In a land where restaurant menus rotate via seasonal trends, it’s hard to imagine anything more natural. And then I heard Michael explain the rhyme behind his decision to open and solidify “all night happy hour” at his landmark restaurant and bar, Michael’s.
His reason, simply, is us.
“Us?” I asked, coolly sipping my glass of $6 wine.
“You see, I started to notice that when I put out that sign (he motioned to the tiny easel on the sidewalk in front of his restaurant entrance), people would come in. And you know what it said?”
“Happy Hour. That’s it! I call it the ‘duck and pick.’ They see the sign, they duck in, and then they stay a while and pick at small plates and h’ordeurves.”
“So you decided to start a whole new ‘all night’ Happy Hour menu, Monday through Friday, 5pm till closing based on…duckers and pickers?” I laughed.
Indeed, he did.
We should expect nothing less from a man whose restaurant empire is not only older than I am, but more alive than many that followed in his steps. Believing in the finest and freshest food, experience, and ambiance, Michael’s holds restaurant property in Santa Monica and Manhattan and maintains a food and drink menu that keeps pace with contemporary technique and the farm-fresh Jonses.
Perhaps this is what 2012 will be all about. Restaurants not only designing menus based on the latest public and gastronomical interest, but also mindfully curating towards the people to whom it matters the most – their neighbors.
Those who “walk by and stop in,” the friends and family they know by name – finally, an event created around (and for) our weeknight habits. If we ever wondered about the secret to bi-coastal longevity in a business where many turn over faster than a flapjack, I believe we found it right in our own backyards.
Details: All Night Happy Hour at Michael’s
When: Monday-Friday 5 p.m. to close
Food: Truffle-Thyme Frites, Burrata on Crostini, Crispi Sweetbread “Poppers” (to name a few)
Drink: Select beer, wine, and cocktails
Who: Anyone who works or lives around 4th and Wilshire in Santa Monica. Others willing to cab it in and stay a while (because, you will).
Michael’s Santa Monica
1147 Third Street