Monday was a happy day at Happy, the noodle house at 835 Walnut Street in Boulder that Dave Query's Big Red F group opened a year ago as Happy Noodle House.
Over the months, Query and company have made a number of adjustments at the restaurant -- starting but not ending with the name -- and their efforts paid off when Forbes.com named Happy one of America's Best New Restaurants on the same day that Boulder was named the happiest place in the country.
The Happy honor caught the attention of Jason Sheehan, who'd reviewed Happy Noodle House in its original incarnation. "Note to Self: Don't Eat With Forbes Staff," he wrote at the start of an item posted on Voracious, the food blog for the Seattle Weekly, where he's now the restaurant critic. "Setting aside the fact that this place changed its name to just Happy some time ago, it was also a restaurant that never quite moved me as much as I hoped it would. The bar is fantastic, the cuisine good (if, like seemingly everything else that opened in 2009, a bit derivative), but should it be listed among the best new restaurants in the country? Nope. I don't even consider it to be the best new restaurant in Colorado, or in the Denver/Boulder area (I gave that distinction to a different noodle bar last year)."
That post inspired this classic response from none other than Dave Query:
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The Forbes nomination for HAPPY came from Richard Betts, not the Forbes staff. Richard is a world personality in wines and spirits, an accomplished wine maker, producer of Sombra Mezcal and well respected sommelier, most recently for the last five years at the Little Nell in Aspen. He is a regular customer at HAPPY and has seen the changes over the last year that we have made with our food. Your arrogance in questioning anyone else's opinion, especially someone with so much more talent and understanding of distinct taste and correct balance then your own, is amazing.
Even from Seattle, you're still a pain in the fucking ass.
Although that's the only comment posted after Sheehan's Forbes post, there are many, many more scattered around Voracious. Because while some Seattle residents have given Sheehan a warm welcome, others have made it very, very hot.
A sample: "With the amount of praise Jason gets from his readership in Denver, one can only conclude that the education levels in Denver are far inferior to those of Seattle."
Talk about a pain in the fucking ass!