You’re walking down Forbes Avenue, restaurant-scouting for a somewhere to just sit-down and relax. Part of you wants to eat your feelings and stress away with comfort food, but, at the same time, another part of you wants to take care of your body and nourish it with wholesome ingredients. So, why not get the best of both worlds and say “Hello, there!” to Hello Bistro.

Hello Bistro offers a grand variety of cuisine for its customers. Want to stay healthy? Order a salad off the menu or customize your own. In the mood for a juicy, wholesome sandwich coupled with fresh fries? Hello Bistro serves those too!

At first glance, Hello Bistro may seem to be a typical fast-casual restaurant with a salad bar, sandwiches, and fountain drinks. But, after diving into its history, you can realize that it is so much more.

How did this Steel City gem come to be? Here's a little necessary history, as viewing the restaurant as part of a greater community dedicated to the utmost quality and service exemplifies its indispensable role as part of the Pittsburgh food scene. Generally, Pittsburgh locals deem watching the Steelers play and visiting Eat’n Park as traditions that characterize the city. As demonstrated by the fact that within the past month, 1 in 3 Pittsburgh natives has visited an Eat’n Park establishment, locals love and regularly support the eatery primarily because of its diverse menu, specializing in burgers and salads. Originally a car hop restaurant founded in 1949, Eat’n Park has since expanded to 68 restaurants in the tristate region and has also evolved to adapt to the changing societal expectations and preferences.

With the turn of the century, the decreasing demand for drive-in dining and sit-down restaurants inspired Eat’n Park Hospitality Group to establish the first Hello Bistro in Oakland in 2012. As part of the larger objective to expand the identity of the company to accommodate the increasing popularity of fast-casual, customizable cuisine, Hello Bistro combines the two most commonly ordered items of Eat’n Park, burgers and salads; a pairing that can appeal to everyone. Now, your salad-loving friend does not have to poke at a standard house salad whenever you want to eat a juicy burger! Through its diverse menu, Hello Bistro strives to unite people in the most accessible, comfortable way: food. (Because who doesn’t love food!)

There are so many different ways to build a salad because of the variety of ingredients involved, so they sought to accommodate these diverse tastes by offering two options: either to order a predetermined one or to customize your own. Not in the mood to think? The salads built by Hello Bistro incorporate seasonal flavors in an ideal ratio to create a quick, enjoyable dish. However, if you’re more particular, the DIY salad bar offers unlimited fresh ingredients and toppings. After choosing your ingredients, you get to choose the extent to which your salad is chopped – small, medium, or large bites - before it is thoroughly mixed. This way, every bite is well integrated, and you don’t get five forkfulls of lettuce in a row.

When you're finished your salad, top off your meal with one of Eat’n Park’s signature smiley face cookies. Yes, Hello Bistro sells them too! In addition to the happiness you feel by biting into a freshly baked cookie and remembering the homemade cookies your mom made you as a kid, you’re also biting into the memories of the original Eat’n Park owner. In 1986, Eat’n Park began to integrate a bakery into each of its restaurants and served freshly made baked goods, such as different kinds of bread and pies. The owner at the time conceived this idea because of a memory from his youth: every day when he came home from school, his mother gave him five cents to buy a smiley face cookie from a local bakery. In keeping with his tradition, he wanted all customers, adults or children, to indulge in the universal delight that comes with eating a satisfying cookie.

Not only does Hello Bistro strive to present fresh and local ingredients to its customers, but it also hopes to give back to the local community through the “Gift some Greens” initiative. Every month, one burger and one salad on the menu will be designated so that with each purchase of one of these meals, one pound of fresh produce will be donated to the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank. To this day, Eat’n Park has donated over 19,667 pounds of fresh produce and continues to encourage volunteer services among its team members through volunteer days and fundraisers for local children's hospitals.

Now, whenever you sit-down to eat at Hello Bistro, remember that you’re eating in an establishment engrained in the Pittsburgh identity that seeks to provide outstanding quality cuisine to both its customers and to contribute fresh produce to communities with restricted access to these commodities.