The Spot: North 4925 North 40th Street 602-324-5600 www.foxrc.com/restaurants/north-italian-farmhouse/
The Hours: Happy Hour is offered Monday through Friday from 3 until 6 p.m.
The Interior: Now we've been pretty harsh to certain Sam Fox happy hours in the past, but that certainly doesn't condemn his other spots. That's why we came into North, a quaint Italian country-style restaurant, with an open mind. The open-air bar, porch-style patio, and spacious interior are all welcoming enough and you have your pick of any seating during happy hour.
The Food: Unlike The Yard's happy hour, North impressed us with generous portions and uncomplicated and unpretentious fare. $8 pizzas, $5 bruschetta and $10 chef boards are all up for grabs, along with $3 zucca chips. You can also get a $20 board and bottle with your choice of pizza, bruschetta or board with a bottle of red or white wine. Being the cheap eaters we are, we opted for the daily chef's board with a bottle of red wine. The chef's board what a mountainous helping of meats, cheeses, olives, nuts, schmears and bread, which was a pleasant, belly-pleasing surprise.
Next we opted for the pizza del giorno, which was a sweet and creamy combo of fig, caramelized onion, goat cheese and arugula. While us Phoenicians are spoiled by a wealth of upscale, authentic pizzerias, North's buttery crust pizza is definitely worth a try, especially at eight bucks a pop.
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The Drink: As we said, we ordered the bottle and board, which came with a bottle of Seven Daughters Merlot. The run-of-the-mill red was certainly nothing to write home about, but the price made it hard to complain. If you're not going the bottle route, $4 glasses and $16 bottles/pitchers of red wine, white wine, sangria and draft beers are all up for grabs too.
The Conclusion: With tasty, simple food done right, bountiful servings and good prices, we almost didn't believe we were dining at a Sam Fox joint. While the same stylization and valet-only parking are to be expected, the strengths outweighed the weaknesses this time around. After all, $38 for a bottle of wine, an overflowing charcuterie board and a pizza is a pretty great deal.