Merritt Canteen

4355 Main Street, Bridgeport, CT

It’s Saturday night and you and your friends are in a cab, heading back to campus after raging at Lantern Point all night. The night has bled into the wee hours of Sunday morning, and although you’re done partying for the night, you just begin to realize how hungry you are.

As we all know, Fairfield doesn’t exactly have an abundance of places to get a bite to eat after about 10 p.m. Another example of how disconnected the town of Fairfield is from student life, the downtown area closes at about 10 or 11 p.m. Luckily, there is a place in Bridgeport where you can get all the greasy, delicious grub you want on the weekends even as early as 4 a.m.: the Merritt Canteen.

The Merritt Canteen is notorious among students of Sacred Heart University, but if they want to come to the Seagrape Café and invade Fairfield Beach, it only seems fair that Fairfield students should be allowed to infiltrate their dining establishments.

What you notice upon entering the Merritt Canteen is how un-Fairfield it is, for lack of a better phrase. You order at a counter, not through a waiter or waitress. The food isn’t served on plates, as if they’re trying to trick you into thinking that you aren’t at a diner. The grilled cheese with bacon, which was prepared how my grandmother makes them for me, was served to me wrapped in parchment paper on a paper plate.

One of the best things about the Merritt Canteen is how affordable it is. For $12, I got a grilled cheese with bacon, a cup of clam chowder and a monstrosity of a strawberry milkshake. I almost had to be wheeled out the door because I was so full. It puts over-priced places, such as Fairfield’s Circle Diner, to shame. The only thing that gives Circle Diner an edge over Merritt Canteen is their breakfast selection. Otherwise, it’s at the very least a toss-up between the two.

The place doesn’t have any frills or embellishments. It’s a diner. There’s a good chance that whatever you order will be either slathered in butter, deep-fried or smothered in chocolate. There’s a refreshing element to the simplicity and goodness that you find at the Merritt Canteen.

So the next time you get home from a night out but just aren’t ready to call it quits without having a good feed, call up that friend who stayed home all night and posted up reading for his Econ class and get him to drive you over to the Merritt Canteen.

You might have to mingle with some SHU kids, but they aren’t that bad, are they? Are they?

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