I am sure some people will ask the same question that is always asked when a new brewery opens. “Do we really need any more breweries?” Well I don’t see how that is possible. Can you have too much happiness or too many smiles? I don’t think so.
Happy Brewing opened in one of the defunct Double 8 grocery stores. It opened about 2-3 months ago with typical brewery hours. No lunch just evenings and noon opening on weekends. My first trip there was on a Sunday to sample some beer. I really enjoyed the beers I tried. They have a nice ale and a great cream ale but the show stopper was their Happy Hopper. Be advised though it has a ABV approaching 11 so it is best consumed in small quantities. Their cream ale is less than 5 ABV so it is more like a session beer. A brew you can drink while mowing your lawn. I think the owner Gabe has plans on canning it in the future. As of the past week they took the bold step to open for lunch.
Their menu is small and concise and it is all done in a kitchen without an exhaust hood. For those who don’t know all commercial kitchens require an exhaust hood when the cooking process produces fumes or smoke. Further more you will also need a fire suppression system. All of this runs into a bunch of dollars. Dollars they did not want to spend at this time. So now they have an impinger conveyer belt oven, a Panini press and a soup warmer. I think they pulled it off well.
On my first trip there I had their Italian sausage. It was a solid sandwich. The sausage had a slight spiciness to it but what carried the dish was the red sauce. It was very good. I ordered it with chips and pickle but in the future I will probably just opt for the sandwich alone. Beer carbs are superior to chip carbs.
On my return trip I ordered a pizza. They buy all the pizza product from Delco a Hoosier firm founded in 1957 that sells all things Italian related. That includes the raw dough they use for the pizza and the Calzone.
I thought it was a nice pie. The crust had a slight chew and again that marinara sauce has great flavor and richness.
I have only tried 2 items on their menu but I plan on trying more. This joint is very close to home so I can see myself there weekly. I had a very good conversation with Gabe on my first lunch trip. He has some great plans for his place. Patio seating and even a rooftop beer garden and in time he would like to have a “proper” kitchen. I am always excited for new places to eat. Especially one so close.
People toss around the phrase “hidden jewel” probably too often. This little place may well be just that. The make all of their own crust and bread as well as cheesecakes and gelato. This time around we didn’t have room for desert but there is always another time.
We noticed this place some time back when we went to “Some Guys Pizza”; which is about one block away.Its proximatey to “Some Guys” may be the reason it isn’t that well know. It has been around since 1999 and Pat and I have never heard of it. It isn’t a “sexy” joint with a wood or coal-fired oven. It doesn’t offer duck confit or organic kale toppings. It is just a little Pizza joint that offers a good pie at a good price.
Naturally when you go to a Pizza place you need to overload on carbs so we ordered some garlic bread for $5.00. It comes with your choice of 2 sauces. We opted for red sauce and garlic & butter.
The bread had a good flavor and a nice chew to it. The red sauce was very good with a touch of sweet. The fingers don’t come with it.
Pat’s critique of the crust was correct. I don’t think olive oil before hand would have necessarily fixed the issue. However a brushing with some would have given it a sheen and an extra luscious mouth feel. My personal pie was the same way. I,however like the slight char. As long as the crust stays soft. This crust was soft and stayed soft sitting in Pat’s car and on my kitchen counter for about 5 hours,in a go box.
My pie was a two topping one. Black olives and anchovy. I really like that combo. Both pies were under 8 bucks. A single $7.20 and a double for $7.90. The crusts we got are called their original thin crust. They also have a really thin crust if that is your taste; as well as a deep dish.
I am with Pat about the calzone. I am going to get one, maybe to go. That way I can try some cheese cake and gelato.
Pat has mentioned this place a few times as he sees it quite often while shopping. He and Fran went one evening and thought it was worth a visit for lunch. I trust Pat’s taste and judgement as he can be pretty finicky. However on this I was a bit apprehensive. There are 2 food sites here. Urbanspoon and Yelp. On Yelp people were complimentary of the food not too complimentary on the service. On Urbanspoon only 3 people visited the joint, one liked it and only one wrote a review of it. He didn’t even eat there. He though the place too dirty. Well as soon as I walked in I wondered what joint he was writing about.
The place is huge. They have 3 pool tables and a section for bands. They offer live music on weekends; so I can see prompt service possibly being a problem when they are rockin’. As far as the “dirty” problem I saw a joint that looked pretty clean.
We were the first customers of the day so we had the joint to ourselves for a while. The bartender was quite able. Efficient and friendly. Between serving us, other customers and doing a few bartender jobs I don’t think he stopped for a minute.
When Pat was there last week he and Fran shared an appetizer; Sausage Pie. It’s Italian sausage, salami cubes and cheese with a bread crust, top and bottom. Like a deep dish pizza with a top. The resultant pieces are approximately three inches square and 2 inches thick. They come with sauce on the side and you can get 4 pieces for $4.95 or 8 for $8.95. Pat insisted on the larger order. He intended to “pig out on the pie and get a side salad for his entrée.
Yeah; we started eating before we took the shot. Just visualize 4 more pieces in the empty spaces.
They call this a side salad. $2.95. It’s sort a’ big. I got one just like it with my entrée. But; before I go there let us review the Sausage Pie. It was very good. Lovely taste and texture. A nice fennel flavor from the Italian sausage, melding nicely with the cheese,and a hunk of salami, every now and then. As I understand ,it is someone’s Grandma’s recipe. Very good job.
On the menu featured on their website the offer house made lasagna. And they offer it as a half, for $6.95 or a whole for $12.95. Well I wanted a half portion; but they don’t do that any more. So I ordered a full size. I only ate 2 pieces of my pie, half my salad and I was staring at a rather large piece of pasta, meat, cheese and red sauce. With some help from Pat I was only able to eat maybe one-third of the portion. But what I ate was quite good. The ricotta had a nice herb seasoning that fit the sausage and sauce quite well. This dish was superior to several that I have had at authentic Italian restaurants. My only question when I saw the dish was why so much marinara? It was pretty tasty, but most joints like to show off the browned cheese top. Well, when I got home with the left overs I learned why.
After I got home my better half ate the left overs. And she discovered that approximately half of the lasagna was burned on the top. The half farthest away from me. It wasn’t burned so badly as to render it inedible; but it was pretty dark. In either event it should not have been served. I have theories as to how it could have happened; but they are all moot. The kitchen guy screwed up. Our’s was his first ticket. It wasn’t like he was being slammed and in the weeds. It was his first ticket. Don’t get me wrong I don’t think this makes him a rotten cook or this a rotten joint. He just screwed up. His sausage pie was very good as was the first half of the lasagna. He just should not have sold that ticket. But will that stop me from going back. NO. They offer prime rib on Friday and Saturday nights. And they have ribeye on the menu. And I have a thing for steak and beer.
I can honestly say that mama’s Café is a delightful place. They cook up their own corned beef every night,and use it for corned beef sandwiches and Reuben sandwiches. They also make the greatest corned beef hash around. The place is sunny and as cute as a basket full of kittens. The staff is warm and friendly and the food is outstanding. We started off with a fried biscuit Appetizer, fried biscuits tossed in cinnamon sugar and served with apple butter. We continued with potato cakes, bacon, some of that aforementioned corned beef hash and one of the best Italian sausage sandwiches I’ve ever eaten! The sausage was rich in fennel and slightly spicy. It was smothered in a good marinara sauce and topped with sautéed peppers and onions. I think the best thing about the sandwich was the onions were nicely crisp and yet the peppers were slightly sautéed, so you could really taste the freshness of the pepper.I believe the operators name is Holly, but I’m not positive. I do know she makes a cherry pie that’s better than anything mom ever made. She even uses lard to make the crust, and everyone knows you can’t have good pastry without lard. I got some nice pictures of the place with my new Nikon, however I can’t locate a USB cable to download them to my computer. So for the foreseeable future all of my blogs will be picture less, but that is only a temporary setback.Should anyone from mama’s read this blog I want to thank you again for a delightful lunch and apologize for not getting all your names. That will be rectified in the future.. As a footnote I’ve been using a Dragon to write all my blogs so the writing may not flow as it did before, but Dragon is able to learn, and so am I; I think.Oh another post script, they have fried spam on the menu, what more can you say.Surprise surprise the picture problem has been taken care of;obviouely.