BRIDGEPORT — Bridgeport Restaurant, a longtime diner anchoring a prominent corner near Sox Park, is up for sale.
Owner Irais Rodriguez plans to sell the restaurant and retire, although he will maintain ownership of the building at 3500 S. Halsted St., he said Tuesday.
“I will miss it, but I’m by myself, and it’s too much work,” Rodriguez said, citing health problems as part of the reason he decided to retire. He has owned Bridgeport Restaurant for 11 years, but its history stretches back decades — by Rodriguez’s estimate, as long as 75 years.
Rodriguez also plans to sell his other restaurant, La Mexicana, a taqueria near the Bridgeport Restaurant building at 815 W. 35th St.
Still, Rodriguez said he’s not quite ready to say goodbye to longtime customers and wants to find the right person to take over the restaurant. “I’m not in a hurry [to sell],” he said.
Bridgeport Restaurant is listed for $627,000 by the Chicago-based Century 21 SGR real estate group. While currently open from 6 a.m.-3 p.m., Bridgeport Restaurant had a long history of being open 24 hours per day.
Also known as Bridgeport Family Restaurant, the diner has long been a staple for neighbors looking to enjoy classics like steak and eggs, melts and the 35th Street Special Sandwich—sliced corned beef and sauerkraut topped with Swiss cheese.
The news comes just days after another neighborhood institution, Bridgeport Bakery, announced plans to close after more than 47 years in business.
Rachel Dolan, who lives a couple blocks from the restaurant, said it’s been a favorite of hers for years, and she eats there a couple times a week.
“It’s almost like feeling at home,” she said. “The customers that come in here are pretty much regulars, and the staff is really friendly.”
Dolan said she’s hopeful the new owner will keep things mostly the same in the future.
“It would be good if nothing changed, but they’ve got to do what they’ve got to do,” she said. “The neighborhood is growing, and some people don’t recognize a diamond in the rough when they see it.”
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