More News

Hollister House Bar & Grill opens for business Feb. 10

After several setbacks to meet county requirements, Hollister House Bar & Grill was scheduled to open Feb. 10, offering American cuisine with an Italian flair
Jack Barbieri shows off the bar that includes more than 30 wines and 26 brands of vodka.
The company mascot hangs above door that once was a bank vault.
Chef Victor Villafuerte, right, and sous-chef Bob Martin Del Campo, Jr. busily prepare for the first night of business.
Barbieri proudly shows the health certificate needed to open his new business in Hollister.

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

John Chadwell (John Chadwell)

John Chadwell is freelance photojournalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer who has worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and underwent graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John has worked as a script doctor and his own script, God's Club, was released as a motion picture in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime that are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to:


Good luck - it's a tough business, but you already know that based on this article.

Marty Richman


medinadistrict1's picture

Jack thank you for investing in San Benito County! Although you had a rocky start I appreciate your willingness to work with the county departments. The county and city are here to help you succeed. If I can assist you in the future please call me at 831-801-4784! San Benito County residents head on down to this restaurant and support our local economy!

Add new comment

Add Facebook comment

Comment using your Facebook account. Facebook comments will be published on this page, and on Facebook. It will not be posted to the "Recent Comments" list on the BenitoLink front page.