If you live near the Jefferson L stop, chances are that by now you’ve noticed HiHello, the unassuming replacement of Mazelle, the Eastern European-inspired restaurant which used to occupy the space on at 247 Starr St until 2013.
There hasn’t been much fanfare around the opening: no big “Grand Opening” banners, no perceivable media push. A few weeks ago they simply opened their doors and posted a small menu outside. Yet, at a location as highly trafficked as the corner of Wyckoff Ave and Starr St, little else is needed to create a buzz.
And indeed, as I sat at HiHello on one of its first Fridays open, there was a distinct buzz. Not only was the restaurant surprisingly packed for 6:30pm, but over the course of my meal at the counter facing Wyckoff Ave, I noticed hundreds of pedestrians peaking in curiously, wondering what was going on inside, eyeing my sandwich with what I guessed was envy. Perhaps they remembered the rumors that this new spot could be the “best sandwich shop in all of NYC.“
I haven’t been to every sandwich shop in the city, so I can’t say with certainty that the rumors are true. However, even in its youth it’s clear that HiHello could be a contender. The menu is small, but the sandwiches are pretty incredible. Smoked duck breast with persian walnut pate, pan con tomate, cheeseburgers with wagyu beef and caramelized onions. HiHello’s sandwiches are simple, but feature really nice ingredients on really good bread. (And for any vegetarians concerned with the meat heavy menu, don’t worry. They are happy to substitute with portobello.) The cocktails are also, to put it succinctly, sublime.
I asked Kip Michel, one of the owners of HiHello and a former manager at Roberta’s, why he and his partners, who opened Momo Sushi Shack, decided on sandwiches for their new venture. He told me: “Sandwiches are one of those foods that invoke nostalgia, fun, and playfulness while simultaneously offering the largest range of experimentation. The menu is inspired by the narrative of our lives… how we work, live, and love.”
Michel continued that he and his partners have all lived in Bushwick for over a decade and all care deeply about the neighborhood.
“We’re overjoyed to be here and we’ve got lots of surprises up our sleeve. For the immediate future look for later kitchen hours and lunch service in May with breakfast coming on the heels of lunch’s footsteps.”