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Hapy Bistro not only brings smiles to diners enjoying its relaxed ambiance and Mediterranean menu. It’s also where those in-the-know go for an extensive retail selection of premium wines and craft beers.
Indeed, if you snuck a quick peek in the front door, you might think the Pismo Beach bistro was only a store.
Between several wine racks and a dozen floor-to-ceiling coolers, Hapy Bistro stocks about 500 wines and about that many beers, Hilary Key estimated. She’s one of three partners in the business along with Samer George and Nabil Fadel.
Hapy Bistro opened in June 2016 with more of a retail footprint, Key said.
“The idea was just to see how the menu went, but everyone responded really well to it,” she said.
Now, the restaurant has expanded with several seating options. Opt for low or high tables in the dining area, sit at the bar or enjoy the dog-friendly, covered patio in back.
Key described the Hapy Bistro menu as Mediterranean with a Greek flair. But, she added, “we try to have something for everyone.”
For a taste of spot-on Greek cuisine, go for such dishes as moussaka (layers of sautéed eggplant and ground beef), grilled octopus or lamb shish kabobs served with hummus and tzatziki (yogurt and dill) sauce.
Also, don’t miss the avgolemono – a delightfully bright soup with chicken, rice, vegetables and just enough fresh lemon juice to make all the flavors pop.
Appealing to a broad range of tastes, Hapy Bistro offers everything from baked Buffalo wings to shrimp cocktails, club sandwiches to grass-fed Angus burgers, lamb chops to fish and chips.
Vegetarians can tuck into a variety of choices, including falafel burgers, housemade dolmas (grape leaves stuffed with rice and vegetables) and several salads.
Sometimes such a wide-ranging menu doesn’t work, but here it certainly does.
“Everything is done simply, but done very well,” Key said, adding that the kitchen team also makes it a point to respond to customers’ wishes and dietary restrictions.
New menu items inspired by those requests include a gluten-free Kevin’s Style oven-roasted lamb served over mashed potatoes, and a keto-correct Dr. Marquis salad with avocado, bacon and ground beef dressed simply with olive oil, salt and pepper.
If you’d like some beer or wine to accompany your meal, Hapy Bistro has that covered.
There are 24 draft beer taps and six wine taps, or you can buy a bottle of wine and enjoy it for a $5 corkage fee. (The bistro charges a $10 corkage fee for outside wines.)
“We’ll also open most of the wines as a by-the-glass option, within reason,” Key said.
This makes it fun and easy to try some new wines, especially paired with the Hapy Vino cheese sampler. Not your typical cheese plate, this one features four Greek cheeses, plus feta, dried figs, olives and pita bread.
If this is the first you’re hearing of Hapy Bistro, you’re probably not alone. One of Pismo Beach’s best kept secrets, it’s tucked away at the far end of the shopping plaza on North Oak Park Boulevard.
Because it’s not located on any beaten path, Hapy Bistro relies a lot on its regulars -- a fact that isn’t lost on the business partners. About a year ago, the restaurant designated the first Tuesday of every month to donate at least 20 percent of its gross proceeds to a local charity.
“This is a very locally driven business,” Key explained. “We think of our regulars as friends and family, and wanted to give something back to the community.”
821 N. Oak Park Boulevard, Pismo Beach
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The scene: An inviting place to gather for lunch or dinner, and/or to shop an extensive selection of premium wines and craft beers.
The cuisine: Predominantly Mediterranean with a Greek emphasis, but the broad menu offers something for everyone.
Expect to spend: Starters $7 to $18, sandwiches and burgers $11 to $18, lunch entrées $12 to $17, dinner entrées $19 to $30.