Where to Eat and Shop in Fairfield

The status report on where to eat and shop in Fairfield

Photograph: Venera Alexandrova

Downtown - 06824

Downtown Fairfield is ideal hunting grounds to score stuff and soak in the social scene

1. Roll With It
Young, fit and bored—grab a board and switch to a West Coast frame of mind. One stop into Day One Skate Shop proves skateboarding is hot on this coast, too—the shop is run by enthusiasts who will help you pick out the right board for you, and an awesome one, too, that will make a personal statement as you roll up. 1138 Post Rd., Fairfield, 203-331-9525; dayoneskateshop.com

2. Awwwh
Head to Magic Beans, and independently owned shop devoted to filling childhood with adorable toys and blankies and parenthood with awesomely cool strollers, car seats, high chairs and other essential baby gear. It’s bright and cheerful, too. 1530 Post Rd., Fairfield, 203-692-4317; mbeans.com

3. Life’s a Beach
With designer swimwear and clothing in hip styles at Swim n Surf Shop, you’ll feel good about shopping for the beach. It's like a boutique in a resort town—well stocked and stylish. 43 Unquowa Rd., Fairfield, 203-292-6351; swimnsurfshop.com

4. Bag It
If you find us shopping at Party Party all the time, it is because owner Mary Thornton exemplifies what is best about Fairfield’s small businesses: They know what Fairfielders want. For example, we recently found Bella Bag ($25), a tote made of easy-to-clean coated cotton. They come in a bunch of adorable patterns and can be monogrammed. 14 Sanford St., Fairfield, 203-292-9277; partypartyfairfield.com

5. Bling it on
When we dropped into Jenny Boston recently, we were delighted to find pretty tops, preppy bags, cheery scarves and lots of coastal-inspired jewelry for everyday. Coral, turquoise, white, we found sunburst necklaces and drop earrings that were so reasonably priced, they were zero-guilt splurges. 1300 Post Rd., 203-292-6334; jennyboston.com


Southport Village - 06890

Southport Village epitomizes old-school posh with these long-time faves

1. Driftwood Coffee Shop
Need to catch up on the latest neighborhood news over a good cup of joe? This classic diner is a friendly, tasty go-to. It's tiny, though, so if you go on Sunday, bring only your best friends; you’ll see lots of others when you’re digging into your plate of eggs and bacon ($6.95). 325 Pequot Ave., 203-255-1975

2. Spic & Span market
On your first visit, you might be surprised at how well this market and deli is stocked—even if you do go for your old favorite turkey sandwich ($6.75) with macaroni salad. The knick-knacks for around the house and easy shopping add to the place’s appeal. 329 Pequot Ave.,Southport, 203-259-1689; spicandspanmarket.com

3. Switzer’s Pharmacy
Old-school in the best of ways, Switzer’s, established in 1861, not only has your prescription needs covered, but also such things as greeting cards, soaps and Mason Pearson hair brushes ($70-$200). 322 Pequot Ave., 203-259-7891

4. Horseshoe Cafe
Strolling the sidewalk in Southport, you just might spot a horseshoe embedded in the cement. Stop, turn and enter the 1934 blacksmith shop turned cafe. The juicy half-pound burger runs $10.50; napkins are free and needed. Round of darts anyone? 355 Pequot Ave., Southport, 203-255-8624

5. Southport Pizza House
What is a town without a good pizza joint? Nothing, that's what. Southport can hold its head high with this place, which serves a mighty fine pie ($8.50 small).
295 Pequot Ave., 203-259-9843

6. Runk Douglas
Established in 1999, this English antiques and fine art shop beautifully fits within this elegant and historic village. 362 Pequot Ave., 203-254-7315; runkdouglasantiques.com


Black Rock Turnpike - 06825

Black Rock Turnpike is lined with quick food stops for busy shoppers

1. Qdoba Mexican Grill
Quesadillas, nachos, taco salad—these choices keep the kids happy. Fast and easy do wonders for mom and dad, too. If you buy at least $40 in Q-Cash EGift Cards in one transaction, you’ll get a free entree. Hello, Ancho Chile BBQ Burrito with grilled steak ($7.79). 2222 Black Rock Tpk., 203-333-9574; qdoba.com

2. Garden  Catering
Serving deli food and fries that seem to leave its fans rabidly loyal, this place is especially popular with students. Maybe its the Southern-style fried chicken or the onion rings—everything is just so shareable. The Special includes a half pound of white meat chicken nuggets, fries and free soda ($7.50). 2074 Black Rock Tpk., 203-870-8444; gardencatering.net

3. Black Rock Cafe
Like surprises? How about just great sandwiches and salads in an environment comfy enough to put kids at their ease while also indulging mom and dad's elevated taste. Just good food. Review the menu on the wall—and then good luck choosing. OK, yes, one surprise: the amazing truffle oil french fries. Now open for breakfast. 2449 Black Rock Tpk., 203-908-3456

4. Chilibomb
You are encouraged to bring out your inner mad scientist at Chilibomb to build your own hunger-busting weapon. Pricing can be confusing for those of us
who aren’t math whizzes; just know that kids meal are only $5.59. 2445 Black Rock Tpk., 203-372-2662; chilibomb.com

5. Country Cow Deli
This family-owned deli is a hot spot for teens, who, we all know, are known for huge appetites. You’ll find great grinders and sandwiches here and a bacon, egg, and cheese (BEC) sandwich ($3.78) praised far and wide. Cash only! 2505 Black Rock Tpk., 203-371-0303

6. Muscle Maker Grill
This is the first Connecticut location for Muscle Maker Grill, which offers lean, protein-based options in wraps, salads, burgers and more. All nutritional information is provided and dishes under 400 calories can be swallowed up for just around $6. 2075 Black Rock Tpk., 203-846-6833; musclemakergrill.com


Black Rock - 06605

Black Rock rocks your world with unique food and drink choices and deals

1. Walrus & Carpenter
A smokehouse and gastropub? Grab the  napkins. But before you dig into that plate of Maple-Bourbon Baby Back Ribs, coleslaw and cornbread (a steal at $15), get an education in lagers, stouts, ciders and ales (Ommegang Hop House, a Belgian pale ale, $7/glass). The finger-licking food also pairs nicely with a good Kentucky bourbon (say, Bakers, $16). Check online for live music dates and special dinners. 2895 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport, 203-333-2733; walruscarpenterct.com

2. Brennan’s Shebeen
 The Irish set the bar high when it comes to neighborhood pubs. They get good beer ($3 drafts during Happy Hour) and a good laugh. Oh, and the food. Pub fare here includes Shepherd’s Pie ($10.95), fish-n-chips ($10.95) or Irish spring rolls with corned beef, cabbage and potato ($9.95). Stop by on live music nights or Wednesdays for $6 Irish fare and trivia. 2652 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport, 203-870-9981; brennansshebeen.com

3. Tautog Tavern and Gastropub
Dinner out or weekend drinks, this place is made to meet up with friends while you totally fill your belly (think bangers and mash, steaks, burgers) and drown your thirst (beer, bourbon, and cocktails). And you should check the website for special events, like open mic night to catch local talent. 2926 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport, 203-916-7500; tautogtavern.com

4. Fire Engine Pizza Co.
Let’s get this out of the way: all pizza is good. But sometimes a special pie is a eye-closing, big-sigh treat.
Try the Kung Pow pizza: curried pulled chicken, peppers, onion, mozzarella, and toasted coconut ($19.99 for large). This place nails its beer menu as surely as it does its pizza choices. 2914 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport, 203-333-3473; thefireenginepizzaco.com

5. Bloodroot
With a golden reputation, this vegan and vegetarian restaurant is all about local, seasonal and organic food. Go with the flow—the food is prepared to soothe body and soul. Sunday brunch includes choices like sourdough pancakes with bananas or Port Salut omelet. It also offers its own cookbooks ($29.95 each, or $55 for both). 85 Ferris St., Bridgeport, 203-576-9168; bloodroot.com

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