My father and I stood on the 1900 block of
Bridgeport’s Main Street, overwhelmed.
From somewhere among the low, clapboard buildings and 90-year-old brick
tenements, a seductive aroma floated
through the air, smoky and sweet and
spicy, redolent of charring wood in an oil-drum grill. It was, unmistakably, Jamaican
jerk chicken, and it put us in a bit of a bind.
For as much as we wanted to follow
our noses to McGhie’s Caribbean—
a foreboding, nearly windowless restaurant that was the aroma’s apparent
source—we had to think strategically.
We had only just emerged from lunch at
Taqueria La Michoacana, an unassuming
Mexican restaurant next to a liquor store,
and we were, at least in theory, stuffed and
satisfied. Were we really ready to eat again,
especially in McGhie’s? With its tiny,
thick, opaque glass windows, it looked
like the kind of bar where you could disappear for an afternoon—or a weekend.
Meanwhile, across the street was El
Idolo #2, an Ecuadoran restaurant promising authentic ceviche, while up a few
yards was Escamilla, a diner serving Salvadoran pupusas alongside cheeseburgers.
Around the corner was the Pombal
Bakery, where we surely had to pick up
some Portuguese egg tarts. And in fact,
all over Bridgeport—the down-on-its-luck Park City that was once home to P. T.
Barnum—were restaurants representing
the best of Central America, Turkey, Brazil and beyond. Only one thing, we knew,
was for sure: This might be the most
exciting place to eat in Connecticut.
All the World Comes to Bridgeport
To anyone familiar with Bridgeport’s
recent history, this may come as