Taste Bud: The happiest of hours


Usually the term “happy hour” refers to a time of day when drinks are cheaper. Sometimes that means cheap pitchers of beer or nicely priced well drinks.

Atypical Man Barbecue’s happy hour has your $2 domestic bottles and $2.50 craft bottles, but this St. Matthews (119 St. Matthews Ave., atypicalbbq.com) barbecue joint makes it all that much happier by adding meat to the happy hour list. That’s right, folks, get your happy hour meat right here. (I only put that sentence in to see if my editor would let it go to print.)

One of the staples of this Atypical happy hour is the slider. You can choose from pulled pork, pulled chicken or brisket, and they are just a dollar apiece. So, theoretically, you stop in between 4 and 6 p.m. on any weekday for happy hour, and you can get three sliders and a beer for only $5.

And these are good sliders. The pork comes with a pickle and a dollop of Atypical owner Chris Banaszynski’s Carolina Gold sauce. The chicken is topped with a jalapeno pepper and Kansas City-style barbecue sauce, while the brisket comes topped with pickled onions and the intriguing coffee-based barbecue sauce. That stuff really could double as a steak sauce. Did I mention they are only a dollar apiece?

But wait: There’s more.

Another tasty treat I tried during my happy hour stop was a mac-and-chorizo eggroll, which was also just a buck. Packed with macaroni and cheese and spicy Mexican sausage, they were good on their own or dipped in your favorite sauce (personally, I loved them with the Kansas City sauce). They kind of remind me of spicier versions of the sausage balls my parents make at Christmastime. I bet your parents make them, too.

And then there’s the beer cheese. That’s $4 and technically isn’t a happy hour special, but I had some anyway, and I’m glad I did. Why? Because this is some very Atypical beer cheese. Made with West Sixth Brewing’s Amber Ale and cheddar, it also includes one other surprise ingredient: bacon.

Take a deep breath. There’s plenty for everyone. But seriously, this stuff is spicy, bold and big. You get probably five or so ounces of the stuff and plenty of whole-grain chips for dipping, but you could really dip anything in this stuff and not go wrong.

But the pièce de résistance for me was the wings. I had been to Atypical Man Barbecue before, but Banaszynski was out of wings at the time. These guys are smoked until they are so tender that they jump off the bone at you. And they are tossed in a habanero-butter concoction Banaszynski obviously created just for my taste buds.

I love the flavor of habanero peppers (I eat ’em straight), but often the heat can be overpowering. Somehow, Banaszynski got the flavor to come through without overloading your palate with fire. I only ordered two to start with. Then I ordered five more. I wanted to order another dozen, but my stomach didn’t have room.

Last year, I wrote about some roasted wings I’d encountered in Nashville, and issued a challenge to find something as good here in Louisville. I’m not sure the Atypical wings quite get there, but I will say this: At the moment, these are my favorite wings in town. Atypical, indeed. Heck, I almost didn’t even write about them, because when word gets out, he’ll just run out of wings on me again, and then I’ll have to punch something.

But let’s recap: All in all, it was three sliders ($3), beer cheese and chips ($4), two mac-and-chorizo rolls ($2) and seven wings ($3.50). That’s $12.50 (not including two Flat 12 beers), and that fed me and my companion Cynthia. And I still have some of the beer cheese and chips leftover in the fridge.

Yes, that was one happy hour indeed. And we were only there for about 45 minutes.