#DateNight Food & Fashion: The Happ Inn

There are very few restaurants in our area that can appeal to multiple generations. On the North Shore of Chicago, one restaurant that has mastered the delicate balance of sophistication and a family appeal is The Happ Inn Bar & Grill in Northfield.

My husband and I recently dined at The Happ Inn for a much-needed date night. I adore getting all dressed up and exploring local establishments where friends and family can relax, relate and enjoy a meal.

We often eat early in order to let our sitters take care of dinner, bath and bed time. The only issue with this is that we are usually surrounded by families with kids- not our ideal idea of a secluded, quiet date night. Although Happ Inn had literally four generations of diners surrounding us, the atmosphere was cheerful, busy and buzzy instead of filled with running children and far-flung spaghetti. This is a place which serves many purposes and can satisfy every age, taste and mood.

In terms of cocktails, I am always on the hunt for unique creations that I can attempt to re-create (poorly) at home. I am a sucker for fresh, seasonal ingredients, so the Blueberry Mojito was an obvious choice. I need to head back for the French Pear Martini and the Pepino Fresco!

The menu is massive, with influences of both traditional American (General Happ’s Famous Fried Chicken) and Latin (Tilapia Tacos).

We started out with the Ceviche, which is impressive with Gulf Shrimp, ripe avocado and a savory tomato sauce. My husband ordered the Tossed Chicken Cobb Salad- I am not one to rave about a salad, but this was the freshest presentation we have had at a restaurant.

Since my husband is trying to cut down on carbs, our waitress was more than happy to serve the prime Sunrise Burger on a bed of lettuce with french fries swapped out for grilled vegetables. They also have over a dozen gluten free options.

Of course, I could not resist Carlos’ Skirt Steak Frites, served with Parmesan Truffle Fries (my weakness). Although they were more than excellent, the true standout of my meal was the red wine compound butter served atop of my steak- it added depth and a subtle flavor to the seasoned cut.

I generally pass on dessert, but since they have an in-house pastry chef I knew that I had room for a little more. When I was a server at Olive Garden in college (I was fairly horrible), we had these apple crostadas that were pre-frozen. You had to unwrap the plastic, pop them in the microwave, and serve them alongside gloopy ice cream. This couldn’t be more different than the “Happ-le Crostada” masterpiece that I was served- buttery, flaky caramelized crust served stuffed with wood oven roasted apple cinnamon filling and served alongside a scoop of Homer’s Vanilla. Heaven. Even part grabbed a spoon, which is unheard of.

A lot of people ask if restaurants know that I am reviewing them. The majority of the time- yes. I always eavesdrop on other tables, though (in an inconspicuous, non-creepy way of course) to see how the waitstaff treats other patrons. This time around, I saw a waiter crouch down to read the menu to an elderly woman because the mood lightly was too moody.

Another waiter dealt with a table of children ranging from toddlers to teens like a pro- entertaining the littles, giving the teens space, and making sure the parents had the bill quickly. I adore when a restaurant’s staff pays attention to the needs of their customers, and The Happ Inn has fine-tuned this skill.

 Now for the fashion!

I scooped this floral and lace insert midi skirt from Fox’s Designer Off Price, which is my secret weapon for on-trend clothing. To add a little date night vibe, I paired it with an off the shoulder ruffle body suit from Akira. The shoes? Another style steal- Nine West Outlet at Pleasant Prairie. These were under $20.

The bag is a vintage Barbie-style that I picked up from my friend Susan’s stash, and the sunnies are T&J Designs, an on-trend online boutique owned by a pair of Chicago sisters/bloggers.

The cuff is my go-to from my friend Shibani’s boutique Bombay Taxi- I wear it with absolutely everything and have a matching one to double up.

Shop my look here!

I hope you get a chance to get “Happ-y” at the Happ Inn! Visit them at 305 Happ Rd. in Northfield.

Disclosure: I was treated to a meal at Happ Inn for review purposes, all opinions are honest and my own as always.