Friday happy hour. It's that thing you start thinking about Wednesday afternoon as your work week gets tougher and the end is in sight. But instead of picking from a short list of finger foods typical for the average happy hour, Billy Tee's in Cromwell offers everything on its food menu at half-price. And you don't have to wait until Friday. Happy hour is every Tuesday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m.
The vibe: Just off Route 372 in Cromwell, Billy Tee's is a word-of-mouth kind of joint. At first, driving up Sebethe Drive, we were a little hesitant because we were passing mostly industrial buildings and storage spaces. But word must have gotten out, because at 3:30 a ton of cars filled the lot.
Inside is a relaxed, sports-bar vibe. A large room houses a square bar, high tops rest against a back wall and a cluster of larger tables fill the rest of the space. We were greeted as soon as we walked in the door: "Welcome ladies, sit anywhere you'd like." Our waiter was cheery and attentive.
The food: It took us a while to choose from the extensive menu . The happy-hour drink specials include only $2.50 Bud, Coors and Bud Light drafts, and there was a Sam Adams seasonal for $3, so that decision was much easier.
But food is the happy-hour bargain here. The "Front Nine" appetizer, includes wings, buffalo mac and cheese bites and a shrimp martini. We went with the bruschetta. Topped with kalamata olives, slow-roasted tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, garlic, olive oil and a balsamic reduction, the flavors strayed from the typical in a good way. The roasted tomatoes tasted like a fresh sauce in solid form; the olives were a welcomed spin. The bread was softer than your average bruschetta.
I ordered the Birdie Burger, grilled chicken breast with bacon, avocado, American cheese and lettuce on a brioche bun. The chicken was juicy and the bacon was full of flavor. There was a generous serving of avocado and the bun was nicely grilled and buttered.
My friend ordered a brick-oven pizza, a staple of the restaurant. These aren't your average pizzas, and the names prove it. From the Umpa to The Skudge, the 20 pizza options are named after friends of the owner. My friend ordered the Jimmy: mozzarella, fresh mozzarella, shrimp, pancetta, arugula, fresh garlic and olive oil. It was a thin pizza with a crispy crust and a good balance of the garlic and oil, leaving it feeling light. The shrimp was easy to bite through and had the right texture which can be hard to do when cooking into a pizza.
The bill: With two beers, a cocktail, an appetizer and two meals, the bill came to $34. My full-priced cocktail was $8, the seasonal Sam Adams draft was $3; a regular beer is $5. The bruscetta came to $3, the sandwich was $5 and the pizza was $7.
The Details: 150 Sebethe Dr., Cromwell, 860-632-1333, billyteescromwell.com