Fresh Look: Bebe at the Hey Hey

Beth Stallings, Columbus Crave

On the walls of chef Matthew Heaggans' bedroom are large Post-It notes covered in writing. It's here the owner of sliders-and-tots-slinging Swoop! Food Truck scribbles flavor combinations and dish ideas. This is where he crafted the idea for one of the oddest-sounding dishes-Chocolate Cavatelli-on the menu at his recently re-branded popup restaurant inside the Hey Hey in Merion Village.

Heaggans simply loves playing with flavors, he explains when I ask him about the idea for this dish. The dense and rich cavatelli tastes much better than it may sound-the chocolate worked into the pasta is just a little bitter, tender braised beef on top gives it a savory touch, parmesan adds saltiness, and sweet, acidic balsamic ties it all together.

Last week, Heaggans introduced Bebe, the new name for his Hey Hey popup. Why Bebe? Because the food he's serving here is a smaller version of what he'll serve at the restaurant he eventually hopes to open-a place calls Bebida (Spanish for "we drink"). It will be an American tapas restaurant, a great spot, he says, to gather with friends, enjoy good food and drinks.

Since August, the small Hey Hey kitchen (it's not much bigger than the food truck's, Heaggans says with a laugh) has served as his test kitchen. And it's generated a lot of buzz around town, adding hipsters and families to the regulars who flock to this neighborhood bar.

Recent Bebe additions include a happy hour menu and taco Wednesdays, when Heaggans offers tacos with carnitas, chorizo, brisket or goat.

Here are a few dishes from a recent menu:

  • Pimento Cheese Toasts ($6), mildly spicy, toasted bread
  • Loaded Potato ($5), confit of potato, creme fraiche, scallions, cheddar and bacon
  • Half Pound Wings ($6), crispy twice-cooked wings, apple cider glaze, house togarashi
  • Poutine ($7), confit potato, bacon gravy, cheese curds
  • Chocolate Cavatelli ($7), braised beef, parmesan, balsamic
  • Baked Macaroni & Cheese ($7), macaroni, cheese, awesome (add pot roast for $2)
  • Yak Attack! ($12), double yak burger, American cheese, toasted brioche (by Matt Swint), special sauce, arugula, tomato, diced onion
  • Brussels Salad ($5), sambal, Chinese sausage, cashews