Ed Marszewski is fond of calling Bridgeport the community of the future. Well, to stay viable in a turbulent restaurant world, he says a change was necessary as one of the city’s best pizzerias is closing.
Don’t shed too many tears for Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream, the pizzeria next to Maria’s Community Bar & Tavern. Customers will still be able to order the pizza if they venture to suburban Westmont. Bridgeport’s version of Dr. Frankenstein’s monster focuses on what Marszewski calls the neighborhood’s “core food groups.” PFIC started in March 2020 as a way to harness the collective talents of a trio, called Eat Free Pizza. Before PFIC, they offered free pizza meals to Instagram followers; call it a special kind of focus group. At PFIC were joined by Kimski chef Won Kim who created a special double-fried chicken (and a gorgeous breaded portobello mushroom). Also along for the ride was Dana Salls Cree’s frozen sticks from Pretty Cream Ice Cream based in Logan Square.
“It was meant to be a mini food hall,” says Marszewski, whose family owns Maria’s and Marz Community Brewing.
At first, PFIC focused on Sicilian squares before the pandemic led them to zero in on Chicago thin crust. Their version of tavern pizza quickly ascended as one of the best examples of the style. Those Sicilian squares will be available on Fridays through the end of December.
But even the most successful bands eventually say farewell. Marszewski says the parties couldn’t find a way to make the business sustainable. Marszewski insists relations are good between all involved. Eaters can continue to enjoy the work of Eat Free Pizza’s Billy and Cecily Federighi and Brad Shorten if they drive about 25 miles southwest of Kimski and head to another Marszewski operation. This one is a collaboration with Eat Free Pizza, who are co-owners. Kim’s Uncle Pizza opened in August in Westmont. As youngsters, the Marszewskis worked at the pizzeria that proceeded theirs in the Kim’s Uncle Space. Buying the restaurant brought everything full circle for the Marszewskis.
With PFIC closing on December 30, there’s an upcoming vacancy in the space that housed the original location of Pleasant House Bakery. Marszewski says he’s not ready to share his vision for the future of the PFIC space.
But with chef Kim on sabbatical, Kimski has been hosting month-long pop-ups, giving chefs a sample of what it would be like to run a restaurant. Marszewski is keen on giving them a taste and supporting would-be entrepreneurs. But with the PFIC space opening up, this could also provide a chance for a chef to impress and eventually find a permanent home next door.
Stay tuned for any announcements.