Top Hatters Receives ‘Bib Gourmand’ in 2021 Michelin Guide
A San Leandro favorite, Top Hatters Kitchen & Bar, is one of 20 Bay Area restaurants to receive a Bib Gourmand recognition for great food at an affordable price in the 2021 Michelin Restaurant Guide.
In April, 2019, DanVy Vu took a leap of faith and opened Top Hatters Kitchen and Bar at 855 MacArthur Boulevard in San Leandro, after having operated the ever-popular Go Streatery food truck for six years. Named after the well-known hat shop that called the building home for years, Top Hatters is a warm and intimate restaurant offering an eclectic selection of food reflecting California’s diverse food culture and Vu’s Vietnamese roots. Since opening, Top Hatters has become a favorite food destination, not only for San Leandrans, but also for food enthusiasts from all over the Bay Area.
The modern, neighborhood restaurant has taken the local and regional community by storm, and has garnered rave reviews, such as in the Mercury News, Berkeleyside, and the San Francisco Chronicle. On Yelp, Top Hatters has earned a 4.5 average star rating from 290 reviews that celebrate the restaurant’s unique and, at times, whimsical offerings.
Early in the pandemic, the restaurant offered “grazing boxes” and “meal kits” for curbside pickup in lieu of in-person dining. Take-out service followed, and still continues today. As restrictions have eased, diners are now able to return to this local culinary oasis, and the restaurant continues to expand its dine-in service.
Alongside its successes, and in the midst of a pandemic, Top Hatters was also among the 180 restaurants included countywide in a lawsuit related to ADA accessibility requirements. This lawsuit caught the eye of the New York Times, which published a story about the litigation – and DanVy Vu’s experience in particular – earlier this year. The challenges of the litigation on top of the pandemic’s shelter-in-place have been daunting for DanVy and Top Hatters.
In recent news, the prestigious Michelin Guide, an internationally-renowned guide for fine food and travel, lauded Top Hatters as a New Discovery and now a Bib Gourmand , an honor “awarded to restaurants who are deemed to be both good quality and good value by Michelin’s team of inspectors.” In total, 45 California restaurants earned this honor in 2021, of which 20 are located in the Bay Area. This is no small accomplishment, as the Michelin Guide is notoriously scrupulous in its selection of restaurants to acknowledge.
Receipt of Bib Gourmand recognition takes hard work, passion, and commitment to quality day in and day out and is a great honor for the whole Top Hatter’s team. This accolade is certainly worth celebrating, and provides the silver lining to a challenging period for this young and exciting restaurant.