British-inspired savory treats in Bridgeport

June 17, 2011 (CHICAGO)

It's making everything in-house, just like the owners' grandmother did back in England, and the Hungry Hound says the flavor combinations are truly memorable.

The boozy biscuit trifle on the front counter is a calling card of sorts.

"Pleasant House Bakery is our dream come true. It's our little pie shop, not pie in the traditional sense, but pie in a savory sense. So we pack all kinds of all natural meats into our little personal pies," said Arthur Jackson, owner of the Bakery.

Jackson and his staff butcher their own meat, make their own crust, and stamp each pie with an antique device that harkens back to another era.

"It's definitely British-inspired. My family is from England; my grandmother had a lot of influence on me growing up in the culinary world, and so this sort of just kinda came about organically, but at the same time is like an homage to her," Jackson said.

Just down the street is one of Jackson's mini-gardens, where he grows Swiss chard, radishes and baby romaine, all of which will be used at the bakery. Some will be used for salads, others in the pies themselves.

The Balti features chicken and is topped with a sprinkle of nijella seeds. A side of coriander chutney makes a fine accent.

There's also a hearty steak and ale with potatoes, which you could opt to get with a side of mashed potatoes buried in gravy, or even some British-style minted peas.

Another meaty option is the traditional Cornish pasty - more crescent-shaped - but also filled with beef and potatoes.

Vegetarians will love the mushroom and kale pie - a surprisingly hearty option.

On Fridays, they feature beer-battered fish and chips, and every day they have one or two homemade sodas available.

"Once we get up and going, we will be doing all kinds of different seasonal fillings and exciting things. Cold pies as well," said Jackson.

So Pleasant House is a bakery, and it specializes in pies, but don't expect to see any blueberry or raspberry here. It's all about the savory pies. And if you're homesick for England, well, you've come to the right place.

The bakery maintains at least three different gardens around the city to grow its produce.

Pleasant House Bakery
964 W. 31st St.

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