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.


  • 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.