O’Brien’s Bistro provides casual continental dining with Pensacola roots
Winner of the VIP Magazine 2019 Reader Choice Award, O’Brien’s Bistro is a convenient choice for great food and a Casual Continental dining experience. On my recent visit, I enjoyed a lunch Trio of Salads with Grilled Mushroom Salad laced with house-made bleu cheese dressing, Shrimp Salad enhanced by dill mayo, and Roasted Corn & Black Bean Salad seasoned with pepper and onions in a fresh cilantro sauce. My friend chose the Black and Bleu Caesar Salad, a combination of highly seasoned Blackened London Broil, generous portions of crumbled bleu cheese, hard-boiled egg, red onions, tomatoes, and croutons.
Our server, Daniel, was personable, attentive, and well-versed on menu offerings. His outgoing personality was a welcome respite from the substandard service most of us have experienced lately from harried, overworked restaurant staff. Daniel enthusiastically explained that all soups and salad dressings are made in house.
O’Brien’s Bistro has deep roots in Pensacola. The restaurant was opened in 1999 by James O’Brien, a local Chef and Pensacola Junior College Culinary Instructor who passed away in late 2016. In 2017, O’Brien’s family sold the bistro to David Greenfield and wife Lucia Bonifay Greenfield, a 6th generation Pensacola native. David came to Pensacola in the late 1980s where he met and married Lucia. They spent the next few years traveling both inside and outside the US to follow his culinary career.
David and Lucia operated restaurants in Tampa and South Florida. In 1987 the couple moved to Great Britain for three years where he opened over 18 restaurants throughout the UK while gaining experience in International cuisine. Later, David spent seven years working in consulting and contract management with independent restaurants. Eventually, the Greenfields returned to Pensacola where Lucia’s mother and family still lived. While traveling the world, David missed the excitement of restaurant ownership and decided to find something to call his own in the Pensacola area. David now enjoys greeting and seating each customer with a warm smile and a genuine welcome.
Today, culinary operations are led by Chef Brandon Collins, both stepson and mentee of the bistro’s original owner, James O’Brien. Chef Collin’s interesting dinner options include Gnocchi Mac with Mushroom Sherry cheese sauce, a Surf and Turf option featuring a petite filet medallion, fresh sea scallops and gulf shrimp served in a mushroom Marsala sauce and chicken in a choice of Marsala wine or lemon caper sauce.
A broad wine selection is on hand to accompany menu selections and full bar service is available from the newly opened bar adjoining the bistro. The quiet, comfortable drink venue is sure to become a favorite with Pensacola residents soon. Positioned in Cordova Square on Bayou Boulevard near 12th Avenue, the site offers ample free parking and easy access—two extra perks for diners.
Reservations are accepted and available through OpenTable or by phone at 850-877-9120. Lunch and dinner are served Monday through Saturday. Sunday brunch is a popular after-church treat for many locals. A private dining room is available for special occasions or group meetings. The large outdoor seating areas are perfect for spring and summer dining.
O’Brien’s Bistro website boasts that David and Lucia “will continue to provide the best quality food, the best quality wine at a valued price by well trained staff.” They are doing a great job keeping their commitment.