PILSEN — Waffles and pancakes abound at Bistro 18, a new breakfast and lunch spot that officially opened last week.
The restaurant, which had its first seating last Thursday at 1640 W. 18th St., has about 15 white paper-covered tables, on top of which sit delicate blue-patterned coffee cups and little green succulent plants. Entrées arrive on white plates.
Chef and co-owner Rafael Bautista said it’s the straightforwardness behind the concept and the dishes which he hopes will attract diners.
“Some places in the neighborhood, they try to do a lot of fusion, but in the end it doesn’t work. We’re gonna keep it simple,” the 43-year-old chef said.
Bautista, a veteran cook at the downtown Sheraton Towers Hotel, has lived in Bridgeport with his wife and Bistro 18 co-owner Jessy Sanchez for over 20 years. Living in close proximity to Pilsen, he said he saw the lack of more Americanized breakfast options like waffles and omelets.
In addition to the pancake and Belgian waffles (both of which can be ordered with blueberry, banana, strawberry or chocolate chips), diners will also see more traditional Mexican dishes like huevos rancheros and an Al Pastor wrap.
For lunch, the Bistro rolls out a house-made turkey burger packed with sage, applesauce and green onion on a potato bun with a "killer green slaw" made with spinach, roasted jalapenos and ranch dressing.
In addition to burgers, the restaurant also serves a “Porky Boy” sandwich, a breaded pork shoulder with Oaxaca cheese, onions and roasted poblano pepper.
Drinks include homemade milkshakes and aqua frescas (fresh fruit drinks).
The dinner menu is smaller and has several salads and rotating specials (currently a bone-in 12-ounce pork steak for $17 and a 12-ounce Kansas City steak for $23).
Breakfast and lunch entrees average $6-$10. Bistro 18 is cash only and is open daily from 9 a.m.–7 p.m.