What do you know about Bridgeport? Hopefully more than that it’s home to the unfortunately named Guaranteed Rate Field, previously known as U.S. Cellular Field, previously known as Comiskey Park. If not, you should be aware that it also has plenty of old-school restaurants with quality food, plus some newer spots worth a visit. Try them before they all get sponsored and have to change their names.
Here’s where to eat in Bridgeport.
This small Chinese restaurant is in a strip mall in an industrial section of the neighborhood. The food is Sichuan, with a short menu of tender braised dishes (like ribs and duck tongue), barbecue (including some fantastic pulled rabbit), and small plates like the sweet and spicy handmade noodles and bell dumplings, both of which have a great amount of heat. While the space gets crowded, it’s still typically pretty easy to get a table here. Come with one or two friends (or by yourself) when you’re looking for a quick and delicious meal.
Pleasant House Pub
This used to be the Pleasant House Bakery, but it has a new name and a new location. It’s now full-service, and we’re glad to say the flaky British pies (with options like steak and ale, or cold pork) are still on the menu, in addition to an expanded offering of other pub food, like scotch eggs and fish and chips. The bright space is ideal for a casual lunch or weeknight dinner. And if you came here expecting British pies to be sweet, go home and read more Harry Potter.
Just like the location in Wicker Park, the Bridgeport Antique Taco serves a bunch of different kinds of - you guessed it - tacos. While they’re all good, our favorites are the carnitas and the crispy fish tacos, which will make you stop feeling jealous of your Southern Californian friends, who seem to be eating delicious fish tacos all the time. This space is small (with a lot of reclaimed wood and retro-looking metal signs), but there’s a dog-friendly patio with large picnic tables that are perfect for large groups.
Gio's Cafe & Deli
Gio’s is actually an Italian restaurant inside a small market. As in, there are checkered tables in the middle of the room surrounded by groceries. So you can pop in and grab a sandwich from the deli, or take a seat and order a more substantial meal. Stick to the Italian classics, like their spaghetti, which is really good. It’s solid food at reasonable prices, and very convenient for when you need both pasta and kitty litter.
Zaytune Mediterranean Grill
Bridgeport doesn’t have much in the way of Mediterranean restaurants, but luckily Zaytune is there to fill the void. It’s a casual restaurant, good for takeout, lunch, or weeknight dinner. Their flatbread is fantastic, and you should order anything that utilizes it - like the chicken shawarma and falafel wraps. Make sure to get some hummus, too.
Morrie O'Malley's Hot Dogs
Morrie O’Malley’s is a family-friendly hot dog stand. We say this because there are a few tables to eat at outside, and there’s soft serve ice cream. Kids love ice cream. We also love ice cream, sitting, and hot dogs, so there’s a persuasive argument to be made that we’re basically large children.
Nana is an upscale weekday brunch spot with Latin and Mexican specialties. You can get sweet things like Mexican hot chocolate French toast and dulce de leche pancakes with caramelized plantains, or savory dishes like the Nanadict, which has pupusas instead of English muffins and is topped with chorizo and poblano cream. The tasty food and friendly atmosphere will make you start thinking of reasons to stay here, instead of heading back to work (but they close at 2:30pm, so you will need to leave eventually).
Han 202 is a Chinese fusion restaurant offering a four-course prix-fixe menu for $35. You’ll find options like a beet salad with lobster tail, General Tso’s chicken, and lamb with a bonito plum sauce. The food is excellent and beautifully plated, so this place is ideal for an affordable date night. Just remember to BYOB.
In case you’re not familiar with Maria’s, it’s been the neighborhood favorite liquor store/tavern hybrid in Bridgeport for a long time. The space next door (owned by the same people) is Kimski, a Korean-Polish restaurant and bar with a modern-industrial interior and a nice little patio out back. Try the kimchi poutine and the Maria’s Standard (a Polish topped with kraut-chi), then head over to Maria’s to finish the night.
This is a casual Italian restaurant that’s been around for a while. It’s gone through a redesign, and now has modern wood furniture, edison lights, and exposed ductwork. You could argue that this might have messed with the nostalgia factor, but they did a good job keeping the overall feeling, including their menu of classic Italian dishes, like gnocchi and chicken vesuvio. The portions are large and affordable, so come here with a group and expect leftovers.
The Duck Inn is a former tavern that’s been turned into an upscale gastropub. You can get a duck fat hot dog and/or duck wings, but there’s also a five-course chef’s tasting menu. It’s one of the fancier spots in the neighborhood, so try it for a nicer dinner with friends, family, or someone you’re trying to impress. Split the rotisserie duck and sit outside. And if you haven’t figured it out, there’s a lot of duck on this menu.
Ricobene’s is a solid, inexpensive spot that serves pizza (all varieties), wings, hot dogs, and burgers. But there’s one thing in particular that has made it famous: the breaded steak sandwich. It’s a behemoth of a meal with breaded steak, red gravy, and cheese. You need this sandwich, and then some Tums to go with it. Come here for carryout, or a casual weeknight lunch or dinner.
The hot dog stand closest to the Sox stadium is one of the most important restaurants in Bridgeport, specifically because of its location. They serve a “depression-style dog” with nothing but onions and mustard, wrapped up in paper with fries. It’s also acceptable to eat the fried shrimp here, and yes, we’re serious.
Johnny O’s looks like it might blow away at any second, but that’s part of the charm. This Bridgeport staple has a more robust menu than just hot dogs, so consider getting an Italian sausage, breaded steak sandwich, or mother-in-law (a.k.a. a tamale on a hot dog bun). The irony of the “dining room open” sign is that there’s no dining room, but there are a few tables on a cute patio around the side.