“A lot of thought and care went into engineering this happy hour,” chef/owner Chris Collins said as he leaned over the table, perusing the happy hour menu with me. I don’t always get to speak with the chef for these little happy hour outings, so I was pleased to hear about The Macintosh’s HH menu from the head honcho himself. “When we came up with this menu, we knew when we were rebranding it from Grassroots to Macintosh that it had to knock out of the park.”
After three years of running a second location of his North Scottsdale Grassroots Kitchen & Tap in the Town & Country shopping center, a year ago Collins morphed it into The Macintosh, a relaxed neighborhood joint with a welcoming horseshoe-shaped bar, lots of beautiful gleaming wood furniture and homey touches like stacks of books and Mason jars of flowers.
“What an opportunity, to say, ‘I’ve spent time here. I know my guests. I know what they want.’ And now I get to rebrand perfectly to that,” Collins said, his eyes alight, his arms moving energetically. I came in to the restaurant tired after a long day at work and besieged by car troubles, but he was so pumped it started rubbing off on me. Suddenly, I felt pumped. “Happy hour! Hell, yeah!”
Collins and his talented kitchen staff brainstormed and tested dishes for weeks, eventually coming up with a list of 40 dishes that they whittled down to 16 for the final happy hour menu. “The truth is, this is a huge reflection of what our guys in the kitchen make themselves for snacks and meals, because obviously if you eat the same burger every single day it gets a little boring.” The food that food people want to eat? I was ready to try it.
And try it I did. “I’ll have maybe three things to share with you and Marshall,” my PR friend who’d invited me to happy hour, I told Collins. He sent out eight things – at least I think he did. I’m not good at math, but the entire table was covered with food. Collins is just as exuberant in his generosity as he is discussing food.
- Roasted Beets + Boursin Cheese: Leagues better than your average beet and goat cheese salad. I especially loved the sweet crunch of candied pecans and the floral quality of the desert honey drizzle. ($7)
- Sea Smoke + Orzo Salad: With smoked salmon, corn, tomatoes and buttermilk pesto, it’s reminiscent of the legendary Cowboy Ciao/OMFG salad now available at New Wave Market, but with some tasty twists like pickled red onion and candied pecans. ($7)
- Grilled Steak Tacos: I’m not usually into flour tortillas for tacos, but when they’re homemade every day by Mama Lola’s and they’re flavorful and sturdy enough to ferry grilled steak, romaine, white cheddar, a sweet corn relish and “crack sauce” into my gob, I’m down. I’m bringing my steak-loving Texan beloved back for these. ($8)
- Shrimp Risotto: How this type and quality of food is available for happy hour is beyond me. This could be a main dish at another restaurant and cost (at least) $20. Here, it’s $10.
- Bag O’ Bones: This one wins for the best name and best experience. It’s a literal paper bag filled with pork ribs shellacked with sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, shoestring fries and more of that delicious crack sauce. “It’s meant to be a mess, and people dig it,” Collins said. I wanted to order another round just to say, “Barkeep, I’ll have a Bag O’ Bones, please.” ($10)
- Crispy Chicken Biscuit: Predictably, this was my favorite. What can I say? Fried chicken is my favorite food of all time, and my family is from the South, so biscuits are my jam. I knew Collins was my kind of people when he said, in a very serious tone, “Fried chicken is important.” (Side note: If you call yourself a fried chicken fan and have never had the chicken tenders at Collins’ eponymous restaurant, The Collins Small Batch Kitchen, cancel your lunch plans and go there now. Chicken tenders such as these are too magnificent to be Bogarted by children. Adult chicken tender lovers, rise up!)
Drinks are also a steal during happy hour. Draft beers are $4, a glass of Champs is $5, wines run $6-$7 and barrel-aged cocktails are each $8. I order a barrel-aged Negroni, which is mellow and perfectly balanced. Next time I’m coming back for the barrel-aged Mai Tai and more chicken biscuits.
Whiskey wonks: Collins prides himself on his half-price “Very Special Whiskey” list, which affords you pours of high-dollar hooch for much less money. I’m not a whiskey gal, but now I know where to send my whiskey-loving friends.
THE INSIDER SECRET
Weekly specials at The Macintosh:
- Monday: Happy hour runs all night. No surprise, it’s now one of the restaurant’s busiest nights.
- Tuesday: BBQ + Bourbon – for $22, you get a half-rack of baby back ribs, a rotisserie chicken breast, an andouille sausage link, mac and cheese, slaw, one of those delicious biscuits and a Four Roses bourbon chaser for $5
- Third Thursday: Enjoy food and bar pairings from local vendors and chefs at 5 p.m.
- Every day: Kids eat free from 2-6 p.m.
Happy hour runs daily from 2-6 p.m. and all night on Mondays.