It’s not often that restaurants tell customers to shut up and eat, but patrons at Bridgid’s on 24th Street and Fairmount Avenue pay for it.
Inspired by chef and restaurateur Peter McAndrews, “Shut Up ‘n Eat” is a special where customers pay $5 to get whatever the chef feels like bringing out to them. “Shut Up ‘n Eat” specials are offered at the restaurant from 11 p.m. to midnight and are only extended to those 21 and over since it’s served at the bar.
Meals are chosen at random, ranging from potato chips and a burger to brioche and froie gras.
Sous-chef Sarai Williams, who has been in the food industry for about 15 years, said the concept was created to get folks in for the drinks.
“They have a huge selection [of beer],” said Kevin Goff, a senior film major at Temple. “They represent Philly a little because they have Yards on tap and in bottles.”
The Belgian bar has more than 60 beers in cans and bottles, including gluten-free varieties. In addition, it has a dozen beers on tap that come from the Brooklyn Brewery, Allagash Brewing Company in Portland, Maine and Belgium.
Yards Brewing Company has installed two of its own gravity taps, which hang from the ceiling.
After a drink or two, plates are brought out. Each meal is a creation of the Italian-American McAndrews, who opened Bridgid’s more than 27 years ago.
McAndrews owns restaurants across the Philadelphia area, including Modo Mio – meaning “My Way” in Italian – Monsu, Popolino, which means “Common People” in Italian, La Porta and sandwich shop Paesano’s Philly Style.
“[Bridgid’s] is a good deal, the bartender is really nice and you talk to random people because it is a very homey atmosphere,” said Temple senior film major Kara Lieff. “We’ve been coming every Tuesday. Every time you come you get something different and amazingly delicious.”
She and her date, Goff, said they had what may have been “the best burger breakfast sandwich ever.” On what may have been brioche, there was a beef patty, fried egg, bacon and, well, they were not sure what else. The two said it was “too good” to consider the individual components.
Others were served, but not limited to, bowtie pasta with marinara sauce, meatballs and a saba glaze drizzled on top. The few who pushed their luck for dessert received banana bread with salted caramel, pistachios and fig vanilla ice cream.
The “homey” atmosphere draws the eye to the tightly packed bar right upon entering. The dining room is in the back with a fireplace. There is also a second floor, though it is sometimes hard to find a seat. Bridgid’s “Shut Up ‘n Eat” deal is first come, first serve.
“Typically on Fridays, this whole room is packed,” Williams said. “[There is] good music, including live bands on Mondays, good food, it’s pretty intense and you have to come more than once.”
Toby Forstater can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org