Bacon buns from Bridgeport Bakery; a beer at Maria's; Pasty from Pleasant… (Hillary Higgins/RedEye )
No disrespect toward salads, but sometimes winter in Chicago—combined with holiday stress—requires more substantial meals. You know, the type that your grandma would refer to as "sticking to your ribs." When you find yourself in search of carbohydrates, pot pies and a bacon-filled breakfast, head to Bridgeport. This cozy residential neighborhood offers all three delights within a walkable half-mile trip—and remember, you can always resolve to eat more greens in the new year.
First: Bridgeport Bakery
2907 S. Archer Ave. 773-523-1121
If you want, nay, need to get your hands on the much-prized bacon buns ($0.90) at this 30-plus-year-old bakery, best to arrive early—doors open at 5 a.m.—or call ahead to reserve them. If you don't make it in time, there are plenty of chocolate cake doughnuts ($0.75) as well as ham and cheese croissants ($1.95) baked fresh each morning.
Next: Pleasant House Bakery
964 W. 31st St. 773-523-7437
This tiny husband-and-wife operation is an altogether different type of bakery from the previous stop. The focus is on British-style savory pies ($7.95), with golden, noticeably buttery crusts that flake apart to reveal fillings such as mushroom and kale, curried chicken or steak and herbs. First-time visitors may question how much to order, but be advised that one of the hefty pies and a side dish such as the Scotch egg ($4) or deluxe gravy fries ($5) will test your waistband.
Last: Maria's Packaged Goods and Community Bar
960 W. 31st 773-890-0588
Mere feet from Pleasant House, Maria's has operated as a liquor store and bar since 1986, though it refreshed its interior (and tap list) in 2010 when Maria Marszewski's sons took over. Now, it's a relaxed hangout with an impressive selection of American and Belgian beers on draft, plus literally hundreds more in bottles. Spirits drinkers can choose from solidly priced barrel-aged and seasonal cocktails ($8-$16) that span the liquor spectrum.
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