Will Hamer’s Bean N’ Batter

Will Hamer is still in his early 20s.

But already he has:

  • Played rugby at Staples High School
  • Left Staples after 2 years to row for the Dublin School in New Hampshire, then rowed 2 more years at Iona College
  • Worked as a floor whip at the 2016 Republican convention
  • Joined the National Guard
  • Sold ads for a radio station and Hearst Media
  • Worked for candidates in Michigan
  • Gathered voting data throughout the Midwest (and lived out of his car while doing so).

Will Hamer, in a rare moment of relaxation.

Will loves Westport; it’s “artsy, accepting, nice and friendly.” His parents are still here. But having seen so much of the rest of the country — and meeting so many different people in Walmarts, campgrounds and other places — he knows this town is a bubble.

So when he heard about a crepe shop next to a comedy club in New Jersey that was making a killing, he had an idea for his next venture.

Ta da!  Will is now the owner of Bean n’ Batter. The waffles/granola/coffee bar opened earlier this month.

In downtown Bridgeport.

At 855 Main Street — directly across from People’s Bank headquarters — it’s already drawing raves. It’s one more piece in what Bridgeport boosters hope is the long-talked-about, hopefully-here-at-last renaissance of the once-thriving city.

Will has hopped on the Bridgeport bandwagon. One corner of the restaurant is filled with photos of the historic past, including colorful mayor P.T. Barnum, and John F. Kennedy’s raucous rally 2 days before the 1960 presidential election.

Bridgeport, in an earlier heyday.

Nearby residents and office workers alike are making Bean n’ Batter their place. They like the food, and the homey vibe.

“People are so receptive to what we’re doing,” Will says. “They like our prices — and that we’re not Starbucks.

The Crunchy: strawberries, blueberries, bananas, granola and honey drizzle.

“This is a great city,” he adds. “There’s so much going on — like the amphitheater next to Webster Bank Arena.” That’s just a few blocks away — under the I-95 overpass — from the new hot breakfast spot.

Before opening Bean n’ Batter, Will admits, he did not know much about Connecticut’s largest city — just a few miles from his hometown.

Now he urges Westporters to discover Bridgeport — and not just attractions like the Barnum and Discovery Museums, Beardsley Zoo and Seaside Park. Will has discovered fantastic restaurants like Pantanal, a Brazilian BBQ and buffet place on Frank Street.

Mayor Joe Ganim and several City Council members came to Bean n’ Batter’s grand opening. So did State Senator Will Haskell. His district does not include Bridgeport — but he was there to support a new business in a nearby city (and one opened by a fellow Staples grad).

Will Hamer (far left), Mayor Joe Ganim (2nd from right) and others celebrate the opening of Bean n’ Batter.

Which leads to one final thought: If Bean n’ Batter really takes off, it may expand.

Perhaps to Westport.

You know: the other town — besides Bridgeport — that has Will Hamer’s heart.

7 responses to “Will Hamer’s Bean N’ Batter

  1. This is revitalization in action. I remember Bridgeport in the mid 1950s when everyone from the suburbs came to downtown Bridgeport to shop before the era of the malls.

  2. Edward Gerber

    Next time I suspect you will take the train to and from Bport…

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  3. I’m a Bridgeport fan,too. Some of the most beautiful antique homes and churches, etc are there. I was down in Ybor City in Tampa last winter ( the land of Feral Chickens, believe-it-or-not) when I got a great idea for Bridgeport! If there was some way to uncover a set of trolley tracks ….or build one… for a straight line ride within walking distance (or shuttle) to the Bridgeport-Port Jefferson Ferry ..the would make stops through a main road of downtown Bridgeport and …maybe a train station stop too…it would be transformational, eco friendly and adorable. The one in Tampa is so sweet and it’s only a couple of miles long, if that. I guess we could get an electric trolley car and accomplish something similar with no tracks. I use the ferry at least once a year and while Port Jeff is delightful to walk through, in Bridgeport there is a big, missed opportunity when you get off the Ferry n Ct. And, very importantly, Congratulations Will!

  4. Adam J Lewis Academy

    Will, this is so exciting and welcome to the neighborhood! Please stop by and visit us or maybe we should bring the kids to you! We are Adam J Lewis Academy, an independent elementary school providing a high-quality educational opportunity for the underserved children in Bridgeport. We are located at 500 State Street, right around the corner from you – just moved to that location in Feb and LOVE downtown Bridgeport. I’m sure you will too! Best of luck. We can’t wait for our first field trip to Bean N’ Batter!

  5. Sharon Paulsen

    I like the way you think! Seems like you may have a really great idea here, as I’ve occasionally wondered why the “Bridgeport” side of the Port Jeff Ferry experience was such a downer.

    An interconnectivity of places to visit in Bridgeport seems like a must-have, especially coastal, but, I guess it needs more to visit … first.

    Wonder what became of that riverfront/seafront shopping mall proposal?

    And did that casino for Bridgeport get killed? Anyone know?)

    Anyway, I like the cute name “Bean n Batter”. Good luck to the new owner’s with this biz!

    • Sharon Paulsen

      Oops, my comment was meant as a reply to Mary’s comment, but seems I entered into general comments, and that would surely be confusing, LOL!

  6. Great story! I’ll have to check them out. Bridgeport does have cool stuff!

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