Happy Hour review: Macaroni Grill

Sometimes, you just need to unwind with a $5 glass of wine and some half-off appetizers. With our Happy Hour reviews, we’ll tell you where to go when the Happy Hour itch strikes, and how to take care of it.

When you sit down in Macaroni Grill’s bar area after 3 p.m., it’s the best of both worlds — you’re welcome to order from the regular menu, but if small bites and discounted cocktails are calling your name, Happy Hour offerings are also available.

The menu isn’t overly lengthy, but it has something for every taste (and budget). There are appetizers and cocktails for $4, $5, and $6, with standouts on the cocktail side including the signature Ultimate Bellini (Bacardi rum, Lunetta prosecco, Valoroso white wine, peach, and black raspberry liqueur) and Romano’s Old Fashioned (Maker’s Mark bourbon, Disaronno amaretto, bitters). For food, there’s everything from Mediterranean olives to loaded fries, topped with a creamy cheese sauce, prosciutto, parmesan, and Calabrian peppers.


A friend and I recently ordered an Ultimate Bellini and Mushroom and Goat Cheese Pizza Piatto (me), Romano’s Old Fashioned and Prosciutto and Greens Pizza Piatto (friend), and Mac and Cheese Bites (to share). The $5 piattos come three to an order, and are small, crispy pieces of dough covered with cheese and other toppings. There was an ample amount of pungent goat cheese and sautéed mushrooms on my piattos, which were like a cross between pizza and tacos, and they were filling enough for a meal if paired with a salad. The $6 mac and cheese bites were crisp on the outside and filled with gooey cheese, and because they were rich, we’re glad we decided to share. They do get cold fast, so it’s a good idea to eat those quickly.  


The $6 bellini was a frozen sweet concoction, perfect for a warm summer day. Unlike with some peach items, you could actually pick up the fruit flavor, which was complimented nicely by the strong raspberry liqueur. My friend said her $6 Old Fashioned was nice and strong, and her piattos were good except for one little hiccup — the first batch that was brought out to her was missing the cheese. She told our waitress, who was also the bartender, and she apologized and promptly brought out another trio, this time with cheese. 

One drink that was recommended that we didn’t try was the $6 Rosso Fizz, made with Chopin vodka, Lunetta prosecco, raspberries, and fresh-squeezed lemon, which did sound tasty, but we decided to stop after round one. For those who don’t drink, the $4 Frizzantes sound delicious — sparkling water and natural flavors like strawberry and cucumber garnished with fresh fruit.

It’s Happy Hour at Macaroni Grill every day from 3 p.m. to closing, served in the bar, for dine-in early. The Redlands Macaroni Grill is inside Citrus Plaza at 27490 W. Lugonia Ave. —Catherine


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