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At last: hope for the corner of 4th and Broadway.

I was there Friday night around six, and the corner with the dark brick building looked different…

You could see people eating. Through the window, at tables, a big island bar, a crowd of yuppie types, and a sign.

“Spike Africa’s”

Uh, didn’t this use to be a Payless shoe store?

Whatever, it’s refreshing to have a bright welcome to Horton Plaza, even while the big demolitions are going on across the road.

I head inside to the bar section. It’s buzzing with the end-of-week post-work crowd. Bit worried about costs here. They all look kinda prosperous.

And I see dishes like “Port Townsend Seafood Simmer,” which sounds delicious, with scallops, clams, mussels, shrimp, fish all in there, but, uh $25.

Then I see the little stand-up menu on the counter. The saving words.

“Happy Hour menu.”

“Spike’s favorite hour,” it says. Turns out Spike Africa was one of the legendary trading schooner captains of the Pacific. This fish place kinda memorializes him.

So drink deals, of course, but also food. “Fresh shucked oysters, $1 each,” it says, right up top.

“A shuck for a buck,” says this guy surrounded by lots of women and lots of food. Kevin. Lawyer. Been a fan since this place opened three weeks ago. “Hey, that’s good,” he says. “Buck a shuck!”

Then the menu says you get half off all appetizers, in the “Under Way” section of the menu.

Now Kristin, behind the counter, is waiting for an order, and other customers are clamoring.

So I order the cheapest beer (Bud Light, 20 ounces for $4). Then hit the HH menu. Oh man. There’s a lot in here. I land on one, then two, then, daggone it, can’t resist a third.

I go for the a mug of clam chowder ($3 in happy hour), a “seaside oyster roast,” which is a “Rockefeller-style” mess of oysters and lots of other stuff, for $6, oh and that live buck-a-shuck oyster ($1), too.

Have to say: I’ve hit pay dirt here.

For starters, that oyster...

None

... I have a choice of a Fanny Bay oyster from British Columbia, or a Kumai, from Baja. Smaller but tastier, says Kristin. I go for size, Fanny Bay. Big, lush, and with a spritz of lemon and red cocktail sauce, delish.

Then that chowder…

None

...man, it’s a meal in itself. “Clams, king crab, scallions, Fanny Bay oysters, celery, onion, croutons, and heavy cream,” says Kristin. “No wheat or roux. So it’s not gloopy and glutinous like most chowders you get.”

Really, it’s one of the best I can remember. And filling.

But when the oyster roast turns up…

None

...Lawdie. Four big shells filled with a mess of stuff that Kristin says includes smoked bacon, spinach, parmesan cheese, those Fanny bay oysters, heavy cream, and Pernod, that licorice-flavored French liqueur… I mean four of these for six bucks.

Totally scrumbulicious. And for everything...

None

...I’m fifteen bucks lighter. No mas.

Plus, I come outa there bloated. Couldn’t even finish my Bud Light.

Luckily, the bus stop’s only half a block away.

Bottom line, gotta come again, try other dishes. I’ll report back. ’Cause, hey, have we mentioned who Spike Africa was? Apart from President of the Pacific…?

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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