son got his dimples from sucking the blueberries in the Energy Blends up the straw.” – Beth McMinn, Daly City

6)              Because family matters: “The staff feels like a family that takes pride in their work, treats us like guests rather than customers and always goes a little extra to make sure we have a smile-faced amuse bouche for our children, water in a kid-safe cup and extra napkins…You can’t fake caring…That’s not just a job; that’s a career, a way of life and a family.” – Marc Marasco, Palo Alto

7)              Hobee’s inspires interesting rhetorical questions: “How many resumes were penned on those tables? How many jeans-and-shirtsleeve business deals we made over plates of black beans and multi-colored corn chips? How many birthday songs sung to tables stacked together three-long with coffeecakes and candles? – Paul Sherman, San Jose

8)              Voted “Restaurant Most Likely to Survive the Apocalypse”: In the event our planet was attacked by aliens…Hobee’s will be a beacon of hope for all civilization. We will recover, we will rebuild and we will owe it to Hobee’s amazing breakfasts.” – Nik Kalyani, Mountain View

9)              Hobee’s is like The Biggest Loser without all the yelling and sobbing: “A year ago I asked for Eggs Benedict minus the English Muffin and they offered it to me on a grilled tomato with vegetables instead of coffeecake. I have lost 27 pounds and kept it off due to your staff’s suggestion!” – Julie Jagow, Redwood City

10)        It’s the Silicon Valley place where everybody knows your name: “The staff actually takes time to learn the names (and preferences) of its repeat customers…I’m often greeted by name (like a real-life Cheers episode) and my steaming cup of Hobee’s hot tea sometimes gets to my table before I do!” – DW, Emerald Hills

11)        Hobee’s doesn’t fear commitment: “I don’t think I’d ever seen a restaurant so freely give away exactly what people were waiting in line to order once they got inside…[Hobee’s is] a restaurant interested more in a long-term relationship with its customers than in selling more coffeecake on a particular day.” – Monica Schreiber, Belmont

12)        Hobee’s is tea-riffic: “I am always disappointed by spicy tea that turns out not to be spicy. Hobee’s tea tastes exactly like the opposite of disappointment! I took a sip, then had to pause and give myself a moment to really understand how perfect it was. I appreciated the tea so much, my 12 year old was embarrassed to be with me! – Molly McEnerney, Lafayette

13)        Employees respect (and appreciate) their elders: “We are 85 years old and Hobee’s cuisine fits our ‘dating’ budget, our culinary tastes and is a warm and friendly place…There is just no place like Hobee’s.” – B & MC, Palo Alto

14)        Hobee’s avoids the f-word: “I love that you DON’T serve fries!” – Anhonette Chavez, Milpitas

15)        The Hobee’s Helping Hand has a very long reach: “They have really set the standard for all local businesses when it comes to giving back…I always find joy when I see their name attached to a local event because it is their kind-hearted generosity that makes this community a better place to live, work and play.” – Jennifer de Souza, Mountain View  

16)        Hobee’s encourages creativity and travel: “The children’s drawings and photos of Hobee’s customers who have traveled around the world greet the customer and send a warm message that Hobee’s cares about its customers and treats them like family.” – Eve Visconti, Foster City

17)        The annual Hobee’s Achievement Awards (aka “the Hobee Globies”) give superstar employees and VIP customers their very own red carpet moment: “I think the accolades and rewards received from the Hobee’s owners are just great. I’m sure the employees really appreciate it.” – KG, Sunnyvale

18)        Love is in the air there: “In summer 1999 I arrived for a quiet morning and faced the usual 45 minute wait for a table…I was approached by a kindly stranger who informed me that he was next on the waiting list and offered me the other half of his table…By the time I had shared my Energy Blend we were deep in conversation and realized we had a great deal in common. 15 years later we sit here, having breakfast again. This time we share our Energy Blends with our two sons and celebrate 11 years of marriage!” – Sara Smith, Bexley, Ohio

19)        The nose knows: “I remember going to Hobee’s as a kid with my family. Most specifically, the smell reminds me of such fun, quality time going with my late grandfather. It makes me smile.” – NH, San Jose

20)        Any way you want it, that’s the way you get it: “Hobee’s is the best in working with our son’s allergies. Always so flexible and accommodating. We never feel like an inconvenience like we do at other places.” – Trudi, Mountain View

21)        Employees keep up appearances: “The wait staff must confer before each shift to coordinate their amazing hair and smiles. They’re always perfectly put together.” –  MJ, Mountain View

22)        Seriously, what other restaurant inspires a haiku…?:

“Chorizo Scramble

Such cheesy, meaty goodness

A staple for me”

 –  Alicia Crank, Mountain View

23)        …much less two?:

“Crunchy buttered top

Mountainous joy in my mouth

The diet can wait”

–      DC, Santa Clara

24)        Hobee’s is a place for optimists: “Your glass is never ‘half full’. Refills flow with abandon.” – PK, Los Altos   

25)        Stories like this: “In 1986 I was a 25 year old mother of a 7 year old daughter and my husband had just left me for another woman. I thought my life was over…Hobee’s became my sanctuary. I ate veggie scrambles, hashbrowns, blueberry coffeecake and drank tea weekly…[Now] I am married to an amazing man and have two beautiful children. One of them is that beautiful 7 year old girl who grew up to graduate from UCLA!…The memories flood me when drink the cinnamon orange tea…I no longer cry from grief…I smile with happiness to be Home at Hobee’s!” – Susan Stopinski, Mount Vernon, WA

26)        Hobee’s is Silicon Valley’s Smithsonian: “In our world of mobile devices and constant connectivity, I fondly recall the working phone booth in the Rengstorff Hobee’s. Placed in the corner of the main dining area, it was fully functional until time passed it by and it was hollowed out and demoted to a station for coffee and table supplies…Yes, times were simpler then!” – BA, Mountain View

27)        That famous breakfast treat has provided four decades of AM sugar rushes: “At those morning meetings, a luscious blueberry coffeecake would appear as a standard. Meeting participants would ALWAYS exclaim: ‘Hobee’s coffeecake! I’ll have some of that!” – Mary Moore, Mountain View

28)        Life lessons learned since 1974: “I love Hobee’s because of all of its opportunities… I was taught responsibility, planning and most of all what great food and friendship were all about…Today, I call myself a customer. However, I never enter a restaurant without noticing who needs a water, coffee/tea refill, check dropped, an extra napkin, or just a friendly smile.” – Kristi Carvajal, San Jose

29)        Hobee’s customers are fiercely loyal (and, occasionally, just fierce): “I vividly remember helping to rescue the manager of the Santa Cruz location when a female customer became belligerent and started to wrestle her to the ground. The manager and I emerged victorious!” – Kanda Whaley, Felton        

30)        Not many restaurant chains these days are around long enough to create an honest-to-goodness legacy: “Hobee’s is a landmark of home-style wholesomeness that reflects the best of family and community values. Bravo to the Hobee’s legacy.” Naomi Fine, Los Altos

31)        Whether served upside down, light butter or extra topping, you get to order your coffeecake: “I’ve been coming here for 30 years and they know how much I like the crumbs from the coffeecake. They make it a point to hold the crumbs for Pam and Jerry.” – Pam and Jerry Ware, Mountain View

32)        Kids Are Cool at Hobee’s (no kidding!): “I don’t know of any other restaurant that immediately brings a fresh fruit appetizer to each kid to settle down hungry tummies, or that delivers the orders so quickly and deliciously, or that is so solicitous of its smallest customers. You “get kids” and serve great food. – Catherine Faubion, Dallas, TX

33)        Hobee’s brings families together (like the Berman’s, who all pitched in on their contest entry): “My mom never says ‘no’ when I ask her to come here.” (Zachary, age 9); “I won the Santa coloring contest 2 years in a row…and I’m Jewish!” (Rachel, age 11); “I can come as I am. I don’t even have to make an excuse to come in yoga pants.” (Mama Berman); and “You don’t have radicchio on the menu. I mean, who likes that anyway?” (Papa Berman)

34)        Goodness and Graciousness: “All the people that I have ever encountered at all the Hobee’s are and always have been kind, thoughtful, attentive and just plain good human beings…Hobee’s has made my life better. Thank you, Hobee’s, for all the great years. – Adam Lambu, San Jose

35)        Hobee’s servers speak your language (and might even help you learn a new one): “What made Hobee’s a regular part of our life is the warm, home-like atmosphere where the waiters stayed the same for years on end (they must have been treated well!)…When my son was learning Spanish in school, we would all try to order in Spanish, while patient Juan helped us with our vocabulary, like how to say ‘make our hashbrowns extra crispy!’” – Debra Katz, Los Altos

36)        Even the food is happy: “I love the Eye Opener for Kids because every smiley potato grins back at me from my plate.” – Emily Cameron, Santa Clara

37)        Because it’s not all about the numbers: “When my significant other developed Alzheimer’s, Elena was very compassionate and understanding, when we might need extra napkins or a replacement utensil…One of his last enjoyable meals out was at Hobee’s.” – Suzanne Keesis, Sunnyvale

38)        You never know who is going to show up: “Even the Vice President stopped by…This is America’s Family Restaurant. Monumental life moments happen here.” – Lisa Pizarro, Santa Clara

39)         Hobee’s customers aren’t averse to verse:

“Early sleepy Sunday morning vision of

hot cinnamon tea

crispy warm hashbrowns

swirly brown French toast

and melting butter on blueberry coffeecake

Sitting by the window with my beloveds, served

by Richard – a friend

Surrounded by families enjoying their time being

together” – Yenny Teng-Lee, San Mateo

40)        Hobee’s is an “only in Silicon Valley” experience (a sad reality for out of towners): “I got married and moved about 3 hours away. On some Sundays I would wake up and crave Hobee’s coffeecake. We’d get in the car at 7 AM and drive 3 hours to have breakfast at the Mountain View Hobee’s with my mom. Really, it was because of that blueberry coffeecake!” – Jacqui Marchessini, Mountain View

Thanks to everyone who participated in our contest!