Bridgid’s in Fairmount Ups Its Game

For more than 20 years, Bridgid’s in Fairmount has been a neighborhood place with fine, though not remarkable, food. It was also the first place – and still the only one in Philly – to pour Yards through its gravity tap. But now, in the wake of the foodaphilia currently gripping Philadelphia, a decision has been made to develop the food side of things.

Over the past few months, the restaurant’s interior has been redone. The menu has been changed and new chef, Dave Clarke (former sous at Morimoto and exec sous at Osteria–which is a damn fine resume for a guy running the line at a neighborhood joint), has taken over ops in the kitchen.

“We decided to renovate now because we feel that the Art Museum area is really coming into its own,” said Chris Ryan (son of Bridgid’s owner, who also happens to be named Chris Ryan). “We want to be a part of this.”

To do so, the owners tore out the first-floor kitchen to expand the dining room, then rebuilt the galley upstairs with modern amenities and a location where diners have a direct line of sight to the cooking area. The floors of the first- and second-story dining rooms have been redone with hardwood and, as a finishing touch, the lighting has been re-done to make the whole place dimmer and more cozy.

Then there’s the menu–redone now to focus on American seasonal cuisine with some Italian influences. That means dishes like roasted cauliflower ravioli, butternut squash and grilled radicchio Treviso. And before you regulars get too worried, Bridgid’s has also written a separate bar menu where your wings, blackened chicken quesadilla and fries now live.

One thing that has stayed the same? The bar. Bridgid’s was already known for its rotating cast of some of the best beers you can buy, and for bartenders who knew their beer from a chocolate malt. None of that has changed. So whether you’re in the mood for a Kasteel Triple or a Rochefort, just tell the folks behind the long oak what ya like, or try to stump them.

Good luck on that last one, though.