Chef Michael Schlow is a Boston celebrity. His Italian restaurants, Radius and Via Matta, are staples for the city's upper crust, and two years ago he opened Tico, his take on Mexican. A few weeks ago Schlow opened his fourth downtown restaurant, Happy's Bar + Kitchen.
In an interview with Stuff magazine, Schlow described his vision for Happy's, "I wanted to have the classic local neighborhood joint — with the
saloon-keeper type who wears a bow tie, knows everybody who comes in,
and is always standing behind the bar polishing glasses. I knew this
guy in upstate New York who had a joint called Gus’s and was the
quintessential saloon keeper. I thought a lot about Gus’s when I came
up with the concept for Happy’s. I want Happy’s to feel like it’s been
When asked what would be on the menu, he answered, "Everything I really like to eat and cook. I am going to have a ball. I
am not aiming for Michelin stars. Blue-plate specials, chicken nights,
Saturday steak nights, a raw bar, and a real bar. Black-and-white
milkshakes. Huge breakfast platters with fresh-squeezed OJ. We’ll serve
our pastrami sandwich with a side of Dr. Brown’s celery soda — whether
or not you’ve ordered it. We call our chicken soup 'international,
non-denominational, bi-partisan chicken soup,' with matzo balls,
basmati rice, and Sardinian fregola. The real problem is that the menu
is so huge because I want to put everything I love to eat on it."
After reading chef Schlow's goals for Happy's, I was expecting a hodge podge of decor and menu items.
Happy's is in the space formerly occupied by Burton's Grill on Boylston Street behind Fenway Park. The sign above the awning is cartoonish, with a giant red arrow pointing you to the front door.
After extensive snapping, I was finally ready to sit back down and start eating! The menus at Happy's have this strange, blurry picture across the front. The hodge podge strikes again!
In the middle of our meal the lights dimmed unexpectedly. I asked my dinner date, "What time is it? 8:00pm?" Sure enough, 8:00pm is the start time for the mood lighting! Ha!
After cocktails and two great courses we were completely stuffed. We had heard our waitress tell another table there was Nutella pie on the dessert menu, but we just couldn't manage another bite.
A few moments later our check arrived decorated with three pieces of candy. I think this is a very cute touch and it reminded me of the fun, surprise factor of trick or treating.
Have you been to Happy's? Did you dig the hodge podge vibe?