The Lost Reviews: Merritt Canteen


A throwback like “whoa!”
Every now and then I feel the need to bust one out of the vault and pay tribute to an oldie, but a goodie.
No, Merritt Canteen isn’t flashy, it’s not gourmet, it’s far from five star, but I’ll be damned if it’s not a great quick stop for burgers, dogs and the like. MC is reliable, it gets the job done, it’s delightfully greasy and satisfying and it’s certainly spicy if you’re a chili dog kinda guy (or gal).
Merritt Canteen is a place that I always knew about, but never stopped, even after many trips to the Trumbull Mall for school shopping adventures with the fam. MC would’ve been great had I stopped in then, after all, I had a boy’s husky section reputation to maintain. Discovering it as an adult though was just fine, I suppose, but now I don’t have those handy elastic waist jeans to assist the eating process. 
So one day after I finished shopping at the mall, this time in my mid-20s, no husky section necessary, I finally drove down the street and stopped by the busy Merritt Canteen during prime time lunch hours, starving, a perfect time for the fast food trifecta; a burger, a dog, and fries.
I stood in line briefly while I pondered what type of each item I wanted. It was sort of intimidating to place an order because they call you up as if you’re getting selected to participate in The Hunger Games. The cashiers get mad props and I witnessed one who remembered every order without writing anything down, some were massively large orders too. I peered further into the action packed kitchen and everyone back there was after it on their stations. It’s quite an impressive sight.
Bam! Burger with bacon, fried egg, cheese, red onion, swirl of Heinz.

Crinkle, crinkle 😛
I settled on a bacon, egg & cheese burger, a chili-cheese dog, and classic crinkle cuts. The short wait was over, I picked up my grub and crashed at a booth to put in some work on the food on my tray.
The burger at MC was a solid roadside sandwich; greasy, some crunch from the red onion, topped with just ketchup and egg and bacon on a burger is never a bad choice. The crinkle cuts were nothing spectacular but they got the job done. The star, for me, was the hellishly hot chili dog. I didn’t know what to expect when I took that first bite but it took my breath away. Now that I was prepped for the spiciness I was good to go and devoured it. I secretly wanted another but without those elastic waist jeans I might have worn when I was 12 or 13 I knew it would be a mistake. 
Dat chili dog tho…
It has been at least a year since I’ve been at Merritt Canteen and I’m having some real chili dog withdrawals and I’ve woken up in cold sweats because I do dream of chili. If spicy is not your deal though, MC has a bunch of different burgers, wings, grinders, salads (if you’re healthy like that), seafood, and breakfast stuff that’s offered all day long, baby.
We don’t love that goof, Guy Fieri, but he did drop by Merritt Canteen once, and we agree it’s a dive and we mean that with all types of affection. If you’re at the mall, skip the food court and definitely don’t go to that dreadful cheesecake place (we can only forgive you for going to Popeye’s). Instead, you should absolutely hit up Merritt Canteen, a truly awesome dive. P.S., bring those elastic waist jeans or sweats.
Merritt Canteen
4355 Main Street
Bridgeport, CT 06606
(203) 372-1416

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Cecilia says:

    You got me at “hellishly hot chili dog”! Adding this to my list of places to try.

    Like

  2. I love a spicy chili dog. Another place to try for a really hot one is Danny's Drive-In in Stratford.

    Like

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