While pondering what he should serve for happy hour at Sandy Witch inside Grand Prize Bar, owner Anthony Calleo kept three things in mind: First, he looked at about 40 different happy hour menus around Houston to figure out what type of food most people serve during happy hour. Then he looked at what he already had in the kitchen to ensure he wouldn't have to buy much else to execute the menu. Finally, he considered how he would make the desired dishes.
"You know, like if I'd put rice on the nachos," Calleo says gesturing toward the nearly overflowing plate of nachos between us. "Whenever I order enchiladas, I always get cheese enchiladas. And my favorite part of enchilada plates is mixing all the cheese that's left over with all the rice that's left over. So you get cheesy rice. And that's what I wanted for the nachos."
Nachos topped with cilantro-lime rice, spicy queso, black beans, onions, avocado and cilantro are just one of the options on the new five-item happy hour menu at Sandy Witch. Every week day from 5 to 8 p.m., all five dishes are just $5. And boy are they a filling five bucks.
In addition to nachos, Calleo is offering fried mac and cheese balls, quesadillas, pulled pork tacos and a fried egg and bacon breakfast sandwich. The dishes are designed to pair with Grand Prize's happy hour menu, which offers $2 PBRs, $3 well drinks, $4 Bombshell Blonde draft, Bulleit bourbon or rye and Jaeger and $5 frozen cocktails, which vary daily.
Each dish could probably serve two people or make a hearty meal for one, save for the mac and cheese balls drizzled with beer cheese, which, while tasty, aren't quite...ahem...big enough to satisfy for dinner.
The quesadillas, which Calleo, ever with the creative names, is calling Grizzlydias, are filled with pulled chicken and melted cheese then topped with Pi Pizza Truck's famous Grizzly Sauce, a spicy barbecue sauce. The fried egg sandwich, called Fowl Swine on the menu, is like a breakfast sandwich that's been elevated with thick bacon, a perfectly fried egg and gooey beer cheese on a buttery shallot bun. Calleo says he wanted to call it "Breakfast and a Beer" in a nod to the beer cheese, but his employees vetoed that name out of concern people would expect to get an actual beer with the sandwich.
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Of course, there's plenty of beer at Grand Prize, and the dish beer pairs best with is probably the pulled pork tacos. Each order comes with two tacos containing so much juicy pulled pork that they have doubled corn tortillas to contain the heft. The meat is slow roasted for 15 hours then topped with a simple mix of diced onions and cilantro.
When I mentioned to Calleo that the tacos were really good, but that I wanted some hot sauce of some sort with them, he slunk off to the back. For a moment, I thought I'd offended him, but he returned, triumphant, with Bravado Spice's Pinapple Habañero sauce in his hand. I drizzled a little on the taco and took a bite.
"Now," I said nodding my head in approval. "Now the menu's perfect."
Check out the new menu every weekday between 5 and 8 p.m. The regular menu, featuring one of my favorite dishes, the Marie Laveau pulled pork sandwich, is also available, as are any number of delicious beer and cocktails.