As one of Chicago’s most diverse neighborhoods, Bridgeport is home to a wide-ranging variety of great restaurants. There are hot dog stands to hit before a White Sox game, a Northern Chinese restaurant and a great spot for British food. And the area keeps attracting new restaurants—Bottlefork’s Kevin Hickey, a Bridgeport native, recently opened the Duck Inn. The next time you’re in in the area, head to one of these top Bridgeport restaurants.
RECOMMENDED: Explore more of Bridgeport
Best Bridgeport restaurants
Instead of shelling out a small fortune for a limp dog at U.S. Cellular Field, why not fill up before at 35th Street Red Hots? Conveniently located a block away, this tiny little stand lacks frills of any kind, and is all the better for it. The natural-casing hot dogs are snappy and beefy, and each comes with a heaping handful of extra-crispy fries.
If you're only heading to the bakery for the large variety of excellent paczki it puts out for Fat Tuesday, you're missing out—the traditional bakery also turns out doughnuts, like a glazed vanilla pretzel-shaped doughnut. But one of the best things here is the bacon bun, which sells out quickly, so get there as early as you can.
The coffee-roasting operation on the corner of Morgan and 31st Street is a point of pride for Bridgeport and a source of jealousy for almost every other neighborhood. Housed in a prototypically warm-toned, wood-heavy coffeehouse (only without the fleabag couches and drum-circle vibe), Bridgeport Coffee sets itself apart by roasting its own beans and brewing them with levels of respect usually reserved for presidents. The pour-over here is a revelation—bright and clean and smooth. The fact that the expert staff and comfortable digs make you want to spend the day in the place is just a bonus.
Han 202 might just be the best value in town. $35 brings four courses, with fun and flavorful options like octopus with rice vinegar butter, red snapper with basil brown sauce and a walnut tart for dessert. Figure in a tasteful dining room and a BYOB policy and this place has date night written all over it.
Since Chinatown isn't too far away, Bridgeport is blessed with some genuinely good Chinese restaurants. That includes this Northern-Chinese spot, where rice is skipped in favor of crackly wheat pancakes. They are good dipped in just about anything, or just eaten on their own. Other dishes worth ordering include plump, hand-formed dumplings bursting with juicy pork; cool spinach in puckery black vinegar, dotted with roasted peanuts; and tender lamb wok-tossed with cumin seeds, spicy from both fresh and dried chilies.
You can smell the unmistakable aroma of sautéing onions at this 24-hour diner from across the street, so you better believe each menu item is imbued with that sweet fragrance. That's definitely true of the bone-in pork chop sandwich, which is, well, exactly what it sounds like: a grilled pork chop sandwich with its bone very much still attached, placed on a bun, squirted with some mustard, and finished with a hefty pile of those onions. It's a messy, full-flavored lunch, and, as long as you eat around the bone, totally worth the hassle.
This seasonal South Side hot dog is just begging for a Sox home game and a warm day. Here you'll find some flawless fully loaded hot dogs, but consider those just the tip of the jam-packed menu. Sure, you can go for a Polish or a hamburger, but don't skip some of the other oddball creations, like the A1-drenched charbroiled strip steak sandwich.
Note: Morrie O'Malley's is closed for the season and reopens March 2, 2015.
The comfortable all-day neighborhood restaurant uses local organic ingredients for its Mexican-influenced dishes. The Nanadict, pupusas with poached eggs, chorizo and poblano cream are a breakfast signature, while the grilled shrimp and fried oyster po' boy, with Cajun mayo and giardiniera for heat, is a must-order at lunch.
Individual pies filled with earthy kale and mushrooms. On Fridays, fried fish alongside crisp nubs of fries, Meyer-lemon tartar sauce to spare. These dishes, re-creations of homey British food from Art Jackson (formerly the chef of Bijan’s Bistro) and his wife, Chelsea Kalberloh Jackson, are the bread-and-butter of this small Bridgeport shop. But the taste you may remember most may be a piece of arugula. Because like so much of the produce here, it was grown by the owners at their small urban plots called Pleasant Farms.
We wish the Chinese diners who flock here would share their secrets to sidestepping land mines on the menu—we’ve found many bummers, but the winners have us hooked. The pot stickers are among our favorite (ask for house chili oil to stir into the dipping sauce). Sweet-and-sour fans love the crispy sticks of eggplant glazed in garlic sauce, and the sautéed lamb with cumin and sesame seeds, whole red chilies, onions and jalapeños is a bit fatty but flavorful. And the “pan-fried smoked pork cake” is a crispy, pitalike sandwich stuffed with a pancetta-ish pork, hoisin and scallion slivers.
A breaded steak sandwich sounds like something truly ridiculous, but at Bridgeport pizzeria Ricobene's, the gargantuan beast is done right. The cutlet is fried until crispy and then completely bathed in chunky, bright red tomato sauce. It's stuffed into a roll along with some cheese, which turns gooey and melty within seconds. Pizzas, burgers, wings and other sandwiches round out the menu, but if you're at Ricobene's you're there for the breaded steak sandwich.
There isn’t much competition in Middle Eastern food around the Bridgeport ’hood, but Zaytune still operates as if it’s in a race for first. The simple, casual, carryout spot has a handful of tables, but most locals hover near the counter for a view of the action: Lebanese-style pita is stretched and baked daily, eggplants are bathed in herbs and olive oil before hitting the grill, falafel is formed on the fly then dropped into the fryer, and sheet pans of honey-soaked kinafa are sliced into squares with Jack-the-Ripper precision. It’s all flavorful, all fresh and all the area has of its kind—just don’t tell Zaytune that.