After a four-month delay, Hollister House Bar & Grill, located at 500 San Benito St. in downtown Hollister, is finally opening at 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10. After the soft opening, the normal hours beginning Saturday, Feb. 11, will be 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch, then 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for dinner. The bar will be open from 11 a.m. to at least midnight, or later, depending on how busy it is.
As Chef Victor Villafuerte and sous chef Bob Martin Del Campo, Jr. rushed around the new kitchen and the delicious odor of grilled shrimp wafted throughout the place, Jack Barbieri, who bought the entire corner building, said of the soft opening, “It will be anything but soft. It’s going to be a blowout.”
Anticipating a huge Friday night crowd, Barbieri said it will be “all hands on deck” as all 35 new employees will be working.
BenitoLink reported July 29, 2016 that the new eatery would open Oct. 1, but Barbieri said he had to jump over many unanticipated hurdles with the county.
“We got through all that now it’s absolute chaos,” he said. “It was mainly equipment issues. The county wanted us to have a much bigger hot water heater and we purchased a new wood-fire grill and it turns out we’re not going to be able to use it because we have to have a completely separate hood, so we’re back to a gas grill.”
Barbieri described the menu as an abridged version of the actual menu in order to be ready for the opening.
“We’re going to have a nice selection of steaks with a little bit of Italian flair,” he said. “There will be great appetizers and hamburgers. We kind of went overboard with the bar. I’m still working on the wine list. We’re going to have about 30 wines and a wide assortment of alcohol, including 26 vodkas. If you’re looking for variety, this is the place.”
An average tab for a party of two might range from $80 to $90 for food and drinks, Barbieri said. While there are no children’s dishes, he said they will customize any item for them.
As Barbieri showed a BenitoLink reporter around Hollister House Bar & Grill, he pointed out the company mascot, Big Jake, above the open door to what once served as a bank vault. He called it his most recent art acquisition. But he was more proud of a framed document hanging from the wall at the end of the bar—the health permit from San Benito County Environmental Health Services.
Chef Villafuerte was formerly at the 19th Hole in Tres Pinos for six years.
“I have a passion for cooking and just want to make people happy,” Villafuerte said. When asked if he has a specialty, he answered, “This is what I think of every chef: if you’re made out of five recipes you’re not a real chef. This is a different concept. What we did with this menu, we have a steakhouse with an Italian flair. One of our signature burgers will be Italian burgers that are a little different with a blend of mild Italian sausage with Angus beef. I’m trying to put a little twist in the traditional recipes to make it our own.”
For more information, call 831-313-1426. The future website — it is still under construction — will be www.thehollisterhouse.com.
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