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RaeAnne's Breakfast & BBQ, a 24-hour diner, to open in Bridgeport

  • Berry-topped waffles at RaeAnne's Breakfast & BBQ
Berry-topped waffles at RaeAnne's Breakfast & BBQ
July 09, 2013|By Kristen Kuchar, @KristenKuchar | For RedEye

Chef Neller Hamlin loves two things: barbecue and breakfast. And she wants to be able to have them both anytime she wants.

Instead of searching for a good breakfast at all hours of the night, she decided to just open her own 24-hour diner, RaeAnne's Breakfast & BBQ, at 3235 S. Halsted St. in Bridgeport. 

When it opens in late summer or early fall, the full menu will be available all day, seven days a week, with barbecue being the star.

Hamlin first developed a passion for the comfort food in culinary school at Kendall College, and her love for breakfast and barbecue overlap in one of RaeAnne's signature dishes: pulled pork breakfast fries which are topped with country sausage gravy, crumbled bacon, cheddar cheese, pulled pork and topped with a fried egg. Hamlin plans to smoke meats in-house, make sausage from scratch and use as many locally sourced ingredients as possible.

Hamlin and Leo Polanco, her fiance and business partner, chose Bridgeport because of Polanco's roots in the neighborhood. “It’s the kind of people we want to reach out to,” Hamlin said. Prices will be set with budget-conscious customers in mind. “Leo and I are both blue collar people, and we want to have good food be something people like us can enjoy,” Hamlin said.

RaeAnne’s will offer carry out and delivery in addition to seating approximately 88 with counter and table service all night long. “There’s a lot of people that keep the city going, and it’s hard to find good food in the middle of the night,” Hamlin said.

Hamlin and Polanco decided to raise the money for RaeAnne's through an Indiegogo campaign because family members and friends who don't have means to become traditional investors still wanted a chance to donate and support them. Hamlin also said she likes that the community can be a part of their start as well. “It’s nice to have the community we’re apart of supporting us,” Hamlin said. “It extends our family to the entire city.”

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