Merritt Canteen

Review by: Michael Stern

A beloved Bridgeport dive since 1942, the Merritt Canteen serves a chili dog that will make your mouth glow for hours after you eat it. The dog is a snappy natural-casing tube steak deep fried until crunch-crusted, nestled in a lightly-toasted bun. The chili isn’t meaty; it is a thin sauce very much like the notorious Kuhn’s chili: ferociously hot, and an ideal complement for the wiener below. If you are pyromaniacally inclined, the Canteen offers not only a chili dog (which the menu on the wall calls “extremely hot”) but also “brutal dog,” which is a quarter-pound, super-spiced red hot topped with chili (“Extremely HOT!. No Refunds,” warns the menu).

Other than the chili dogs, there are fried onion dogs, bacon dogs, cole slaw dogs and cheese dogs as well as all sorts of hamburgers including a bacon-and-egg-burger, a veggie burger and a bison burger. Condiments are applied by the staff. While hot dogs and hamburgers are ordered from a quick-service window, a slightly slower-service window offers hero sandwiches (here known as grinders), and a whole fried seafood menu, including whole-belly clams, shrimp, and calamari. Breakfast is served all day.

Accommodations are spare, as you’d expect in a quick-eats joint on Main Street: laminate booths, a “claw machine” that offers chances to pick up plush toys, and an ATM for those in need of cash.

Directions & Hours

  • Monday: 8:00 AM – 12:00 AM
  • Tuesday: 8:00 AM – 12:00 AM
  • Wednesday: 8:00 AM – 12:00 AM
  • Thursday: 8:00 AM – 1:00 AM
  • Friday: 8:00 AM – 1:00 AM
  • Saturday: 8:00 AM – 1:00 AM
  • Sunday: 8:00 AM – 12:00 AM

What To Eat

Hot Dog

French Fries

Chili Slaw Dog


Merritt Canteen Recipes


What do you think of Merritt Canteen?

3 Responses to “Merritt Canteen”


April 12th, 2022

When I was younger, this place was a tin shack, you could walk through in less than a minute.. but had the best Chili dogs ever/ and fries.


Aran Campbell

March 26th, 2011

Just your ordinary “fry shop.” Nothing special here. If McDonald’s and BK breakfast hours are over you can get a half-decent bacon, egg, and cheese all day.

The chili is HOT, without much flavor at all; it will take your tongue off. I personally like equal amounts of flavor and heat, go figure.

They don’t really have a “known for” specialty other than being the only game in town for after-midnight food. But then again, if you’re buying food after midnight you’re probably too buzzed to care about taste.

The one thing that turns me and a lot of my friends off is that the cashier is the person serving the hot dogs. She/he will ring someone up (touch filthy bacteria-laden money) and then lay the wax paper for the hot dogs, not caring that she just contaminated it. For some reason they seem to think the wax paper is there to protect their hands from the food. Someone needs to tell them it is to protect the food from their hands.


chris kaiser

May 22nd, 2005

If you like spicy and you like hot dogs, the Merritt Canteen is a spot for you. The Merritt Canteen’s hot dog is something to behold. Always cooked to perfection while you wait. The best way to eat these hot dogs, if you enjoy reallly spicy food, is to get it with chili, bacon, cheese and mustard. This medly of tastes will not let you down. I would suggest ordering two beverages if enjoying this dog, the chili has a wonderful flavor but is extremely hot. The same can be said for the spoonful of mustard they will add at no additional cost.

For all hot dog lovers the Merritt Canteen is a great place to check out. For Bacon, chili, cheese dog lovers it is an absolute must.


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