In the thoroughly modern Route 110 Corridor in Melville stands a portal to something Richie Cunningham would find familiar and comfortable amidst all the hustle and bustle.
Tucked away on northbound Route 110 at 535 Broad Hollow Road, the Happy Times Café is a joyous blast to the past, bursting with 1950s Americana at every turn.
Each step down the red carpet just inside the front door brings you closer to a scene that would fit right in with the glorious nascent days of American rock ’n’ roll – bright, cheery and chock full of Elvis, Lucy and James Dean, with Buddy Holly crackling through the air. That’ll be the day, indeed. Then again, that’s if the “Elvis fans only – all others will be all shook up” parking sign posted in the small outdoor dining area wasn’t enough of a hint for you.
The restaurant is in the care of Mary Hauptman, who manages the office building at 535 Broad Hollow Road. It became Happy Times Café about three years ago; she’s been in charge for the last two.
With a perfect setup for on-the-go dining and ample space to sit and dine, the best of both worlds are available for customers.
“It’s a homey kind of feeling. People come here to have a little business meeting or meet for lunch. It’s not crazy-hectic busy… Our acoustics are very good in here,” Mary said.
There’s much talk about Happy Times’ chicken salad and its good reputation is well earned. You can’t go wrong with the chunky morsels of white meat chicken breast, dressed simply in celery and onion.
Burgers, Mary explains, are another trademark, all freshly made to order. We had a special Southwest Burger ($8.50), cool and summery with a little peppery kick and loaded up with sliced avocado, corn and black bean salsa.
French fries ($3.50) are buttery, crispy on the outside and flaky inside. Sweet Potato Fries ($4.25) are paired with a sweet and gooey maple dipping sauce.
For the early-to-rise breakfast set, there’s an ample menu to be had, featuring pancakes and waffles, muffins and bagels, eggs on and a roll and more.
Check out the soda fountain, too, which boasts classic ice cream sodas ($3.75), Brooklyn egg creams ($3.25) and rich milkshakes ($4.50).
Happy Times Café also brings its show on the road. They do free local delivery ($10 minimum), cater breakfast and lunch affairs and have an available party room available with a full bar.
“We do things that are very affordable, but very nice,” Mary said.
And that’s an old-school value if we’ve ever heard one.
Happy Times Café
535 Broad Hollow Road
(northbound side), Melville
ATMOSPHERE: Cheerful ’50s throwback diner
CUISINE: Classic American comfort foods
HOURS: Mon-Fri 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.