Hawaiian and more: What’s trending on San Jose’s food scene?


Want the intel on San Jose’s most talked-about local spots?

We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp and SafeGraph, a dataset of commercial points of interest and their visitor patterns, to analyze which restaurants have been on the tips of diners’ tongues this month.

To find out who made the list, we first looked at San Jose businesses on Yelp by category and counted how many reviews each received. Rather than compare them based on number of reviews alone, we calculated a percentage increase in reviews over the past month, and tracked businesses that consistently increased their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance. Then we analyzed foot traffic data from SafeGraph to validate the trends.

Read on to see which spots are sizzling hot this autumn.

Milk Tea Lab

Photo: KM L./Yelp

Open since August 2019, this spot to score bubble tea and juices and smoothies is trending compared to other businesses categorized as “Bubble Tea” on Yelp.

Citywide, bubble tea spots saw a median 2.2% increase in new reviews over the past month, but Milk Tea Lab saw a staggering 276.9% increase, with a slight downward trend from a five-star rating a month ago to 4.5 stars today.

It’s not the only trending outlier in the bubble tea category: Kokonut Desserts has seen a 26.2% increase in reviews, and Oh My Boba has seen a 15.6% bump.

Located at 1601 Branham Lane, Suite 3, in the Cambrian Park, Milk Tea Lab offers matcha milk tea, jasmine milk tea, lychee green tea and more.

Milk Tea Lab is open from 11 a.m.–midnight on Monday-Thursday and Sunday and 11 a.m.–2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue

Photo: L&L Hawaiian Barbecue/Yelp

Whether or not you’ve been hearing buzz about the Santa Teresa’s L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, the Hawaiian spot, which offers barbecue and more, is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.

While businesses categorized as “Barbeque” on Yelp saw a median 1.1% increase in new reviews over the past month, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue bagged a remarkable 110% increase in new reviews within that time frame, maintaining a superior 4.5-star rating.

Open at 5730 Cottle Road, Suite 120, since July 2019, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue offers barbecue chicken, fried shrimp, kalua pork with cabbage and more.

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue is open from 11 a.m.–9 p.m. on Monday-Thursday and Sunday and 11 a.m.–10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

Photo: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen/Yelp

West San Carlos / Burbank’s Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen is also making waves. Open since June 2019 at 1570 W. San Carlos St., the fast food spot, which offers chicken wings and more, has seen a substantial 122.2% bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 3.3% for all businesses tagged “Chicken Wings” on Yelp. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen’s review count increased by more than 220%.

There’s more than one hot spot trending in San Jose’s chicken wing category: BurgerIM has seen a 50% increase in reviews.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen offers chicken dippers, biscuits and ice tea. Over the past month, it’s maintained a 2.5-star rating among Yelpers.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen is open from 7 a.m.–11 p.m. daily.

Flourishing Garden

Photo: Isabel T./Yelp

Fairgrounds’s Flourishing Garden is the city’s buzziest seafood spot by the numbers.

The popular spot to score dim sum and seafood, which opened at 1650 Monterey Highway on June 2006, saw a 1.4% increase in new reviews over the last month — matching that of all businesses for the Yelp business category “Seafood” — but saw visits more than double over the same time frame, according to SafeGraph’s foot traffic data.

Flourishing Garden offers dim sum, stuffed eggplant, tea, noodle rolls, vegetable chow mein and more.

Flourishing Garden is open from 11 a.m.–9 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m.–10 p.m. on weekends. (It’s closed on Tuesday.) According to SafeGraph, it usually gets busy at 11 a.m., 12 p.m. and 7 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays, with a slowdown on Mondays.

Our House

Photo: John D./Yelp

Downtown San Jose’s popular Our House is currently on the upswing in the New American category on Yelp.

While businesses categorized as “American (New)” on Yelp saw a median 1.2% increase in new reviews over the past month, this New American spot, which offers burgers and sandwiches, increased its new reviews by 3.7% — and kept its rating consistent at 4.5 stars. Review counts increased by more than 300% on a month-to-month basis, and the business saw visits nearly double over the same time frame, according to SafeGraph’s foot traffic data.

Open for business at 185 Park Ave., Suite 189, since January 2016, Our House offers local, GMO-free, sustainably sourced food like salads, burgers, fries and short ribs.

Our House is open from 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. on Monday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.–7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and 11:30 a.m.–7 p.m. on Saturday. (It’s closed on Sunday.) According to SafeGraph, it’s usually busiest at 12 p.m., 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., and people visit Our House most on Thursdays and Wednesdays. If you’re planning your visit, you may want to try its slower periods on Saturdays.

This story was created automatically using local business data, then reviewed and augmented by an editor. Click here for more about what we’re doing. Got thoughts? Go here to share your feedback.