Cibus: For When You and Your Wallet Need
A Break from Shopping

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Each week, Happy Eating will highlight a restaurant happy hour food menu, keeping you informed of what deals there are out there.

Because it's safe to return to the mall again, (and really, because you need to exchange that gift you politely said you liked but didn't really like), this week we're highlighting happy hour at NorthPark's Cibus.

Where: Lombardi's Cibus at NorthPark Center 8687 N. Central Expressway No. 1608

When: Monday-Friday, 4-7 p.m with reverse happy hour at 9 to close. Closes at 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 11 p.m. Friday.

The Scene: Happy hour menu is served only at the bar and at an outside patio. Happy hour crowd is slightly older than one would find at, say, Kona Grill across the mall.

The Deal: Half off on calamari, fritto misto and all pizzas. Pizzas include wild mushroom, Margherita, grilled vegetable, fennel sausage, pizza bruschetta, pizza alla diavola, polpettine (small meatballs) and pepperoni.

The Steals: Fritto misto is normally priced at $12.50 and although this appetizer has faltered lately, at half-price we're going to keep it in the steal category...for now. The pizzas are still a great deal, however, as a pizza at regular price can set you back upward of $13. Pizzas are also big enough to share.

The Con: The seating situation. The bar seats six to seven people at best. While there is outside seating, the patio heaters don't always work or aren't always turned on. It's better during the summers, but the patio furniture could use some new cushions and a coat of Scotch Guard.

Eat: The wild mushroom pizza. Mushrooms, pancetta and truffle oil make for one flavor-packed pie. Fans of goat cheese and/or salami should try the pizza alla diavola.

Skip: The Margherita pizza is more like a glorified cheese pizza -- great if you like cheese pizza, but not great for someone expecting a Margherita pizza. Also, the bruschetta pizza might sound fancier than it actually is. It's a white cheese pizza with lots of diced tomatoes.

Lushworthy: Good well and wine specials, friendly bartenders.

The bottom line: If you can get a seat, a $7 pizza or $4 calamari is a nice way to save some money after you've unloaded your wallet at the mall. Plus, while the party is still rollicking over at Kona, reverse happy hour at Cibus is quite peaceful. The restaurant clears out around 9, making it the perfect spot for a quiet nightcap before a movie.

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