A new gourmet burger restaurant opened in Rockridge called The Hideaway. On a recent Friday evening, the place was nearly full, with patrons seated at the bar, at the tables up front and in the booths along the side.
Although it’s located on busy College Avenue, just a half block from the Rockridge BART station, the restaurant manages to live up to the idea of a hideaway — the lights were low, the red banquettes offer cozy, private seating and the noise level (even on a crowded night) was conducive to conversation.
From the look of things on our visit, the spot will be popular with the locals, the after-work crowd and people who appreciate good pub food and a juicy burger. The Hideaway occupies the space that had been Bourbon & Beef, and comes from half the ownership of that former eatery. Although the interior has not changed much from its previous incarnation, The Hideaway’s menu is completely new. Burgers are the main event here. It also has a full bar and a good selection of non-alcoholic drinks.
The Hideaway offers a selection of 15 burgers — 18 if you count the three slider options. There are classics, like the Angus beef burger with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle; less standard meat offerings like a lamb burger and blackened whitefish burger; and creative combinations like the Figgy Blue Piggy (Angus beef, blue cheese, bacon and fig jam). All the patties at The Hideaway are made in-house, and it only serves Never Ever beef, a meat classification meaning the cattle were never fed animal byproducts and didn’t receive antibiotics or hormones. Every plate that came out of the kitchen featured a generous burger on a glistening fresh-baked brioche bun, piled high with accouterments and paired with a pile of crispy fries (traditional, curly, or sweet potato) or salad.
My companion ordered a classic burger ($11.95, $2 extra for cheese) with curly fries and a Martini ($14), while I threw caution to the wind and ordered the mac ‘n cheese ($8) and an East Coast milkshake, billed as “Manhattan Style,” with bourbon and cherry ($15). The East Coast milkshake can best be described as a grown-up treat that gave me childlike pleasure. The same could be said about the generous serving of creamy mac ‘n cheese, made with a blend of cheddar cheeses and topped with a fine sprinkling of bread crumbs.
Other milkshake options include The North Pole, with vodka and peppermint schnapps; the Caribbean Happiness, with rum and pineapple; the South of the Border, with tequila and lime and the Pacific Northwest, with coffee liqueur, chocolate and vodka. I can say with certainty that I will go back to try the others.
We were pleasantly surprised at the efficiency and attentiveness of the servers on what promised to be a busy night. Each member of the staff we spoke to was cordial and welcoming as the evening wore on and seemed delighted every time newcomers poked their heads in the door to check the place out. One couple we met didn’t know the restaurant had changed and just happened to be walking by. They ended up seated at the bar, enjoying their burgers and fries.
A nice touch some will appreciate: under-the-bar lighting and hooks for purses or bags. The ceiling is perforated with tiny holes, which may have something to do with the manageable sound level. The décor is hard to categorize, but I recommend taking a stroll past the eclectic collection of framed postcards that line the back wall.
As sometimes happens, a new place feels like it’s always been there. If it’s comfortable, convenient and friendly, and they serve what you want, that’s a recipe for success. If what you want happens to be a burger, fries and a milkshake (there are non-boozy versions for $6 each also), you should find your way to The Hideaway.
The Hideaway is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.