Strange Bird Bistro Promises Global Flavors


Benjamin Shepherd

A customer enjoys a meal at the recently opened Strange Bird Bistro. The restaurant replaced Weia Teia and serves food inspired by a wide range of cuisines.

Oliver Bok, Editor in Chief

Strange Bird Bistro, a new restaurant at 9 South Main Street, has landed in Oberlin and looks like it will be here to stay.

For first-time restaurant owner and chef Jennifer Sale, Strange Bird is the culmination of years of hard work in the food industry as a personal chef, small event caterer, hostess and waitress. After years of working for the visions of others, she now gets to pursue her own.

“[It’s] all the food that I love all put together — definitely a global influence. Lots of Asian, Cuban, Mexican, Eastern European, French, and a lot of it kind of mashed up with classic American dishes — meatloaf and macaroni and cheese with different spins,” Sale said.

According to Sale, the name of the restaurant reflects the heterodox menu.

“A lot of people asked when I was first wanting to do this, ‘Well, that’s kind of a weird concept to have all of those things together.’ You can go to a Cuban restaurant, or you can go to a Mexican restaurant. To have all those things together is a little bizarre, so Strange Bird is a reflection of that.”

Sale mentioned the Korean meatloaf and the Cuban citrus mojo pork (both $15) as two items that are particularly popular with customers.

Sale was working on a business plan for a food truck when she saw that the owner of global-themed restaurant Weia Teia had put the property on the market to focus on a new restaurant in Beachwood. The opportunity was too good to pass up.

“It’s a perfect location,” Sale said.

But the timing left something to be desired. With only a couple of weeks to go before orientation and the resulting rush of potential customers into town, Strange Bird had to move in fast.

“It was insane,” Sale said. “We did it literally in 12 days. We opened because we definitely wanted to capitalize on that orientation week and really get it out there while there was a massive amount of people in the city. … I had a lot of support from people I had worked with before that came in just to help, that refused to be paid and really just wanted to help me and support me.”

According to College senior Clara Berger, Strange Bird has already won her over.

“I’ve been there a lot since it’s opened,” Berger said. “It’s a great restaurant. My friends and I go on Friday nights, and it’s really fun.”

Berger also shared her delight about the new brunch menu.

“They have a bacon jam grilled cheese which is really good, [and] they have more seating than some of the other brunch places. The menu also has crème brûlée French toast, biscuits and gravy. There’s a whole assortment of different things.”

Berger also noted that she always sees a range of people at Strange Bird, both students and residents. To Sale, that’s exactly as it should be.

“My hope is that it’s a place where everyone can feel comfortable and also get a great meal — high quality with intense layers of flavor,” Sale said.