A historically working-class neighborhood, Bridgeport was once the hub of Chicago's political machine, a place where the city's leaders lived and cultivated support. These days, the small South Side neighborhood is best known for its great bars and restaurants, as well as its proximity to the home of the White Sox. Whether you're checking out an art gallery or heading home after a night at Maria's, here are the telltale signs you're in Bridgeport.
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1. There's not a Cubs fan in sight. Bridgeport is White Sox country, so unless the Crosstown Classic is happening, you're not likely to find many supporters of the North Side team.
2. The influence of Ed Marszewski is everywhere. Whether you're drinking a Marz Brewing beer, enjoying a cocktail at Maria's Packaged Goods and Community Bar, eating at Kimski or attending an event at Co-Prosperity Sphere, prominent Bridgeport resident Marszewski probably has something to do with it.
3. Someone is complaining about Pleasant House Bakery's move. At least hungry Bridgeport residents and visitors can flock to Kimski (and Pilsen isn't that far away).
4. Parking is at a premium when the White Sox are in town. With U.S. Cellular Field (soon to be Guaranteed Rate Field) nearby, most of the non-permit parking in Bridgeport seems to disappear during baseball season.
5. You're never far from a breaded steak sandwich. Whether you prefer Ricobene’s or Freddie’s, this indulgent sandwich is a Bridgeport delicacy.
6. The Daley family is still a topic of conversation. It might have something to do with the fact that former Chicago mayors Richard J. and Richard M. Daley lived in Bridgeport.
7. If you're getting food delivered, it's probably Chinese. Chinatown is just to the north of Bridgeport, which means you actually have some options for your weekly Szechuan chicken and egg drop soup fix.
8. The record store of choice is Let's Boogie. Forget about Reckless Records—all the music you'll ever need is housed on the shelves of Bridgeport's old school record store.
9. You catch a glimpse of Mount Bridgeport. Located in Palmisano Park, this former quarry was filled (to the brim, and then some!) with trash, creating a rare hill amid the flat expanse of Chicago.
11. Artists are also out in force. Relatively cheap rent and the aforementioned art centers have made Bridgeport a bastion for creative types—the kind of people who think that any artist living in Logan Square is a sellout.
12. Helicopters flying overhead. The Chicago Helicopter Experience heliport is just north of Bridgeport, so you'll see plenty of whirlybirds zooming up into the sky.
13. All of the schools are named after saints. Catholic schools are everywhere, with institutions named for Santa Lucia, St. Jerome, St. Mary and St. Barbara.
14. Great hot dogs are on the menu. 35th Street hosts a string of classic Chicago hot dog stands, including no-nonsense joints like Morrie O'Malley's and Johnny O's.
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