Each week we venture to a new restaurant to check out what the spot has to offer during our favorite time of day — happy hour. Whether it's affordable appetizers, delicious drinks, jaw-dropping deals, or none of the above, we'll check out the situation and report back.
The Spot: Handcut Burgers + Chophouse
The Hours: Happy hour is Monday through Friday, from 3 to 6 p.m., throughout the restaurant
Perfect For: A fun, funky spot to grab a bite when you’re on a shopping spree at neighboring Fashion Square or nearby Old Town Scottsdale
The Interior: Handcut picks up where former Fox Restaurant Concepts eatery (and Fashion Square tenant) Modern Steak left off. Wild colors clash nicely with crazy patterns and funky lighting fixtures (e.g. caged chandeliers, Edison lightbulb trees, and even a wall of old-timey street lamps) illuminate the spacious spot. The cattle theme is heavy-handed – we're not sure all women will appreciate being identified as a “cow” (as opposed to a bull) when choosing their restroom, but the steer heads that speckle the landscape certainly drive home the point that these guys love their beef.
The Food: Handcut has an “ethos” and a “culture” (who doesn’t?) that involves grass-fed beef from locally sourced cattle. Given the hip, edgy look of Handcut’s aesthetic, it was surprising and refreshing to learn about their commitment to sustainable, local, quality beef as well. That said, our burger was rubbery.
Our burger was part of happy hour’s $10 “burger ‘n’ beer” special, which means it came with a Coors Light (you do not have the option to choose your brew), and despite the texture, the flavor was great, and we’re willing to forgive its shortcomings as long as they keep those salt and vinegar fries coming (normally $6, a basket is only $3 during happy hour).
Everything on the appetizer menu is half off during happy hour, making the $10 wings or $12 smoked salmon (only $5 and $6 on happy hour, respectively) quite reasonable.
The Drinks: It’s unfortunate that you can’t choose your own beer for the burger ‘n’ beer special, as Handcut offers plenty of options better than Coors Light. (Brooklyn and Avery Brewing companies are represented, plus locals like San Tan and Dragoo.) You don’t fare much better in the wine department – the only grapes on special during happy hour are Cava rosé ($5) or Drumhell wines ($5). If you don’t appreciate the gentle nudge toward Coors or Drumhell, try a signature cocktail. They are only $8 during happy hour (normally $12) and our Peach Ambrosia was surprisingly great.
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Conclusion: Handcut is so close to being awesome. Our burger was tasty, but not cooked properly. The salt and vinegar fries were amazing, but the house ranch they came with was not. Our cocktail was well-made, and given that the spot only opened in fall 2016, we’re willing to take a wait-and-see approach. But if HBC doesn’t step up their game, other good spots in the area (or the undoubtedly high rent) will surely send them to an early grave.
Don’t Miss: Those salt and vinegar fries.
Skip This: The burger special. It’s only a few bucks more for the burger and beer you actually want, and better happy hour deals can be found on the appetizer menu.