Folks, get ready, you are in for a real treat! This is the place where genuine kindness to customers and a passion for quality and gastronomic perfection come together to truly make something special.
In fact, the only negative thing I can say about Happy's is that it takes me 65 minutes to drive there from Salem! Seriously, whenever I come within 30 minutes from the Shack, I will make a detour. Happy (whose real name is Derrick Pruitt) will pack up our dinner in separate containers with specific instructions how to reheat and serve (no microwaves!) so that we can savor the full experience at home in Salem. Yesterday I was speaking in Eugene, but my kids made me promise I'd bring Happy's home, so I drove 25 minutes out of my way and it was worth every minute.
Our favorite items on the varied menu are the Tom Pruitt Sweet Potato Waffle (with pecans, bacon and orange cream, named in honor of Happy's daddy), the Alabama Mac and Cheese with hot links (truly the best ever - the links are southern spicy so watch out), and our ultimate favorite, Happy's Chappy sandwich, (turkey, yams, cranberry sauce, slaw smothered on a fantastic homemade bun. Oh my gosh, you'll have died and gone to heaven. Finish it all off with some Cake and Cream and a cup of coffee, and you'll be ready to move to Springfield!
Understand that this isn't one of those healthy eatin' Eugene tofu restaurants - no, this is rich, flavorful, soul food - Alabama style. (Although they thoughtfully have tofu and black bean dishes for the vegetarian folks). Everything Happy and Marcella make is homemade, hand cut, hand selected, from old family recipes, so if you're in a hurry, it's best to order ahead. I waited about 30 minutes at the drive up window for my take out to be lovingly prepared and quickly cooked in Happy's state of the art European ovens. While you're waiting, he or Marcella will usually pass out some treats to try - a piece of turkey leg, a bite of ribs, some pulled pork, whatever they have handy. While you're waiting, ask for a copy of the Lane Community College Small Business Development Center magazine - featuring Happy on the cover. The story of how he and Marcella overcame their personal challenges to make their venture a success is compelling and makes you appreciate the quality, love and passion that goes into everything these two create.
And don't forget to try a cup of coffee while you're there. I'm a coffee lover, and Happy's java is about as fine a coffee as I've ever tasted. It's like a fine wine - you sip and savor every drop. I've truly never had coffee as smooth and flavorful as what Happy roasts and serves.
Happy's passion for quality and customer service shines in everything they serve. I promise, it's worth a trip to find the shack in Springfield - order some to eat there (if the weather's good - there are a few new picnic tables to sit at - it's a drive up and order place - with no inside seating), but be sure to order some to take home too. It's truly beyond delicious!
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