Showing posts with label bridgeport. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bridgeport. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Soluri & Sons

-The Sammy's of Chi

A Bridgeport favorite from the 90's has returned and the residents around the area couldn't be happier. Well maybe if the White Sox won a series. But they cant seem to do that huh? Well at least they got a winner in Soluri & Sons Italian Deli now open again on Halsted.

a popular neighborhood spot in Bridgeport is back

You might not see their small storefront on the 3500 block of south Halsted if just cruising by but you're going to want to know where this place is. As you walk in you're greeted by those behind the counter with the menu painted on the right side of the wall. Sandwiches are what they do here and they take them seriously. Every last ounce of meat is weighted so their meat to bread ratio is spot on and your sandwich is sensational.

Classic Italian

My first trip thru I had to go classic so I went with the Italian of the seven poor boys (sandwiches) offered. Could this be the new king of the sub sandwich in Chicago? I'm not taking sides but it can certainly be mentioned when talking about who's is best. The bread comes from most folks favorite in D'Amato's. High end meats and cheese are topped with house dressing and dont skip option of their homemade giardiniera, its fantastic. They also sell D'Amato's pizza bread and make homemade Italian sausage for your grill. Good to have y'all back!

The insides

Soluri & Sons Italian Deli
3549 S. Halsted St
Chicago, IL
(773) 247-8777

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


-Eating like a Mayan King in the Windy City

Hello folks and welcome back. It's fitting that I've been on a fish taco binge the last few weeks since it is lenten season. I have a friend who loves her some seafood and tacos are her favorite eat so we've been testing them all out as the days go by. One of the spots that often gets mentioned when discussing the best fish taco in Chicago is Carbon in Chinatown/Bridgeport. So today we're going to check them out, lets take a look.

On 26th street in between Chicago's Bridgeport/Chinatown neighborhoods

I remember when this place first opened and shot onto my radar. They describe themselves as a "live fire grill" and that's something that's always a plus in my book. However for whatever reason I just never made it inside until a trip a couple weeks back brought us in. The crowd was an eclectic mix with there being hipsters, blue collar locals and a few Mexicans from around the way, all inside enjoying lunch. I went with three tacos, one each of the fish, steak and chicken along with an order of elotes aka corn off the cob in mayo.

Taco Platter from Carbon

Elote stands are popular on the streets of Chicago

Not bad all in all. First up the chicken which was a breast cut up in larger chunks, this didn't look too appealing to me when I first saw it but I enjoyed it for what it was, a chicken taco. Which are never going to cause a culinary orgasms but this was tasty version nonetheless. The steak I thought to be just ok and better options available elsewhere but it was tender so credit to them for that. The fish taco which they get mad love for was indeed good. Maybe not the best but it was fried on site, served hot and I enjoyed how they use a tortilla crusting on the tilapia. If your a fish taco fan these should do the trick. I'd stop by again for a few. nice option to have in the neighborhood.

Up close of a fish taco

Carbon Live Fire Grill
300 W. 26th Street
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 225-3200

Carbón on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pleasant House Bakery

-Grubbing in Chicago
Where everyone now eats.

Almost a year ago, Chicago, was blessed with yet another eating establishment that was sure to be in your regular rotation once you ate there. Even better than this was the fact 'The Pleasant House Bakery' didn't open up downtown, in River North or Lincoln Park but rather Bridgeport. A neighborhood that's known more so for being the home to the southsides pride and joy, the now Ozzie-less White Sox rather than hot food spots. Well the White Sox will suck this year as will baseball in Chicago. But that doesn't mean you cant get something good out of going to 35th and Shields when you go see the Sox play. You get to eat at Pleasant House.

Already a locals favorite at 31st and Keely

Actually you don't need a reason, like an invite to a White Sox game, to go to Bridgeport and try the pie place that's taking this neighborhood into the next millennium. Where it sits on 31st street at the corner is right next door to another great local stop, Maria's Community Bar. Here you can find some top notch American micro brews you wont find many other places and bring them in with you to Pleasant House. Better yet you can also order food from the Bakery and bring it with you into the bar at Maria's. There hasn't been a eat-drink side by side punch like this since Glascott's and the Athenian Room allowed one another customers to by the other.

Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar

Pleasant House is ran by a wonderful team including the owners, both husband and wife. This is their take "British blue collar food" However these are classically trained chefs so lets not assume this is how amazing it is at your average pub in the Borough of Brent. Everything is here is taken to another level and made with the love and passion to have for what it is you day that makes places like these so special. It's not just the food they take to that level but also the housemade sodas and the bath and body products like lip balm and salts. In fact the owner/chef and some friends have their own urban garden where many of the produce used for the dishes at the restaurant come from. Inside it's small but the tables turnover quick and as mentioned you can always order to eat at Maria's Bar next door.

The view waiting in line to order

The Sausage Rolls are BOMB!

Beauty Products

The main attraction at PHB are the 'Royal Pies' and they live up to the hype, all you gotta do is ask around. I don't remember a place that was agreed upon as great by as many people in a while. They make three different pies regularly and each is available until they run out that day. The first one we'll take a peak at is the Chicken Balti. This is a classic English take of a chicken pot pie in which they include curry powder. According to another article I read on PHB this particular type of curry is specific to Birmingham England and was brought over by Pakistani immigrants. Along with the chicken and curry it has additional spices including cumin and cardomon and also tomatoes added in. This English version of chicken pot pie does not include cream but the side of chutney that it comes with might be better than cream anyways.

Chicken Balti Pie

The Insides

Possibly my favorite thing on the menu is the "Pleasant Poutine" as I call it. Described on the menu board as "Deluxe Gravy Chips" this is a mighty bowl of many eats. The twice fried potato wedges get covered with real housemade gravy, chopped tender bits of skirt steak and then shreds of real cheddar are dropped on and allowed to melt which makes this one of the best potato based dishes anywhere. They don't do it like this in Canada, not when I was there anyway. What would piss the Canucks off more, not winning the gold in hockey or not having the best poutine in North America?

'Pleasant Poutine'

Not only wouldn't you expect to find a place like PHB in Bridgeport but you would think that if you did, they would be meat-centric based. Maybe a sausage shop in the mold of Hot Doug's? But that's not the case as they continue to push the norm. I haven't had the pleasure of trying one of their fresh green salads for the day but they get the same raves that the kale and mushroom pie (veggie friendly) does and some people, even the meat eaters, claim this one as their favorite. Let's just put it this way, if I ever became a Veg-Head, PHB would be an option. Let me just say this too, it always will be an option and those options will always include cold pork pot pie, Steak & Ale pies and sausage rolls too.

Inside the Kale-Mushroom Pie (Pic by: Ronnie_Suburban @LTHforum)

The regular menu pie for the beef lover is their Steak & Ale offering. Inside goes all natural beef, ale, carrots and herbs. As far as my favorite it just depends which one I feel like. The crust on all of the pies is as good as it gets when it comes to flaky greatness and as KennyZ from Fuckerberg on Food said over at LTH "Not much to add to what's already been written, but Pleasant House makes what is to me the platonic ideal of a pie crust. They make it difficult to eat pie from anywhere else." Thursday and Saturday of each week is 'Special Pie Day' where a pie filled with other great flavor combinations (not on the regular menu) is featured. I'm waiting for a classic American Chicken Pot Pie 'Pleasant House Style' to be offered on Pie Day (wink, wink).

Steak & Ale Pie with Buttered mint peas

The Insides

Oh yes it's the pies that shine especially when your an English 'bakery' serving dinner style pies but that's not all they do here folks. Each night they're open (Tues-Sun.) they have a specials night on the menu. Tuesday is burger day and as anyone who's a regular reader on here knows...I am the Burger King. It took me quite a few Tuesdays to pass by before I could finally get over there for what many people were calling "one of the cities best" When I did make it over to try the burger special it was excellent. One of the more desirable burgers over $10 I've had from anywhere and it was only a buck or so above that. House ground chuck is served on an English muffin with housemade bacon, cheddar cheese and a fried egg as well as greens from the garden.

Tuesday Burger Special

Then there's also the Scotch egg's which are magnificent. These too are the best variation of this dish that I have seen and that's due to their cooking process. They manage to make them so that the egg yolk inside the hard boiled egg with sausage wrapped around it is still runny. I've never had one served this way before but I now believe all places should make Scotch Eggs like these.

A Pleasant House Scotch Egg

I cant decide what night is my favorite specials night but I can tell you their Friday night fish fry is among the best in town. You see a trend here? I'm always on the prowl for a good offering of Fish n' Chips and when I heard about PHB and how good theirs was it was what finally got me in. I was there for the fry before I ate a pie and it was then and there I realized how good the rest of the menu must be. It took me back to Bayfield WI as I was surprised to find my expertly fried piece of fish, sitting atop a mound of potatoes for which you can say the same, was Lake Superior whitefish. Top it all off with homemade tarter sauce and it's a reason to go to every Friday night White Sox home game going on this year if your a season ticket holder. Just know the fish is as good as it will get. Yes I know, no need to comment, Cubs suck too. Agreed.

Friday Night Fish Fry Special

LinkWhere's the Pie truck? @PHbakery

Then there's Sunday's. 'Carvery day' starts at 3p right after high tea begins. That's served around 2p with reservations required for tea but not to eat the weeks house roasted meat selection which comes served alongside house sides. On a Sunday I stumbled in they happened to be doing a take on 'Porchetta' and it was phenomenal. The carvery dinner costs a almost double what most other menu items do but this was a huge piece of pork cooked until tender enough to not fall apart. Inside it was stuffed with herbs and seasonings but this was not boneless and came cut from the loin bone in. You can see it but cant taste. Cheers to Pleasant House and a long, long southside run.

Sunday Carvery Day (A take on Porchetta)

Pleasant House Bakery
964 West 31st St
Chicago, IL 60608
(773) 523-7437 (PIES)

Pleasant House Bakery on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 8, 2011

Johnny O's

-In Chicago: Every Dog Has it's Day

The start of baseball season signifies so much including summer being near, the smell of fresh air and of course here in Chicago we eat hot dog's from everywhere outside in that fresh air. Last weekend were by a popular hot dog stand near Wrigley for the Cubs home opener, this week we head south for the White Sox. Located not far from the stadium on 35th street in Bridgeport is Johnny O's, a classic southside Chicago hot dog stand. Actually the stretch of 35th street from US Cellular Field all the way down to Morgan street has three top notch Chicago hot dog stands with 35th Street Red Hots and Morrie O'Malley's also along that way. But today we head to Johnny O's which is a hot dog stand that occupies the back end of a liquor store. Unless it's bone chillingly cold outside customers walk up to the window outside and place their orders with the people inside behind the sliding window.

a longtime White Sox fan favorite in Bridgeport

Johnny O's is vintage southside Chi

Despite it's small size the menu is large at Johnny O's. In true southside style the prices are dirt cheap too and you can always count on a few city trucks parked near there as the city workers munch on lunch. The liquor store/bar's actual entrance is on Morgan street but you order food on 35th street outside in the back off the menu that extends along the block. It's a popular stop for people from the area on gameday. White Sox fans will roll up to the window and order some hot dogs and such to eat as they walk to the stadium a few blocks down.

Johnny O's is an all day operation

As you can see the prices are cheap and the menu includes the classics

Once your ready to order you do so with the folks behind the window

I've made a few trips over to Johnny's for some grease grub and always enjoy my visit for what it is. Its an experience and brings you back to another time when this area was full with factories and warehouses which for the most part have closed down. The area has gotten better and a few of those old factories were turned into condos as the area around the ballpark continues to grow. Nonetheless Johnny O's has remained and their customer base remains loyal. My personal favorite on the menu here are the breakfast sandwiches which again are good for what they are. You or me could easily make the same bacon, egg and cheese on toast that Johnny O's does but sometimes it's just easier to let someone else do it and Johnny's doesn't overcharge so always feel full after and you didn't have to spend more than $4 doing so. The hot dogs at Johnny O's are good but nothing too special so I tend to order other stuff off their menu. It's not that they're bad, they're actually pretty damn good but that doesn't do it when you live in Chicago. Everything on their dogs includes mustard, onions, pickles and tomato.

Bacon and egg breakfast sandwich from Johnny O's

Johnny O's Hot Dog

Once or maybe twice a year I like to head over to Johnny O's for a famous southside food item that was introduced to the rest of the world by Peter Engler. The Mother in Law is found at quite a few southside hot dog stands and consists of a tamale with chili. Peter and Anthony Bourdain ate one of these on the Chicago episode of 'No Reservations' which gave the relatively unknown outside the southside sandwich some national publicity. Some stands choose to serve the cornmeal tamales with the chili on a bun while others serve it in a cup. Chicago hot stand style tamales are different than traditional Mexican tamals and are more like Delta Style tamales which they have a connection to from when blacks were leaving the south and coming to Chicago and bringing Blues music and tamales with them. They can now be found at most every Chicago fast food stand and are popular enough that there are a few different companies that have factories where they make them. Johnny O's serves their Mother in Law in a cup and that's actually how I prefer them since they can be real messy if your eating one on a bun.

Chili with a tamale from Johnny O's

Since I am born and raised city boy I have a love for Chicago style tamales. They're cheap and I always got one with my hot dog or would get a few to dine on for a snack and not spend more than $3 on them back in the day. Nowadays they're up to about $1.50 each but still worth it when hungry and as always best enjoyed when inebriated. When you throw one of these tamales in with some chili it's not a bad combo whatsoever and in fact turns average chili into pretty dang good stuff just like that. They also throw sport peppers into the cup and serve it with a few packs of oyster crackers on the side. Once you mush everything up it's actually quite good. The chili is homemade and it's a heavy tomato based brew so the spicy corn roll tamale really helps give it some flavor depth. Just like the White Sox, these might not be for everyone in Chicago but I do enjoy them a few times a year which is more than I can say about the Sox. If your wondering where the term MIL came from? Peter explained it on LTH as he was told. The owner of Johnny O's told him. “Sure,” they call it that “...because both kinds of Mothers in Law are known for giving you heartburn.” Haha pretty damn funny. Another known cause of heartburn on the southside is Oney Guillen and his Twitter account. Surely some drama this summer awaits. Due stay tuned.

The Mother in Law all mushed up

Johnny O's Hot Dogs
3465 S. Morgan (food served on 35th street)
Chicago, IL 60608
(773) 927-1011

Johnny O's Hot Dogs on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 5, 2010

Morrie O'Malley's

-In Chicago: Every Dog Has it's Day

Where the White Sox fans get their grub on.

Its Opening Day 2010 and we continue on with our baseball and hot dog features that come with it. We went to Cub fans favorite Murphy's last week and today batting second in the order is a longtime favorite of White Sox fans-Morrie O'Malley's. Located at 35th st. and Union in Bridgeport and just like Murphy's, O'Malley's has been doing Chicago style hot dogs justice and opened just a year after them in 1988. Its a seasonal stand and an institution in one of my favorite 'hoods. Morrie O'Malley's is BIG with Sox fans headed to and from The Cell.


and back

Its no coincidence that both Murphy's & Morrie O'Malley's opened up within a year of each other and have so much in common including being the dog stand of choice for Cubs and Sox fans. What started off as a little trailer within a backyard at the corner of 35th and Union has turned into a cornerstand and a Vienna Beef Hall of Famer. Its going on 22 years now and they have been serving the residents and workers of Bridgeport along with White Sox fans from all over from every 1st Monday of March until its time to close down when the winter weather comes around.

O'Malley's is a proud member of the Hall

Only in Chicago will you find so many world class fast food joints and Morrie O'Malley's is a great example of one. Its the type of place where the saying goes "this is where customers have a name, not a number" and as soon as they open their doors for the spring, hungry southsiders come flooding in like they've been hibernating all winter and how could you blame them? O'Malley's does up Chicago style dogs that include everything (no ketchup) on them as seen in the pic below. The standard dog comes steamed but they also do everything charred up on their grill and you really cant go wrong either way. I like to get mine their way (steamed w/ everything) and love the fries here too. They remind me of a spots fries that I loved growing up (fazzios). The menu is great tasting from up to down and they have ice cream sundaes, shakes, floats etc. too.

What you get...

Top Notch Fries

The places that thrive and become legendary and part of their neighborhoods do what Morrie O'Malley's does and that's give its customers a great tasting meal for a great price. They take great pride in their food over there and its made to order but there's no worries because you can take a spot at one of the tables outside with the recognizable Vienna Beef umbrellas.

Hot Dog with Everything

I love the hot dogs and always get a gravy bread which is a must have menu item for any respectable southside beef or hot dog joint. The one other thing that I would consider their specialty is the strip steak sandwich. I love a good steak sandwich but sometimes dislike them when you have to wrestle the meat apart and its hard to eat. But at O'Malley's they know how to do a steak sandwich proper. You might get a little resistance here or there but nothing too bad, the steak is full of flavor and tender. It comes made to your preference and on a garlic toasted french bun...Yum! I would recommend getting it with just grilled onions. It's easily one of the best steak sandwiches in town and aside from the regulars not too many people know this.

Gravy bread is a childhood favorite of mine

Morrie O'Malley's is a straight shot from Comiskey and has parking for fans attending the game during all homestands. You really cant beat parking there and ending your night with a snack from there too, it'll be great win or lose. When O'Malley's first got started with their hot dog trailer the White Sox had a 3rd year SS named Ozzie Guillen and a 2nd year OF named Kenny Williams. Old teammates now working with each other and fighting over Twitter. The 1988 team also had a future Cy Young winner in Jack McDowell and the men with the statues in and outside the ballpark-Harold Baines and HOF'er Carlton Fisk.

I will also admit that I also don't know what to expect from this years White Sox team. They are in a tough div where they, the Tigers or the Twins could win and the Wild Card wont be coming out of the AL Central. They have good pitching and not so good hitting. The season is already off to a shaky start with Ozzie being denied a Twitter account and then his son being fired for being dumb. I have a feeling that just like the Cubs will, the White Sox will have a new manger in the dugout in 2011. I think Ozzie Guillen will be in Atlanta. I'm setting the 2010 White Sox wins at 85 wins. Either way the dogs and steak sandwich at O'Malley's will win 162 games a year, they're never losers.

Morrie O'Malley's Strip Steak Sandwich

Morrie O'Malley's Hot Dogs
3501 South Union Avenue
Chicago, IL 60609-1629
(773) 247-2700

Morrie O'Malley's Hot Dogs on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ferro's Beef

--Got Beef? Italian Beef
as seen on 'What's Your Beef?'

Ferro's is one of those places that almost everyone has seen while driving southbound on the Dan Ryan. It sits on the corner of 31st in Bridgeport overlooking the highway and is the definition of a street and sans type eating spot. I have been to Ferro's maybe five or six times in my life but had not been there in over three years until early this past month. I figured then and there was as good of a time as ever to check it out for the beef blog.

familiar sight along the Dan Ryan?

I swear that nothing had changed since the last time I was in there. Same people eating the same things and same people behind the counter making them. Its all in the area over at this place. The menu is about as broad as you can get for a Chicago style fast food joint. It includes all the regulars like beef, dogs, breaded steak and sausage along with burgers and all things breakfast. It doesn't try to be anything but what it is and that's a good place to get a quick, cheap and filling meal. Its been serving the blue collar people of the area for as long as I've been around. While the menu list is long and takes a half day to read there are only two things I have ever gotten-Italian beef and Italian Ice.

As far as Italian ice goes this is some of the best to be had in the city. Its a damn shame they only have it for 3 months of the year because its good enough to eat in the winter. All flavors are made with fresh fruit so there's lots of chunks of whatever flavor you get. The most important thing to a good Italian ice is fresh fruit and lots of it but the next most important thing is the consistency of the ice. Its perfect at Ferro's so that its a smooth texture with no clumps whatsoever. It just might be the best Italian ice in the city of it.

Cantelope Ice is perfect on a hot day before or after a Sox game

Now I had remembered enjoying the beef on my last visit but that had to be at least five years ago if not longer. I wish I could say the same for my most recent visit but it was nothing to write home about and I live just a few miles down over on the Northside. What it did have going for it was it being some of the thinnest sliced beef I've come across since keeping score. Unfortunately that was about all it had going. The gravy was without a doubt straight from a metal can and tasted like it was made with boullin cubes and not the actual drippings from a roast beef. Which is probably because they don't make the beef in house. The hot peppers and bread were ok but that's it...just ok. I will stick with the Italian ice which is some of the best anywhere.

beef with hot from Ferro's

Rating Scale 5/5

beef: 3
bread: 3
gravy: 1
hot peppers: 3

Score: 10/20

200 W 31st St
Chicago, IL 60616-3702
(312) 842-0702

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Great Uncle of Beef

--Got Beef? Italian Beef

News from chibbqking: Introducing "Whats your beef?" a sister site to this one except its all beef all the time over there. While you will still be able to read all the upcoming beef stand reviews on this site they will appear on WYB first. Spread the word to any beef fans.

Welcome back beefies, off to da south side we go for stop number twelve on the Chicago beef tour. Over on 35th st. in Bridgeport is Uncle Johnny's grocery & deli, the definition of a ma & pa grocery shop. My man Johnny does a grocery business with a fully stacked deli meat case including homemade Italian sausage as well as hot sandwiches like beef, sausage, meatball and cold cuts, also available are all your pasta needs as well as drinks and a few toiletries.

Ole Uncle Johnny's

I rarely make it to the stomping grounds of Cell Block #9 but a few times a year and that's when the real fans of the Northside invade Comiskey and piss off Ozzie that his team has an away game at home and then there's those times when I'm doing some real eating. Chicago is referred to as the world's largest neighborhood due to the fact its a bunch of different vibrant neighborhoods in what also happens to be one the largest city's in the world as far as square miles. The Bridgeport neighborhood is home to the White Sox and quite a few long time neighborhood taverns and independent food spots and a few hot headed locals that have all been there more than a few decades. Its this type of stuff that makes Bridgeport one of Chicago's most notable and for that matter real neighborhoods. Its at Uncle Johnny's Grocery where you can find my favorite beef in the area.

The Whole menu is great at Johnny's

I just happened to find Johnny's randomly one day a few summers ago and have been back quite a few times since. This Italian beef reminds me of a few spots that are long gone from Taylor St. It really fits the mold of an old school beef. Its an old family beef recipe that they serve in both six and foot long options and is served on a homemade bread from a local bakery that isn't Gonnella which it gives it its own character. I think the beef is above average and the gravy is better than good while the unique bread reminds me of different beefs from my youth. My only real beef with Johnny's is that they use the local canned giardinara they sell in store on the beef but thats not really a big deal because its not bad at all, I just like when the peppers are made in house. On top of the fact they do one of the south sides better Italian beef sandwiches its also one of the best deals on a beef in the city.

a large from Uncle Johnny's is how it should be

Over at Uncle Johnny's you pay the same price you would at most other spots around town for double the beef and you cant beat that. He takes care of you like that uncle of yours always did around family parties when he slipped you $20 in cash for grabbing beers when you were a young lad. I'll never root for the White Sox but I'm one of Johnny's biggest fans.

Beef wit hot from Uncle Johnny's

Rating Scale 5/5

beef: 3
bread: 4
gravy: 5
hot peppers: 3

Score: 15/20

Uncle Johnny's Grocery
500 W 32nd St
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 225-6111


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