Cheap Eats: Cafe Roze — Salt & Spirit Happy Hour — $10

Happy hour is one of man’s great inventions, so it’s not surprising that many men lay claim to it. Shakespeare issued an early use of the phrase — perhaps the first — in Henry V, though it had nothing to do with dollar beers or discount wings. The term as we know it likely comes from the Navy. In 1913, a group of homemakers called the Happy Hour Social Club organized ship socials full of dancing, boxing, music and movies. Still, booze wasn’t part of the equation — until Prohibition. When the government banned alcohol in restaurants, people started meeting at speakeasies for drinks in the “happy hour” before dinner, proving yet again how well legislating morality works.

Whatever its origin, the happy hour is a good thing, especially at Cafe Roze, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays. Start with their $5 “Adult Lunchable” — Marcona almonds, salami, Parmesan, orange, rosemary — or a half-dozen oysters ($9). Last week they had delicate, briny Sea Hogs, accented perfectly by Roze’s piquant bloody mary sauce. Graduate to the $5 crudités, a platter of crisp veggies like watermelon radish and blanched broccoli — which you will actually eat, because it is the perfect magnet for the addictive miso ranch. Need dinner? Order the $3 fries and $6 smashburger. The patties are brushed with Dijon mustard, creating a crunchy crust that stands up to the melted cheddar, tart pickles and rich special sauce. It’s also the perfect size: somewhere between a Big Ass Burger™ and a slider. Wash it down with $5 bubbles, an $8 martini or, my personal favorite, Cafe Roze’s walnut-infused Cocchi Vermouth di Torino. Mix and match for guaranteed happiness, all $10 or less.

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