Since they were kids, husband and wife duo behind Pleasant House, Art and Chelsea Jackson, have always dreamt of becoming chefs and opening up their own restaurants. So that’s exactly what they did. They both attended cooking school and started working in the kitchens of some of top fine dining restaurants in the nation. After working in notable restaurants like Les Nomades in Chicago and 5th Floor (recently reborn in 2014 as Dirty Habit) in San Francisco, they both decided it was time to have a restaurant to call their own; enter Pleasant House Bakery. In 2010, Pleasant House Bakery opened up their doors in Bridgeport, a south side neighbourhood in Chicago. Originally a hot dog stand, they converted it to accommodate roughly 20 seats plus outdoor seating to serve their British style savory pies. Art Jackson says he was given the idea from his grandmother who told him that if he ever opened up his own restaurant that he should sell pies.
Chelsea explains that the name of their restaurant was inspired from the house her father-in-law grew up in in Yorkshire, England as a kid. Still standing and looking out to the rolling and lush hills of the rural country in Yorkshire, the original 1800s cottage home was coined Pleasant House and dates back to a time before numbered addresses were assigned to homes (reputedly a Napoleonic idea that was introduced mid-nineteenth century when the postal service was in the process of becoming more efficient). The name made such a strong impression on the Jackson family that Art’s aunt and uncle built another home in the eighties in Grand Cayman island also calling it Pleasant House in tribute to the home they grown up. Chelsea jokes and says they can now properly claim that Pleasant House has been in three different countries and five different states.
While their menu isn’t fully stacked, it offers exactly what they specialize in; a “savory British-y pies to die for” as dubbed by Bon Appetit. I ordered their Steak and Ale pie, with a side of coriander chutney, deluxe mash and one of their bright pilsners. I didn’t ask too much more about their brewery but learned that all of their beers are brewed on site by head brewer, Gloria Fahim, who comes from other very well known breweries in the area like Greenbush Brewing Company and Figure Eight Brewery.
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