Ever walk into a place and feel welcomed like you’ve been going there forever? That was my experience when I stopped by the Foundry on Melrose for the first night of its Patio Season Happy Hour. From gregarious Executive Chef Eric Greenspan to my bartender Dan, everyone at the Foundry greeted and took care of their guests like old friends. With the front patio doors wide open and live music drifting out onto Melrose, the Foundry’s summertime specials are sure to attract newcomers and regulars alike.

Patio Season Mai Tai

Patio Season Mai Tai

For the Patio Season Happy Hour, the Foundry pairs themed cocktails with lounge menu appetizers, plus a selection of specialty cocktails. Best of all, with your first cocktail order (half price from 6-9pm), you get a FREE cocktail flight of three samples of that night’s themed cocktails. Each night will be a different theme and spirit (bourbon, whiskey, or absinthe), and the lounge menu pairings will change as well. There’s also live music in the lounge; it’s jazz most nights, but last night was Bluesy Tuesday, featuring the marvelous Barry “Big B” Brenner. How Delta heavy were Barry’s blues? As Chef Eric put it, Barry’s beard has got blues songs in it.

To kick things off, I ordered the Patio Season Mai Tai from the Specialty Cocktails list. Made with Gosling’s Rum, Amaretto, and tropical juices, the refreshing cocktail was a great way to begin a relaxing evening. The Mai Tai even came with a paper umbrella, much to Greenspan’s teasing delight and Dan’s bemusement.

flight

The flight, L to R: the Ramblin' Rose, the Debutante, and the Tennessee Peach.

For the flight, Dan put together three 2 oz. pours of the Bluesy Cocktails: the Ramblin’ Rose (Woodchuck Amber Cider, gin, bitters, watermelon), the Tennessee Peach (Jack Daniels, peach nectar, ginger), and the Debutante (Chambord, champagne, raspberries, lemonade). Since I was his first Patio Season customer, Dan gave me an extra sample, the Bourbon St. Trollop (Southern Comfort, Chambord, ginger, citrus). They all have their strengths, but if I had to pick just one, I’d go with the Ramblin’ Rose; it’s the cocktail that will evoke many a memory of BBQs back home.

Bluesy Food: fried chicken & waffles.

Bluesy Food: fried chicken & waffles.

This being Bluesy Tuesday, the lounge menu featured Greenspan’s outstanding comfort food with his modern American twist: I had the buttermilk fried chicken with goat cheese waffles, and fried green tomatoes with cornmeal crust. Chef also plated up the chorizo chili; it’s an off-menu item, but do ask for it, it’s amazing. Other Bluesy Food items included a pork belly sandwich, grits, greens, and cornbread pudding. The cocktail flight threesome and three food items made for lots of possible food/drink combinations. Should I try the Trollop with the chili? Or maybe the Debutante with the fried chicken? Discovering what goes with what made for a fun, leisurely experience that solo diners and groups alike will enjoy.

The Billy Parks

The Billy Parks

I revisited the Specialty Cocktails menu and ordered a Billy Parks: Hendrick’s Gin, fresh cucumber, chili, and Lillet Blanc. It’s an excellent cocktail: the Hendrick’s unique flavor profile (it’s made from cucumbers, rose petals and juniper) is enhanced by the cucumber juice, the citrus of the Lillet Blanc, and a hint of spicy finish. Quite different from the Mai Tai, but just as ready-made for the summertime.

At this point, my barmate (a member of the Foundry team, hanging out) insisted I try a bite of the Patio Season Burger, a fantastic creation done with cheddar, Hawaiian bread, and summer condiments. Friends, if (like me) you are on a perpetual Great Burger Hunt, this is a must-try. My White Castle-sized sample only hinted at its greatness, and don’t even get me started on how tasty the onion rings looked.

With Barry’s first set over, I took that as my cue and reluctantly headed out. As I said earlier, everyone at the Foundry made me feel like I’ve been going there from Day One; without a doubt, consider me a Patio Season regular.

Patio Season Happy Hour
6-9pm
Tuesday-Friday
The Foundry on Melrose
7465 Melrose Ave.
(323) 651-0915
www.thefoundryonmelrose.com

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Wavemaker rope bracelets that Dan was giving out. Made for Oceana by Nautica, the bracelets celebrate World Oceans Day, which takes place on June 8. For more info, please visit the Oceana website.

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