News

After 43 years, Hobee's Restaurant sold to new owners

Longtime employees to take over local restaurant, with some changes planned

The family who has owned Peninsula breakfast institution Hobee's Restaurant for 43 years sold the business to two longtime employees, the company announced Tuesday.

Hobee's, which Paul Taber first opened in Mountain View in 1974, will now be run by Camille and Daniel Chijate, a couple who have each worked at Hobee's for 28 years. Camille Chijate currently works as vice president and area manager and Daniel Chijate as kitchen manager at Hobee's in Palo Alto.

There are now five Hobee's locations, including at 4224 El Camino Real in Palo Alto.

The Taber family described the new owners as hard-working, dedicated and passionate about service.

"Though it's a bittersweet decision, we are heartened to leave the company in familiar, very capable hands," Paul Taber's children, son Peter Taber, daughter Connie Taber Durant and Edward Fike (Peter's husband) wrote in an announcement. "There is no better choice to carry on the Hobee's legacy."

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They said their late father founded Hobee's at a small site in Mountain View — a former Dairy Belle franchise — with one goal in mind: "to make friends."

"With his sly sense of humor, Paul Taber indeed made many friends," the family wrote. "In the process, he also created one of Silicon Valley's earliest and most enduring success stories."

Paul Taber initially served sandwiches and fast-food items from the Mountain View location, according to a history posted on Hobee's website. He soon expanded to an insurance office next door and built a "modest" dining room with only nine tables.

The original restaurant "consistently lost money, severely testing the Tabers' resolve," the website states. The family sold their van at one point to make payroll. But a healthy eating craze in the mid-1970s and Hobee's community-minded service soon led to widespread success, according to the company. Hobee's now serves sandwiches, salads, tacos, pasta, burgers, smoothies and has a separate gluten-free menu.

The announcement notes the awards Hobee's has garnered over the years, including "best breakfast" in the Palo Alto Weekly's Best Of competition.

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Hobee's, known for its ample breakfasts and signature hunks of blueberry coffee cake with a dollop of melting butter on top, can today be found in Belmont, San Jose and Sunnyvale in addition to Palo Alto. A location at the Town & Country Village in Palo Alto closed in 2013. A Los Gatos Hobee's also closed that year and a Campbell location followed in 2014. (A remaining outpost in Cupertino is an independently owned franchise.)

In an email to the Weekly, Camille Chijate said she is planning some changes for Hobee's, including continuing a trend toward purchasing locally by featuring local produce, dairy and craft beers. She and her husband will keep "tried and true" menu favorites but also add customer "'wish list' items" like grain bowls, cold brew coffee and organic and natural products when possible.

The Chijates also plan to update the restaurants' dining rooms while still "maintaining our homey, funky vibe," Camille said.

Camille, who is personally interested in the environment, said she also aims "to go more green in our operations, with resources, packaging and day to day habits."

Hobee's has always been a "family affair," the Tabers wrote in their Tuesday announcement. Matriarch Mary Taber "cheerfully" processed Hobee's payroll until she was 82 years old, when she retired and moved to Honolulu -- where she had met Paul Taber -- before her death in 2014. Paul Taber died at the age of 72 in 1998.

Connie Taber Durant focused on customer service and developed a training program for employees while Peter served as the company's "chief architect for expansion" and also developed many Hobee's recipes, including the coffee cake, the family said. Fike, an attorney, took over as CEO from Peter Taber in 2005 and "skillfully navigated the company through the economic ups and downs of the new millennium."

As Hobee's enters a new era of ownership, the Tabers are "thrilled to be keeping Hobee's in the family!" Fike wrote in an email announcing the sale.

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After 43 years, Hobee's Restaurant sold to new owners

Longtime employees to take over local restaurant, with some changes planned

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Jun 14, 2017, 8:47 am

The family who has owned Peninsula breakfast institution Hobee's Restaurant for 43 years sold the business to two longtime employees, the company announced Tuesday.

Hobee's, which Paul Taber first opened in Mountain View in 1974, will now be run by Camille and Daniel Chijate, a couple who have each worked at Hobee's for 28 years. Camille Chijate currently works as vice president and area manager and Daniel Chijate as kitchen manager at Hobee's in Palo Alto.

There are now five Hobee's locations, including at 4224 El Camino Real in Palo Alto.

The Taber family described the new owners as hard-working, dedicated and passionate about service.

"Though it's a bittersweet decision, we are heartened to leave the company in familiar, very capable hands," Paul Taber's children, son Peter Taber, daughter Connie Taber Durant and Edward Fike (Peter's husband) wrote in an announcement. "There is no better choice to carry on the Hobee's legacy."

They said their late father founded Hobee's at a small site in Mountain View — a former Dairy Belle franchise — with one goal in mind: "to make friends."

"With his sly sense of humor, Paul Taber indeed made many friends," the family wrote. "In the process, he also created one of Silicon Valley's earliest and most enduring success stories."

Paul Taber initially served sandwiches and fast-food items from the Mountain View location, according to a history posted on Hobee's website. He soon expanded to an insurance office next door and built a "modest" dining room with only nine tables.

The original restaurant "consistently lost money, severely testing the Tabers' resolve," the website states. The family sold their van at one point to make payroll. But a healthy eating craze in the mid-1970s and Hobee's community-minded service soon led to widespread success, according to the company. Hobee's now serves sandwiches, salads, tacos, pasta, burgers, smoothies and has a separate gluten-free menu.

The announcement notes the awards Hobee's has garnered over the years, including "best breakfast" in the Palo Alto Weekly's Best Of competition.

Hobee's, known for its ample breakfasts and signature hunks of blueberry coffee cake with a dollop of melting butter on top, can today be found in Belmont, San Jose and Sunnyvale in addition to Palo Alto. A location at the Town & Country Village in Palo Alto closed in 2013. A Los Gatos Hobee's also closed that year and a Campbell location followed in 2014. (A remaining outpost in Cupertino is an independently owned franchise.)

In an email to the Weekly, Camille Chijate said she is planning some changes for Hobee's, including continuing a trend toward purchasing locally by featuring local produce, dairy and craft beers. She and her husband will keep "tried and true" menu favorites but also add customer "'wish list' items" like grain bowls, cold brew coffee and organic and natural products when possible.

The Chijates also plan to update the restaurants' dining rooms while still "maintaining our homey, funky vibe," Camille said.

Camille, who is personally interested in the environment, said she also aims "to go more green in our operations, with resources, packaging and day to day habits."

Hobee's has always been a "family affair," the Tabers wrote in their Tuesday announcement. Matriarch Mary Taber "cheerfully" processed Hobee's payroll until she was 82 years old, when she retired and moved to Honolulu -- where she had met Paul Taber -- before her death in 2014. Paul Taber died at the age of 72 in 1998.

Connie Taber Durant focused on customer service and developed a training program for employees while Peter served as the company's "chief architect for expansion" and also developed many Hobee's recipes, including the coffee cake, the family said. Fike, an attorney, took over as CEO from Peter Taber in 2005 and "skillfully navigated the company through the economic ups and downs of the new millennium."

As Hobee's enters a new era of ownership, the Tabers are "thrilled to be keeping Hobee's in the family!" Fike wrote in an email announcing the sale.

Comments

hobees fan
Menlo Park
on Jun 14, 2017 at 11:13 am
hobees fan, Menlo Park
on Jun 14, 2017 at 11:13 am
28 people like this

Keep it going! We all love Hobees.


Chrissy
Downtown North
on Jun 14, 2017 at 12:11 pm
Chrissy, Downtown North
on Jun 14, 2017 at 12:11 pm
22 people like this

I and my late husband have been going to Hobee's for over 25 years and it's my favorite restaurant. Been to all the locations at one time or another. I certainly hope that Hobee's will continue the excellent food and service I've enjoyed for so long. I'm glad it's staying in the family!


fcservices
Evergreen Park
on Jun 14, 2017 at 12:59 pm
fcservices, Evergreen Park
on Jun 14, 2017 at 12:59 pm
26 people like this

Hobee's has been such a friend to nonprofits over the decades, generously donating coffeecake and other items for events. Our thanks to the Taber family, and best wishes to the Chijates.


Sylvia
Midtown
on Jun 14, 2017 at 1:18 pm
Sylvia, Midtown
on Jun 14, 2017 at 1:18 pm
16 people like this

I'm so happy Hobees will continue. It's a favorite place of mine to eat alone. When my son was a child, in the 70s, I often took him to breakfast on the weekends at the original Mountain View Hobees.


Hobees regular
Midtown
on Jun 14, 2017 at 4:22 pm
Hobees regular, Midtown
on Jun 14, 2017 at 4:22 pm
4 people like this

I am so glad to hear that Hobbes will continue to be a place where my family can enjoy a healthy, relaxing dinner. We used to go almost every Sunday night to the restaurant at Town and Country until it closed. We were happy that the El Camino location started a weekend dinner service so we could continue enjoying our menu favorites!


Different opinion
Midtown
on Jun 14, 2017 at 9:56 pm
Different opinion, Midtown
on Jun 14, 2017 at 9:56 pm
6 people like this

Hate to be the dissenter here but I sure hope the new ownership of this "institution" changes some things up at Hobee's. We stopped going there about 5 years ago. We were very tired of the menu which almost never changed, tired of the overly dry coffee cake, and tired of poorly (over) cooked meat dishes. I will given them a try again once the new ownership has been in place a while


Inspections...
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 14, 2017 at 10:40 pm
Inspections..., Old Palo Alto
on Jun 14, 2017 at 10:40 pm
Like this comment

If you need some interesting reading, search for Hobees's in the County of Santa Clara Department of Environmental Health Food Facility Inspection Report database. Web Link


Big fan
Barron Park
on Jun 14, 2017 at 11:07 pm
Big fan, Barron Park
on Jun 14, 2017 at 11:07 pm
1 person likes this

Hobees has wonderful specials that change, I don't understand the criticism. I love Hobee's, the food is good for a decent price, I can always find lots to eat as a vegetarian, and it's a great place to dine with other families. The employees make you so comfortable, I'm happy to eat there even when I don't feel up to going out.

All the best!!


Palo Altan
Jordan Middle School
on Jun 15, 2017 at 12:13 am
Palo Altan, Jordan Middle School
on Jun 15, 2017 at 12:13 am
8 people like this

This is great news, however, I don't understand the appeal of Hobee's. And what is the big deal about the coffee cake? It's tough and dry.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2017 at 7:46 am
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2017 at 7:46 am
2 people like this

It is good to have an affordable option while eating out and this is good news for the community.

My thoughts though are that Hobees is sadly not keeping its offerings up to date. On my last visit for lunch I ordered a salad which was huge and mainly greens so much so that I had to dig to find the other ingredients. I would have preferred to have had a smaller plate with less greens and able to find the chicken and other ingredients. My companions ordered various other items and once again the portions were huge and we all left food. As we were meeting before heading out, taking the food with us was not an option as it would have been left in hot cars for several hours, not a good idea. Next time we are considering ordering less entrees and sharing as a mountain of home fries on one plate could adequately serve several people.

The traditional menu items may be a draw for some, but for others they are not a healthy or attractive option for those trying to eat wisely.


Me 2
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 15, 2017 at 11:07 am
Me 2, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 15, 2017 at 11:07 am
2 people like this

Here come the long-time residents out in force again. Someone's going to bring up the bowling alley pretty soon.


musical
Palo Verde
on Jun 22, 2017 at 7:43 am
musical, Palo Verde
on Jun 22, 2017 at 7:43 am
Like this comment

Was disappointing to find Palo Alto Hobee's closed for repairs this morning.
Something the new owners decided needed to be done?
Hope they're open again tomorrow. My favorite weekday breakfast choice.


Big Fan
Barron Park
on Jun 22, 2017 at 8:16 am
Big Fan, Barron Park
on Jun 22, 2017 at 8:16 am
3 people like this

@Me2,
Yes, the longtime residents should just shut up about their quality of life being tanked, with nothing but homework and hanging out at the drugstore for their kids to do on their own while they have a suicide epidemic, and be happy they are spending their time in traffic while they pay for the golf course and all the great stuff on the other side of town that they can't visit anymore because of traffic. (Sarcasm) I think you were the only one who brought it up here, though, and it isn't relevant to tgis discussion.


Palo Altan
Jordan Middle School
on Jun 22, 2017 at 10:35 pm
Palo Altan, Jordan Middle School
on Jun 22, 2017 at 10:35 pm
4 people like this

@Me2: Your posting made me literally laugh out loud! Where's your sense of humor, Big Fan? You sound so angry. Two words: meditation and yoga. Kids don't do bowling alleys after the invention of videogaming. It really is true that it's no longer a family city, as I grew up here and now most people are either working here or cutting through the city as part of their commute. According to PAPD, the population is 60,000 but it swells to 250,000 on a weekday.


Big Fan
Barron Park
on Jun 23, 2017 at 7:43 am
Big Fan, Barron Park
on Jun 23, 2017 at 7:43 am
5 people like this

@Palo,
As someone who took my kid to the bowling alley to meet with other kids, and was looking forward to letting the kids go there on their own when they were older as I witnessed other older kids happily doing - as there are so few resources on this side of town where it's possible for kids to go hang out and let off steam - and as someone who drives my kid to another bowling alley occasionally (only occasionally, it's too far) to meet with ither teens to bowl, I completely disagree. The owner of the alley would have upgraded it, it was profitable. Maybe there are kids doing nothing but gaming, but adults with that attitude are to blame for taking away the resources to make walkable/adjacent amenities available all over town for our youth. Did you know there was a public pool east of Oregon that was filled in because neighbors, especially in a new condo development next to it, complained of noise? We almost lost the skating rink until residents saved it - last I looked, it's busy all the time. Teens I know will bike over to Los Altos now, because they don't want to be driven, don't drive yet, and there is nothing here. It's no longer a family City because someone can make a buck off of taking over what the public built, for their own short-term gain. We really need to start creating balance - since we have a business element in the comp plan, why are we still so laissez faire about companies overcrowding here while making all the negative consequences a public problem? Since when did we allow quality of life, urban open space and even urban wildland, walkable public amenities especially for our youth, to become dirty words?

We used to walk to Hobee's too, but now it's just too dangerous. We drive, and no, we're not happy about doing that. I wish I could require every City Council member to walk from our side of town to City Hall. And hold their meetings here half the time - oh, that's right, there is no public space to do that here.


Gary
another community
on Jul 22, 2017 at 7:30 am
Gary, another community
on Jul 22, 2017 at 7:30 am
3 people like this

I know that the Cupertino Hobee's is an independent franchise, but unfortunately they will likely be closing too because the property owner is forcing out all the businesses in the hope of being able to build something else on the land. Long time tenant Coffee Society was forced out and closed last week. Once all the businesses are gone the owners can insist that the shopping center is not viable. Same thing was done at Vallco.


CrescentParkAnon.
Crescent Park
on Jul 24, 2017 at 3:40 am
CrescentParkAnon., Crescent Park
on Jul 24, 2017 at 3:40 am
Like this comment

Oh, how for decades since the 70's I've loved to eat at Hobee's.
I used to get the tasty calorific burgers, and energy blends,
then I got the omelettes and salads.

The Embarcadero salads were great. And the coffee cake.
Great when they put them on the menu and until the last few
years. They they started reducing the ingredients. Wilted
greens and other problems. Try to get a refil of water or coffee,
or the check when you are leaving.

I used to go to the Town & Country Hobees two to three times
a week to grab dinner while I read the paper or browsed the news
online. I really miss that place.

Tried out every Hobees in the area, and they have all gone downhill
to the point I stopped going. I miss it, and I hope the new owners
can pep up morale and bring a new life to the chain. Very nice
fresh food.

The El Camino Hobees in Palo Alto is still pretty good. The Mountain
View Hobees is as well - but why does it not stay open for dinner?

Good luck for the future.


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