“A Bridgeport staple near the home of the White Sox is closing next week, ending its long history serving diner classics and its famed corned beef sandwich on the South Side.
“Bridgeport Restaurant, 3500 S. Halsted St., will close June 30, owners Irais and Josie Rodriguez confirmed. They are trying to sell the business.
“Looking to retire, the Rodriguezes put the restaurant up for sale in 2019. The couple has owned and operated the restaurant for about 15 years, almost always working seven days a week, Irais Rodriguez said. Now, they’re ready to close and spend more time with family.
“‘In this area, we’ve had customers for so many years. It’s kind of sad, they don’t want me to go,’ he said. ‘But they understand that we’ve been working for so many years here.’
“Also known as Bridgeport Family Restaurant, the diner has been in the neighborhood at least 75 years, Irais Rodriguez previously said. It has long been known for its steak and eggs, melts and the 35th Street Special Sandwich: sliced corned beef and sauerkraut topped with Swiss cheese.
“‘We have so many memories with people in the neighborhood,’ Irais Rodriguez said. ‘We’ve been in some TV shows, ‘Chicago P.D.’ and ‘Chicago Fire,’ and those memories will always stay with my family and my kids. I’ll miss everyone around here, but it has to come to an end somehow.’ (Mathewes, Block Club Chicago, 6/23/22)
A few doors down from the Bridgeport Restaurant, Preservation Chicago saved the Ramova Grill art deco fixtures over ten years ago and gifted them to Benton Settlement House where they have been reinstalled in the community room of the gymnasium building. In partnership with owner Grazina “Gina” Biciunas-Santoski, we also helped to coordinate the donation of the Healthy Foods Lithuanian Restaurant fixtures, which closed after 70 years, to Benton House a few years later.
Bridgeport Restaurant Closing Beloved Diner After More Than 7 Decades; The last day of service will be June 30. Irais Rodriguez said he and his family are deeply appreciative of all of their customers through the years, Francesca Mathewes, Block Club Chicago, 6/23/22
Beloved Bridgeport Restaurant to close after decades of feeding South Side, The owners were bombarded with calls once news of the Bridgeport institution’s closure spread. “We know we are always busy, but the way they think about the food, and about everything is amazing,” co-owner Josie Rodriguez said, Mariah Rush, Chicago Sun-Times 6/27/22