Happiness is a Warm Slice

Hunting & Gathering


On a Thursday afternoon around 5 pm, Howie Hochberg steps out onto the porch of his gastropub, Cock and Bull, wearing an old Army-issue gas mask. He carries a 6-pack of assorted Delirium beers and a pizza box decorated with a hand-drawn illustration—the illustration features a cartoon bull with a dialogue bubble that reads, “Thanks for supporting our mom & pop!” “How do I look?” he asks. Even when the parking lot at the business he and his wife, Dawn, have owned for over 20 years sits empty—and is likely to remain so through at least April—he still feels compelled to ham it up for the camera, see if he can elicit a chuckle. His optimism and sense of humor are unflappable.

Like every restaurant in the area, the Hochbergs have continued to eke out a living during the coronavirus pandemic by offering to-go and delivery orders. Known for their soft-baked pretzels and beer cheese, the pub can also bake a respectable pie or assemble a hearty sandwich. Equally important, they can also put together a 6-pack sampler of beers and ciders with more panache and variety than just about any beer purveyor within 100 miles. The beer helps to sweeten the deal on some of the package dinners they put together throughout the week. Ever the fans of a good innuendo, the Hochbergs have taken to calling their dinner deals things like “Big Package,” “Huge Package” or “Just Add Netflix and Chill.” 

A “Big Package” can feed a socially isolated family of 4-6 for $36 and includes one specialty pizza, two pretzels with beer cheese and a 4-pack of assorted adult beverages. Depending on the ratio of adults to children, this meal has the potential to make a lot of people happy. While fruits, vegetables, whole grains and clean meats commonly comprise a healthy diet, sensible eating can sometimes be as much about comfort and happiness as it is about vitamins and fiber. And few things hold more promise of happiness and comfort than pizza and beer. So, keep eating those salads and smoothies that help maintain a steady flow of traffic on the GI tract, but don’t forget that sometimes happiness is a warm slice.

Orders can be placed via Facebook or telephone on Monday-Saturday from 4 pm to 8 pm.

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