The original Hashbrowns Café opened in November of 2005 after years of planning. Our goal was to create a high quality but quick-casual dining experience. We set out to serve homemade comfort food in a relaxed and trendy social setting. We wanted a place where families and friends could gather, where business meetings could take place, where local workers and students could get a great meal that did not “break the bank”. Judging by the feedback from our loyal customers, we are extremely successful in these goals.
OUR NAME SAYS IT ALL...
Why the name “Hashbrowns Café”? Because we “pioneered” sweet potato hashbrowns in the Chicago area. Our selection of hashbrown dishes is world famous and second to none.
The name was obviously breakfast inspired. It came about at a family gathering. But Hashbrowns Café is much more then breakfast. Our menu is completely original, meaning that dishes are recipes are unique to Hashbrowns Café and exclusively created by Ronnie Ruffolo, proprietor. We offer some of the best Chicago-inspired omelettes, burgers, salads, breakfast burritos and hashbrowns you will ever eat.
RONNIE RUFFOLO, FOUNDER
Ronnie was born and raised in Chicago. Having worked everywhere from Italian beef and hot dog stands to fine dining restaurants, Ronnie started to plan his own concept: Hashbrowns Café.
These days, in addition to his growing family, Hashbrowns Café is Ronnie’s full-time passion. There are very few days in the year when he is not found interacting with the customers and tending to the business. Ronnie enjoys meeting people and looking for ways to constantly improve Hashbrowns Café.
“Serving customers with a great dining experience is the best part of owning Hashbrowns Café”
– Ronnie Ruffolo, Founder
More than just Hashbrowns
In addition to he the world-famous hashbrowns, we serve omelettes, burgers, salads, breakfast burritos and many other items made fresh, high-quality ingredients. Nothing is ever from a canned or frozen source.
Our speciality burgers boast original recipes, always made with Black Angus beef. “Ida’s Burgers” (named after Ronnies mother) are served with hand-cut sweet potato fries. Never cut by machine, never bagged, never frozen.
All of our food is cooked with butter, unless the customer requests otherwise. Then we use olive oil or PAM–never margarine or any hydrogenated fats.
Being an original Chicago neighborhood place, Hashbrowns Café’s omelettes and burgers are named after Chicago streets or neighborhoods. For example, you will love a Maxwell Street omelette or burger if you like polish sausage, grilled pork chops, grilled onions and cheese. If fresh spinach, feta cheese and tomato suits your tastes, you will likely order the Greek Town omelette or burger.
THE Original HASHBROWNS
Ronnie considered many locations to open the original Hashbrowns Café, and none seemed more fitting for an aspiring entrepreneur than Chicago’s Maxwell Street, a Chicago original. It is part of Chicago history – a place where many successful entrepreneurs got started. Hashbrowns Café was one of the original businesses to commit to the renovated and redesigned Maxwell Street.
Named for a Dr. Phillip Maxwell, Maxwell Street first appeared on a Chicago map in 1847. It was originally a wooden plank road that ran from the south branch of the Chicago River west to Blue Island Avenue. The earliest housing there was built by and for Irish immigrants who were brought to Chicago to build the first railroads. Maxwell Street continued to be a “gateway” neighborhood for immigrants over a long period of time, home to Greeks, Bohemians, Russians, Germans, Italians, African Americans and Mexicans.
SOME MAXWELL STREET FACTS
Maxwell Street is where the Maxwell Street Polish Sausage sandwich originated.
The famous direct-sales entrepreneur Ron Popeil began as a street vendor at the Maxwell Street Market.
The Maxwell Street Police Station, at Maxwell and Morgan Streets, was “Hill Street Station” in the 1980’s television series Hill Street Blues.
Maxwell Street was featured in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers. The scene opens with John Lee Hooker playing his song “Boom Boom” on Maxwell Street.
Hashbrowns Café’s original location on Maxwell Street is fitting. Maxwell Street is a storied part of Chicago’s history. In time, we hope Hashbrowns Café will also become part of Chicago’s history by growing to serve more of Chicago’s many unique neighborhoods.
In keeping with our slogan – “Always Fresh, Always Delicious!” – our orange juice is freshly squeezed. And we use Valencias, the best juice oranges, whenever possible.
In season, most of the produce we use is bought from local farmers, we’d like to think that we’re helping to support local businesses and hope the favor comes back around to us. Also along these lines, we use coffee from a local Chicago roaster and distributor – and we routinely support several Chicago charitable causes to try to give back to our community. Chicago is part of who we are at Hashbrowns café.