EDITOR’S NOTE: The Dining Duo are a couple of foodies who enjoy eating out and sampling the local cuisine in the Mid-South. To ensure the reviews are unbiased and that the duo remain anonymous, their identities are masked behind their favorite comic book heroes.
Happy Daze Dairy Bar
110 Pleasant Hill Road
3 ½ out of 5 POWS
Some of the best places to eat are the mom and pop burger joints usually in out-of-the-way spots. I don’t know what it is about them. Maybe it’s the made-to-order food that you don’t get at chain fast food stops. Or, possibly it’s the charm of the places that attracts me. I’ve rarely left hungry, I know that.
For this week’s outing, the Dining Duo didn’t venture too far from the Bat Cave. Aquaman and I didn’t have a lot of time, so I suggested we drop by Happy Daze Dairy Bar in Nesbit for a burger and shake.
My Atlantean colleague told me that he and his friends have driven by the place a million times, but none of them have ever eaten there. I’ve eaten there a few times. My first time there though was the drive thru where I ordered a fried bologna sandwich and fries. I’ve since had time to explore the menu a little more and branched out.
At first glance, Happy Daze looks like a page out of the past. You can tell it has been there a while. It has that, well, 1950s dairy bar look to it, where you pull up and they take your order and you wait outside for it to arrive.
We opted to eat inside, which is brightly colored and decorated with pictures of Elvis, James Dean, and other fifties icons including the local boy, the “Killer” himself, Jerry Lee Lewis, who we are told still drops by now and then.
Happy Daze offers exactly the type of menu items that you would expect from an old fashioned dairy bar - burgers, fries, milkshakes, and other standbys like fried bologna sandwiches, BBQ, chicken tenders, grilled cheese, and BLTs. And if that doesn’t fill you up, they have 24 flavors of soft serve and about the same number of shake combos.
Aquaman beat me to it and ordered a large double cheeseburger ($7.89) with all the fixins - mustard, lettuce, onion, tomato, and pickles, and a large drink.
He enjoyed the burger, but was displeased that the bun fell apart so quickly which took some of the joy away from the burger.
“It’s a good burger,” Aquaman said. “It's got a good flavor. But I wish the bread had been toasted. It just fell apart.”
I decided to order the chicken fried steak plate with two sides. The chicken fried steak was a decent size. I’ve had bigger ones and thicker ones, but this fit the bill. I doubt it was home made though. I got mine with white gravy, which gave it a nice flavor. I was pleased that the gravy wasn’t too peppery. I do wish though, that they had smothered it some more.
The fries were okay, but it was the okra that really stole the show. It was fresh and crunchy. A lot of times when you order fried okra it is soggy. So they get extra POW points from me.
Although we were both well satisfied with our food, we agonized about whether to try an ice cream cone or a shake. Aquaman broke down and decided to try a pistachio milkshake.
“It tasted like pistachios,” Aquaman said. “It’s really thick and hard to drink. But it has a good flavor.”
I was a bit on the boring side I will confess. I opted for a plain chocolate soft serve cone. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they put a ton of ice cream in it. Honestly, it was huge. And the ice cream was firm and not melty.
Overall, we give Happy Daze 3 ½ POWs. It’s better than fast food and it hits the spot. And you can’t help but like the mom and pop look of the place that is straight out of a time warp. If you are in the area, it is well worth taking the Nesbit exit to give Happy Daze a try.