Local Market favorite Matt's in the Market jumps on the happy-hour bandwagon.

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Happy Hour |

Long before the eat-local, slow-food mantra, we had Matt’s in the Market, whose dinner menu was based on whatever owner Matt Janke found downstairs at the stalls around Pike Place Market.

The bistro has become a local favorite, despite being in the city’s hottest tourist spot. Those who’ve never eaten here can get a good introduction with its new happy hour, featuring a sampling of smaller versions of Matt’s entrees for $7 each.

Janke has since moved on, and his business partner, Dan Bugge, has taken over. But the tenet of dinner-is-what-I-find-at-the-stalls hasn’t changed.

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New executive chef Chester Gerl composed an elegant Sloppy Joe, with bits of hanger steak and bacon over an open-faced brioche, topped with a fried egg. It’s meatier and drier than your average Joe.

Even better was the buttery seared scallop with potato and pancetta hash, with crunchy fried leeks and a sweet-onion purée. (The entree version costs $33.) Another dish that weaves in brunch components. Never a bad thing.

One of the year’s worst bar-food trends is crab mac-n-cheese, and unfortunately Matt’s went there. The four-cheese pasta here just overwhelmed the Dungeness-crab meat.

The better bar food: house-made potato chips with a bacon-caramelized-onion dip — rich, creamy and salty gluttony.

Matt’s in the Market, 94 Pike St., Suite 32, offers happy hour 5-7 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays at the bar, featuring gourmet interpretation of bar food for $7; $7 cocktails and wine; and $4 beer (206-467-7909 or www.mattsinthemarket.com).

Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or tvinh@seattletimes.com

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