Hobee’s is a NorCal breakfast institution. There are other good breakfast places around, but Hobee’s has the double threat of also having good lunches, and that’s before you get into their yummy coffee cake.
Hobee’s was founded in Mountain View in 1974 in a former Dairy Belle burger joint. And it turns out the first location is in walking distance of my house! I started going there when I moved to Mountain View in 2001, but before that I’d been to the Palo Alto and the now-defunct Cupertino locations. Hobee’s emphasized meals made from natural and often California-sourced ingredients, and I’m pretty sure they didn’t have a deep fryer.
In 2015 the original owners sold the chain to a pair of employees. For some chains this might have been the beginning of the end, but it seemed to breathe new life into the Mountain View location: New lights, new physical menus, and some nice changes to the menu contents, my favorite being the addition of buttermilk pancakes, as I’d never been a fan of the whole wheat ones. Late in the pandemic they set up tents and outdoor seating in the parking lot and they were the first restaurant we started going to regularly once we got vaccinated.
Sadly, all good things come to an end, and we learned a little over a week ago that yesterday would be the end for Hobee’s Mountain View. They wanted to make some upgrades to their space, but the landlords were unwilling to do what they wanted. The mall they’re in is old, decrepit, and half empty, so none of this really surprised me. (I’m more surprised that there’s a new massage parlor in it, as it seems the end is not far off. Then again, the Sunnyvale mall for my comics store used to be seemed to be in that state a decade ago, and it’s still shambling along. I guess there’s just enough demand for these aging and presumably low-rent retail spaces.)
We made two trips to the place last week, for breakfast on Monday (when the coffee cake was especially good), and for lunch on Wednesday. I took some indoor photos, but as they have people in them, I’m not going to share them here. They’ll make for some nice memories, though.
Hopefully they’ll be able to find a new space in Mountain View, though it’s very unlikely it will be as convenient to us as their old one was. Meanwhile, I guess we’ll be driving to the Palo Alto location in the future. And boy has it been a long time since I’ve been there.