Shared from the 6/19/2019 Connecticut Post eEdition

New restaurants on the menu for Black Rock


Thomas Burns / Contributed photo

The Blind Rhino in Bridgeport opened on June 4, bringing its downtown Norwalk vibe into the Black Rock mix.


Jordan Grice / Hearst Connecticut Media

Chris Scott, head chef and owner of Birdman Juke Joint in Bridgeport.

A pair of highly anticipated restaurants are giving foodies a new reason to stop in Bridgeport.

Blind Rhino and Birdman Juke Joint have opened their doors in Black Rock over the last few weeks, bringing unique flavors and plenty of buzz to their locations along Fairfield Avenue in time for summer.

“People have been waiting almost a full year for us to finish up construction and everything,” said Chris Scoot, head Chef and owner of Birdman Juke Joint which opened on Thursday at 2931 Fairfield Ave in the former Naughty Water Whiskey Bar and Grille.

The New York resident said he opened to waves of people looking to try his Southern cuisine and it hasn’t let up.

“It’s been difficult to keep up with the droves of people that are coming in,” Scott said.

His culinary fame — along with a pre-summer opening — have contributed to the rush, according to Scott, who was finalist on “Top Chef” last season.

After closing his Brooklyn-based restaurant, Scott said, he had hoped to hit the ground running in Bridgeport with his menu of “authentic” soul food selections. Bringing three decades of fine dining experience to the kitchen, he said he is looking to break stereotypes surrounding the Southern food.

“A lot of people always assume that Southern food is just about fried chicken, watermelon, and red velvet, but a lot of what true Southern cuisine is, it’s always based around the agriculture,” he said. “A lot of what we did (back then), we grew ourselves and we fed to our families.”

While fried chicken is on the menu, Birdman Juke Joint offers an array of Southern fare, like Cornmeal Crusted Catfish and BBQ Rib Sandwiches. Scott said he is offering a mix of vegetarian items as well.

The Blind Rhino is bringing its own following to Black Rock, less than a mile from Birdman Juke Joint, realizing a goal that co-owner Casey Dohme said was set in motion two years ago.

“We’re excited to finally be open,” Dohme said.

He and partners Matt Bacco and Jamie Pantanella opened the new sports bar and restaurant earlier this month at 3425 Fairfield Ave. It’s the second location under the Blind Rhino banner.

Their first, which they opened in 2015, has been a mainstay in downtown Norwalk. The trio is hoping to do the same in Bridgeport.

“It’s our Norwalk concept on steroids, and we’re all pretty proud of it,” he said. “I think, and we think it came out better than we thought.”

The new sports bar features a similar menu to its predecessor, including its chicken wings and sauce, which earned recognition in the 2017 and 2018 Connecticut Wing Fest.

The space will also feature a 24-tap bar, serving a rotating list of craft and domestic beers.

Along with its TV-line walls and bar games, Blind Rhino also has an outdoor patio, a front deck and a bocce court.

Blind Rhino is open Monday through Thursday 4:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Friday and Saturday from noon to 2 a.m.; and on Sunday from noon to 1 a.m.

Birdman Juke Joint is open Monday through Thursday 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

See this article in the e-Edition Here
Edit Privacy