late night happy hour at the riviera supper club / la mesa – san diego, ca

This time around after another one of Jake’s later night games, we headed out to the Riviera Supper Club in La Mesa for another late night happy hour.


It was Wednesday night – around 9:30PM and there was a live band playing near the front entrance. I felt like a hip adult out for a drink on a weeknight…


… even thought all I had was a Diet Coke. There were no booths in the bar area at first, so we saddled up to the bar, sitting in the dark area with pink lights.


The pink lighting made for terrible photos… but I edited this in Photoshop so you can see it a little better. The “happy hour” prices are on the left side.

A gentlemen sitting next to us told Jake about how it was Wing Wednesday and that he highly recommended the wings, so naturally we ordered some of those. I told Jake what I wanted to try and made him do all of the ordering. It was a bit noisy in the bar and I have trouble getting heard and hearing when it’s noisy like that.

Just as we got our first item, Jake noticed a booth had opened up so we quickly moved into it. I was so grateful I didn’t have to take all of my photos in that washed out pink light after all!


[porcine popcorn – popped in bacon fat and tossed with scallions, roasted garlic and bacon / $2.75 hh | $5.50 regular]

Dude. This popcorn – OMG. I’ve been wanting to come here to try the whole “cook your own steak” thing but really what I wanted to try was THIS – bacon freakin’ popcorn!@#

The popcorn is cooked in bacon fat so each kernel has a distinct smoky taste from the fat, giving it that extra oomph of flavor. I tried this at home once (without all the extra toppings) and it was pretty delicious, but it’s not like I have bacon fat on hand every day for that undertaking.

The popcorn was freshly made and the bacon was nice and crispy. The garlic/scallions gave it extra flavor and I loved munching on this stuff. I probably just could have eaten popcorn and been a happy girl.


[house cut fries / $2.25 hh | $4.50 regular]

Jake and I also got the house cut fries to share. He initially suggested their garlic version, but I kind of wanted to see how they did first with just their plain fries. My dad and I have taken a liking to making our own fries at home since we figured out the “trick” (frying them twice) so I was happy to see that this version was nice and crispy and tasted similar to our own homemade rendition. I love skin-on fries, too. Makes it tastes more “homey” to me, I guess?

These were much better than the “fresh cut fries” you can get at In-N-Out, which does NOT double fry and suffers for it. This version was much yummier and I loved the crispy edges.


[bbq pork belly sliders  / $4 hh | $9.50 regular]

For the sliders, you can choose from BBQ pork belly, pork belly banh mi, pulled pork, cheeseburger, portabella mushroom or meatball. We choose the BBQ pork belly. The buns are toasted but there are no other toppings besides the small amount of BBQ sauce put on. These needed more sauce in my opinion since they tasted dry. The pork belly was a huge hunk of meat and kind of unwieldy and difficult to eat. The meat was not as tender as I thought it should have been – it was just “eh”. I’d try the other kinds though, in the hopes that maybe this one was just a weird letdown.


[jumbo wings – $.75 cents each on Wednesday night happy hour]

Jake went a little crazy and ordered two of each wing flavor they had. I should have cautioned him against that since I can’t eat as much as him and there were a couple that I knew I would not want to try. On Wednesdays they have additional special sauces to choose from. Above we have the “sweeter” set. I say that in quote marks since they were sweeter in comparison to the next set, but not really “sweet” tasting.

Above we have Soy Garlic, Honey BBQ, and Maple Bourbon. I don’t remember which was which! I liked the Honey BBQ the most, but the others I just didn’t really care for the flavors. The soy garlic was a bit salty to me and the maple bourbon was sticky and the flavor was just okay.


These are the hotter wings… On the right is the Jamaican Jerk, in the middle the Original (Buffalo-like) and then on the left with all of those peppers on it is “Burning”.

Burning! Are you kidding me? There’s no way I’m ever going to put something in my mouth with a name like “burning”. No way, no thank you, nope, nope, nope. Taking my ball and going HOME.

Jake tried it though because well… we had ordered it and he thought, “How hot could it be?” Sometimes when he tries hot things they are not very hot to him and he thinks it depends on who he’s asking. Me, you tell me something is spicy and I just don’t want it anywhere near my mouth!

He took one bite of the burning and that was enough for him – too spicy! But not as spicy as the one “suicide” wing he had at Callahan’s in Mira Mesa a few years ago…

He also tried the Jamaican Jerk but he didn’t really like it, either. Of the spicy one, he only like the Original, which I found to be way, way too spicy for my tastes.

Overall I just thought the wings were “okay”. They tasted kind of dried out and were hard to chew and get the meat off the bone – not exactly what I like. But I’ve read a few rave reviews about the wings here so maybe it was just an off day?

The other thing is that when we got the bill it was way, way too high. The bartender who took our order put the order in wrong – he didn’t put it in at the happy hour price for multiple items on our bill so Jake had to go and ask him about it a few times to get everything in order. All in all it was about $25 since we got all of those wings plus sodas. Next time I’d skip the drinks and the amount of wings and just stick to a few smaller things (but definitely more popcorn).

The Riviera Supper Club and Turquoise Room
7777 University Avenue
La Mesa, CA 91942
(619) 713-6777

Riviera Supper Club on Urbanspoon


mary likes baking.

8 Responses

  1. leanne says:

    For shame – you don’t have a jar of bacon fat living in your fridge? Every time I cook bacon, I strain it into a jar and then I always have leftover bacon fat! It makes everything taste delicious, although I’ve never tried popping popcorn in it. Can you imagine making kettle corn starting with bacon fat?? Mmm…

    • mary says:

      Hi Leanne – I know, I should have a jar just for bacon fat. I am ashamed. Haha! Oh… bacon kettle corn sounds like a really, really good idea!

  2. Jinxi says:

    Hahah ordering 2 of each type of wings during HH sounds exactly like what S would do, too… what is it with boys and thinking we can eat as much as they do? I am intrigued by the spicy wings =P

    • mary says:

      Hi Jinxi – Haha, I know… I just can’t fit that much into me! You might like the spicy stuff since you’re into spicy things. I’m hoping it was just a weird day and that’s why the wings were on the dry side.

  3. Faye says:

    That bacon popcorn looks stupid good. Unhealthy as all heck but who cares man. I always toss out the fat when I make bacon b/c I never know what to do with the extra fat. Is there a way to make this popcorn if you don’t have a popcorn making machine thing? How did they add the garlic – was it already sauteed or was it raw garlic or was it added to the bacon fat?

    I’m so digging your late Happy Hour posts 🙂

    • mary says:

      Hi Faye – I have in the past saved bacon fat and used it to cook onions, or as the “starting point” for soups or other dishes. It’s crazy good! I don’t have a popcorn machine – I just pop my corn on the stovetop. Maybe I should do a popcorn post, I make A LOT of popcorn.

      The garlic was sauteed, raw garlic would have been to strong for this and it would have probably burned if cooked in the bacon fat/popcorn.

  4. I save the bacon fat in a jar and freeze it. i like to saute garlic and onions with it as a base for corn chowder soup (which you can garnish with fried bacon too). those bacon fries are awesome, wow!!!!!

    i remember when the riviera supper club was called Habana (a now defunct Cuban restaurant). Before it was Habana, it was an old school steak house called Jamar’s which used to have commercials on TV. A lady with a Middle Eastern accent was in the commercial. Oh, the wierd crap I remember…haha.

    • mary says:

      You remember awesome stuff, CC! I don’t remember either of those, but we never really drove through that area when I was younger. Good idea on freezing the bacon fat! I think I’ll have to employ that idea. I love using bacon fat as a base for soups and such – it gives dishes an extra delicious flavor.

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