BRIDGEPORT — Ciao, Calabruzzi’s.
The neighborhood Italian restaurant at 3304 S. Halsted St. has shifted gears after two-plus years, changing the concept to a sports bar called Thirty3.
"Calabruzzi's just wasn't working out. [Head cook] Angelo [Mandile] and I talked about it and we tried to go with a different concept. We figured a sports bar would work far better than an Italian restaurant. It's a lot more lively of a place now," said Frank Fratto, the bar and grill's new owner.
While a few menu holdovers from Calabruzzi's will remain — they'll serve a slightly different version of the restaurant's pizza, plus pasta and Italian sandwiches, including an acclaimed homemade sausage sandwich — the restaurant will largely serve bar fare like burgers and fried appetizers.
"We've gotten nothing but compliments about the food," said Fratto, 31, of Bridgeport.
"We're trying to get people back in here to try it again. Tell us what you think. If something's wrong, we'll fix it," he said.
For now, the bar is offering a couple dozen brands of bottled beers, with plans to work in some craft beers soon. Fratto said he plans to install a tap sometime soon.
To lure sports fans, the bar has been running drink specials during football and hockey games, and the TVs on Sunday are tuned to the NFL Red Zone channel, which shows scoring highlights and fantasy football updates on Sundays.
Thirty3 is also running a buy one, get one free deal on large pizzas. The deal runs through Oct. 31.
Rosanna Mandile, former Calabruzzi's co-owner who said she's "retired" from the family business, mourned the loss of the cafe but said customers can count on the best of her father Angelo's cooking.
"It's sad because it was a nice little Italian restaurant," she said.
Thirty3 Bar and Grill is at 3304 S. Halsted St. and can be reached by calling 773-247-9999. The kitchen is open 4-11 p.m. Mondays to Fridays and noon-11 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The bar is open until 2 a.m. nightly.