Happy’s Bar and Kitchen, Fenway, Boston

In the past decade, The Fenway’s continued gentrification has brought substantial dining options for baseball fans and Fenway residents. Happy’s neighbors include our Fenway favorites El Pelon Taqueria and Sweet Cheeks BBQ. Let’s not forget Basho and Tasty Burger.

Michael Schlow’s RadiusTicoVia Matta welcomes their fun-loving, funky sibling, Happy’s Bar and Kitchen.

Happy’s vibe is unique and light-hearted with the nostalgic decor, fun chair fabric and framed childhood icons.

Happy’s  has a lovely gray molding, detailed ceilings and glam chandeliers. Already, two weeks post opening, the bar area was packed for a weekday evening. Immediately, we noticed the kitsch and pop culture references. It is reported that the graffiti murals was overseen by street chic and footwear retailer Bodega.

The menu features a mish-mash of dishes which include Schlow priced American classics and comfort food. The ramen noodles maybe on the menu due to the strong demand for coveted Guchi Ramen tickets.

There is a daily Blue Plate Special including a turkey meatloaf with green bean casserole and a one pound meatball with spaghetti and garlic bread. We know we will be back on a Monday to try the All-You-Can-Eat Fried Chicken.

Currently, there isn’t a printed cocktail menu, so we got suggestions from our friendly server who referenced his notes for accuracy. We kicked off with a Sam Summer with a twist of orange and a not to sweet and refreshing Shifty, a whiskey and lime based cocktail ($13).

The friendly staff brought out a large slice of crusty, but tender bread, olive oil and ramekins of salt and pepper. This bread was perfect to sop up sauces and sauce.

The soft shell crab appetizer was nicely breaded and perfectly fried, accompanied by a  zesty sauce. The corn succotash with bacon and lime had a nice texture and little kick of heat. Definitely a tasty starter for $12.99. This dish reminded me of the soft shell crab at Irene’s Cusine in NOLA.

My friend enjoyed a Fall River-style Portuguese Fisherman’s stew ($21.99). She told me Fall River style meant, nice and spicy and it indeed had a nice kick, Emeril style. My friend even suggested suggested to personally try Turner’s Seafood Grill & Market in Melrose for more seafood and taste their rendition of Fisherman’s stew.

The crust on the fish was unreal and the clams were nicely cooked. The bread was good to sop up the stew, however a few crisp, buttered crostini would have been even better.

On my visit to Radius and my sister’s visit to Radius we could not help but try “The Burger” with Vermont cheddar, crispy onions, horseradish sauce for $19. The Wowburger! ($13.99) on Happy’s menu, really wowed us.

The delectable burger was sizable, juicy, full of crispy onion and horseradish black pepper flavor. The fries were nicely seasoned and a bit thicker than I remember at Radius, but equally  tasty. We would definitely suggest folks order this.

Our server described the desserts since they were not added to the menu yet. There is strawberry shortcake, blueberry cheesecake and two items from Via Matta’s dessert menu, Mascarporeos ($9) and Nutella Tart. They all sounded tantalizing. We went for Via Matta‘s Pastry chef’s Marscaporeos since we love all  oreos including Blood Orange Oreos and Birthday Oreo cheesecake brownies.

The Mascarporeo filling was airy, lightly sweet and the cookies had an intense chocolatey flavor. Must try.

We loved that the bill came with Mary Janes, our mother’s favorite chewy peanut candy. The bill came to $80 for two people, which  is a bit steep for spins on American classics and updated diner food. The ambiance is definitely cool. We would definitely come back to try the breakfast  and for the in-house made desserts and cocktails. However, for comparative purposes,  there are a lot of items on Happy which have great substitutes at half the price.

The one restaurant in the neighborhood we have yet to try is the tavern-like Citizen’s Public House and Oyster Bar. We have heard such positive feedback about Citizen’s. They have over 150 whiskeys, great cocktails 9ginger beer based ones) and moderate priced dishes. we would love to sample Citizen’s fried pickles, mussels or even a family style whole roast pig.

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