Gourmet burger restaurant The Hideaway opened in Oakland’s Rockridge district Feb. 1, bringing the neighborhood a modern atmosphere and upscale comfort food.
The Hideaway offers unique menu items such as its best-selling lamb burger and boozy milkshakes, which use a variety of liquor, according to lead server Charlie Melvin. There are five varieties of milkshakes, including the Pacific Northwest, which features vodka and coffee liqueur, and the North Pole, which features vodka and peppermint schnapps.
“We thought the concept would work well with the neighborhood,” said restaurant partner and front-of-the-house manager Katherine Schiele. “It’s a nice environment (with) good drinks (and) food without being outside of people’s general budget.”
The business prides itself on its association with the Never Ever 3 program, which means that the meat is antibiotic- and hormone-free, according to Melvin.
“We have chicken and fish and a healthy appetizer selection,” Schiele said. “The quality of the meat is really, really superior. Even our seafood is from sustainable sources.”
One of the restaurant’s most popular items is the Figgy Blue Piggy burger, which features fig jam and blue cheese. The restaurant is also working on a kids menu and a happy hour menu, both of which will hopefully be implemented within the next week, according to Melvin.
Business traffic has been excellent, Schiele said. Depending on how well the restaurant does, Melvin added, The Hideaway might open another location.
“We’ve been only open for four weeks,” Schiele said. “People absolutely love all of it. We already have people that come multiple times a week. … There are already people that come religiously.”
The Hideaway did not have a grand opening, meaning that all the business is the result of foot traffic, Melvin said. He added that once 6:30 p.m. hits, the restaurant is packed until closing time.
According to customer Marie Bowles-Shalz, Schiele’s relationship with customers is one of the major attractions of The Hideaway. Bowles-Shalz added that this friendliness is why she has decided to frequent the business.
“If I’m in this neighborhood, this is where I’ll go,” Bowles-Shalz said. “Most people that tell you they’re regulars are because of Katherine (Schiele). They remember the drinks that you like. I don’t go anywhere else (where) that happens.”
Bowles-Shalz ordered the house red wine, which she said was a good value at $7. She said the business is upscale and modern but, at the same time, fits the neighborhood.
Schiele’s business model is centered around delivering good food and drinks at reasonable prices, coupled with good customer service.
“I have a basic philosophy that there are so many choices of where you can go out to eat. Nobody needs to come here,” Shiele said. “We need to create an environment with great food, service and ambience. We have to have fun, (which includes) remembering people’s names and befriending them.”