With such an eclectic variety of foods and services offered at the shopping center located at the corner of Calimesa Boulevard and Myrtlewood Drive, in Calimesa, one might be convinced it was orchestrated that way on purpose. But it wasn’t. Sometimes things just fall into place without a plan, like it happened for The Haus Bistro, which is located at the center of that Trails End Shopping Center.
The restaurant, which opened its doors two years ago, was originally intended to be used as a venue for planning and preparation work for Haverland Catering services.
“Since we cook 100 percent fresh food on site, we needed a kitchen that could equip all the fresh produce and meat that were coming in,” said Margarita Haverland, who – along with her husband, Henry Haverland – owns both Haverland Catering and The Haus Bistro. “So, we were looking. And my husband came across this restaurant. It was empty and it needed work, but we weren’t going to open a restaurant. That was never the intent. The intent was just to open it up for a prep-kitchen and then rehearsal dinners, since we do so many weddings,” she said. “So, after 25 years of marriage, and even though I promised my husband that we would never open a restaurant, I convinced him that we would do just sandwiches … four days a week, for just a couple of hours. Something simple. Easy food. Just soups and sandwiches. Nothing major.”
What would follow would be “major” growth for The Haus Bistro, which began operating as a restaurant for four hours per day, for only four days per week; and blossomed into a word-of-mouth dining experience that was open for business six days a week for 10 hours per day.
“This became a full-blown restaurant,” said Haverland.
The restaurant – which offers cuisines from France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland; and is described on its website as a dining experience that, “will take you on a culinary trip of Europe without leaving Southern California” – has since gained plenty of positive feedback throughout every review-based platform. On Yelp, it currently stands at four-and-a-half stars out of five, coming from over 150 reviews.
The Haus Bistro projects a mature vibe. It is described by Haverland as a place to get away on a date night, where the lights are dimmed, and there’s a great selection of wine and craft beers. It does not offer a kids’ menu, and it does not have highchairs on cue. But that’s not because they don’t welcome children, according to Haverland. She said the children that usually come to the bistro are already “really good foodies,” who have already grown to enjoy the flavor of the food and the atmosphere of the restaurant.
“The Haus Bistro is a place like sitting at my own dining table,” Haverland said. “This is the food that I love to serve my own family and friends. It should be food that they don’t make for themselves at home. They come to your house for something really good that they crave.”
“When you go to Europe, the bistros always have fresh food and it’s not a million dollars,” she added. “It’s always really flavorful. And we found that we always have to drive out of town to get something like that. Since this is our home, we wanted to give it to the people that we know.”
The kitchen is comprised of three chefs, including her husband, who is the head chef and spent a year training in Zurich, Switzerland, among other trainings.
“We allow the chefs to bring their pallets together,” Haverland pointed out. “We’re always encouraging the chefs to get creative in the kitchen. If they love something and they want to share it, we always (demonstrate it) in our special.”
“We’ve been getting really good response from the community,” she said. “You probably don’t see us when you drive by because we’re kind-of hidden in the strip mall with the pizza joint and the arcade. We have become ‘the word-of-mouth place.’”
“Generally, people say, ‘Oh, my gosh. I can’t believe this is here’,” she continued. “This (restaurant) would be great in Redlands. But we didn’t want to go to Redlands. We wanted to be ‘that place’ that nobody really knows, but some would say, ‘Oh, I have a place I have to take you.’”
It is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
The Haus Bistro is located at 534 Myrtlewood Dr., Calimesa, Call 446-0557 or visit www.thehausbistro.com for more information.