Downtown Bureau

Downtown Update: Quick Hits

Downtown continues to thrive and develop with new investments and increased amenities. Here are a few quick hits just opening up.

By Jason Leach
Published January 26, 2011

Detour Coffee Roasters of Dundas has now opened a streetfront cafe on King Street in downtown Dundas. It is a beautiful space to enjoy their excellent coffee menu, along with various baked treats.

Detour Coffee Roasters Cafe
Detour Coffee Roasters Cafe (Image Credit: Detour Coffee Roasters)

De la Terre Bakery, based in Vineland, is opening next week in the newly renovated Hamilton Farmers' Market. It will feature organic artisan breads and baked goods.

Hero Mobile Cafe will now have a non-mobile location at the Farmers' Market as well, featuring Detour Coffee Roasters' Punch Buggy Espresso. As an added bonus, they will be selling baked goods from Cake and Loaf Bakery, which will soon be opening on Dundurn South.

If you love cupcakes, you now have two new establishments to check out: Atomic Cupcakes, which will be opening in the Farmers' Market next week, and Sweetness Bakery, which is already open on Locke South.

Sweetness Bakery
Sweetness Bakery (RTH file photo)

Speaking of the Farmers' Market, grand opening celebrations will be taking place on February 11 and 12 in conjunction with the monthly James North Art Crawl.

In the ever-burgeoning Asian category, Banh Mi Excellence is opening soon in the James North neighbourhood at James and Wilson, next to August 8. Vietnamese sandwiches appear to be the specialty.

Mr Dumpling will be opening at King and Dundurn in the Fortinos plaza. A Chinese restaurant that has won 'Eat Smart' awards? A definite must-see.

Kasa Sushi has opened two locations in Hamilton. One is downtown on Jarvis, just north of King. The second is on Main West in the ground floor of the student high-rise condos just west of McMaster.

Finally, another art gallery is opening on James North: The Focus Gallery looks to be a great space in the James and Rebecca area.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

47 Comments

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By Ezaki Glico (anonymous) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 07:10:29

Excited for more bahn mi options...

As far as Eat Smart goes, here are some other award-winners in Hamilton:

http://www.eatsmartontario.ca/find/workplace/46/41/20

Yum!

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By MattM (registered) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 07:20:16

Looking good :)

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By Dadeo (anonymous) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 07:36:05

Now if we only had a WH Stadium, the world would be at PEACE.

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 07:44:34

For some reason I am craving cupcakes and coffee! Great update - always nice to see development in the small business sector.

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 08:13:53

Kasa's Jarvis Street location, the former home of Baramibunei, also apparently features karaoke daily, 3pm-3am, on the second floor (as K Zone).

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By MattM (registered) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 09:08:45

Karaoke seems to be popular in the IV these days.

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By graham (registered) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 09:20:42

Domestique-Café Cyclo Sportif in Dundas. Just off King down Miller's Lane (12 Miller's Lane). It may not be new, but I just found it. Really great coffee, really great owner.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 09:41:34

graham, it's not new, but you're right - great spot. Thx for mentioning it. Would be great to see the IV develop a Dundas type feel someday. LRT anyone??

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted January 26, 2011 at 09:42:11

So hungry....have I ever mentioned that I prefer sushi to oxygen?

I've spent years trying new food downtown, and no matter how hard I try there's always more.

Downtown Hamilton: still the best food for at least an hour's drive in any direction. Thank you immigration.

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By MattM (registered) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 09:59:09

Yah, I gotta say downtown Hammer has a freaking excellent selection of food, especially in the IV but along James and John in both directions as well. Something we really take for granted, maybe.

I'm jonesing for a good shnitzel right now and I can think of at least 3 places downtown to get it at.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 10:23:30

I have friends who lived here for a year or two and moved to Australia. In fact, they have lived all over the world. Recently one of them emailed me and said the thing they miss the most in their travels is the food in Hamilton. They said they talk about it all the time.
We probably do take it for granted

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By bob lee (anonymous) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 10:34:26

good god people. Now I'm going to get downvoted by all you gladhanders, but everybody clapping at once does not equal a good show. We've got some bright spots, and Detour is now one of them, but our food scene is really abysmal. Put Dundas back where it belongs and we've really got nothing.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 10:45:29

"everybody clapping at once does not equal a good show."

Um, have you actually been downtown to eat lately? There are tons of amazing restaurants, my favourites are Acclamation on James North, amazing mediterranean fusion, Mex-I-Can, Gate of India, Kampai, La Luna and Papagayo on King West, YaMan and Brownie's in IV, Bistro Parisien, Wass, Lo Presties, Bronzies and Boo's on James South, great pubs on Augusta, Bar on Locke, Breadbar and Courtyard on Locke......and that's just off the top of my head.

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By randomguy (anonymous) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 10:59:31

Funny there's a National Post article on Detour Roasters Cafe today:


http://life.nationalpost.com/2011/01/26/field-trip-detour-roasters-cafe/

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By MattM (registered) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 11:08:40

Looks like the stadium trolls are bleeding over to other articles as well. Just ignore and move on. We who actually spend our money downtown and even LIVE downtown know how good it is. No sense in appeasing some gum flapper from somewhere else.

In the last 3 years I've noticed immense changes in the look and feel of downtown. I work and spend my pay cheque down there, and soon I'll live right in the core as well. No doubt that restaurants are the meat and potatoes of downtown business (pun intended) as we move forward.

Comment edited by MattM on 2011-01-26 11:10:24

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By Henry and Joe (anonymous) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 12:15:55

Thanks for the new spots to check out. As long as we're talking about Cafes/bakeries - pane del sole on John St. N. is pretty awesome. Their grocery items are cheaper than Fortino's and it's a good substitute wehn you can't get to Nardini's in S. Creek. Their sausage is pretty decent. Too bad the view doesn't have a homemade sausage category -these would be my picks: (1) Nardini S. Creek (2) Beach Road (Locke St) (3) Pane del sole

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By Cal (anonymous) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 13:03:55

Jason- great job showcasing these great places. Nice to see!

Cal

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 13:17:45

Thx Cal, I scheduled an appointment today at Detour to check it out. Very nice. Worth the trip into Dundas. I could see this place opening other locations in the Hammer someday.

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By Simon (registered) - website | Posted January 26, 2011 at 14:15:21

Not trying to sound like an anonymous spammer here - but I have been thinking about investment property opportunities for a while in downtown Hamilton/James N and Dundas - anyone having some connections in that regard please get in touch with me at blurMEDIA.ca

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 14:23:13

LOL usually spammers want to take your money, not spend there money.

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By Desmond (anonymous) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 14:33:37

Off topic but still downtown, finally got to tour the library/farmer's market and came away significantly underwhelmed. All that money for what?

If that's what Hamilton is tooting its horn about we're in more trouble then most think. (If that's possible at all)

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By Woody10 (registered) | Posted March 02, 2011 at 19:31:28 in reply to Comment 58188

I too was underwelmed. Went this past weekend with the family and I have to say, the kids area in Dundas library is much nicer even though it's older. And is it just me or does the library look like Ontario place back in the seventies??

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By LoveDowntown (anonymous) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 14:45:28

Thanks for this list Jason!

Had a really nice lunch downtown today at La Piazza Allegra with some co-workers. It was a nice opportunity to do a little bragging about downtown as a whole. I also directed an out-of-town co-worker to Mex-I-Can recently and he came back happy.

I have another group coming in from London for a lunch meeting tomorrow and I'm going to try to steer them downtown. Upper James is closer but maybe I can open a few more eyes to what Downtown is really like.

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By d.knox (registered) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 15:32:32

What is "IV"? Also worth trying - the Wild Orchid does a really interesting salt cod calzone. They have a Portuguese name for it, and it needs a sauce to go along with it which they don't offer, but I've never eaten anything like it.

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By MattM (registered) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 15:48:21

International Village. The part of King Street between Wellington and James, roughly.

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By Ezaki Glico (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 16:45:10 in reply to Comment 58202

IV straddles Beasley and Landsdale: King William Street to Main East, Mary Street to West Avenue.

http://www.hamiltoninternationalvillage.ca

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By slodrive (registered) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 16:38:41

Thanks for this Jaason. Very informative for a resident of the Hamilton suburbs. As I've mentioned before, the one difficulty I have (and I'm never the only one) is that it's not easy (...easier now with google maps/ places) to find compiled lists like this with recommended and/or simply profiles of downtown Hamilton restaurants.

Actually, I should rephrase. There probably is, but since it doesn't hit me over the head, it's a less-than-simple task to find them, then determine which fall within my relative taste parametres in order to go and check out.

Currently, I rely on this site, primarily, and what I see in the Hmmm magazine, whenever that arrives.

Would be cool if there was a comprehensive downtown online portal that showcased all the attractions with a profile and then lead you to their own website. This is sorta what the BIA sites are, but those are a bit disjointed and aren't in the business of really 'showcasing' anything. More of a semi-directory.

I think our downtown shows a lot better than most give it credit. Especially when a little bit of writing and art direction are used. (The aformentioned Hmmm and the condo ads/ websites are a testament to that.)

Just a thought -- and I know it'd be a pretty big undertaking. Which, of course, costs money. But, would certainly boost the awareness and, in-turn, erode some negative perceptions that some (especially those who live outside of downtown) may hold.

Comment edited by slodrive on 2011-01-26 16:39:42

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By slodrive (registered) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 16:44:45

...and here's what a bit of googling got me...not bad.

http://www.hamiltonmagazine.com/sitepage...

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By George (registered) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 17:00:04

Shout out to two favourite restaurants on King William St.

Thai Memory, beside the Lister block.

Dalina, between Hughson St. and John St., serves Egyptian food and has been there many years already.

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 15:02:43 in reply to Comment 58209

Dalina is a place I am hoping I can take my wife the next time we are down for a Bulldogs game. I lunched there 8-9 months ago and the food was absolutely brilliant.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted January 26, 2011 at 18:30:18

A short list of interesting, affordable and tasty food downtown: Affinity, August 8, Harvest Burger, Harvest Moon, Mex-I-Can, Papagayo, Sushi Day, La Piazza, Capri, Street Meet BBQ, My-Thai, Wass Ethiopian Foods, Bonanza Bakery - and more falafel shops than I can count. Blow all of these up and I suspect there still wouldn't be anywhere closer than downtown Guelph or Niagra with a competing assortment of food.

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By michel (registered) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 18:45:22

Atomic Cupcakes will have a hard time replacing Karlik Pastries, denied its space in the market by ill-fated bureaucratic attempts at Market gentrification.

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By adrian (registered) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 18:54:45

Too bad the view doesn't have a homemade sausage category -these would be my picks: (1) Nardini S. Creek (2) Beach Road (Locke St) (3) Pane del sole

Ahhh, Nardini sausage. This stuff is legendary. My Italian father-in-law will only ever buy Nardini sausage and serves it for occasions both great and small. Best sausage in the city hand's down.

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By Ty Webb (anonymous) | Posted January 26, 2011 at 19:31:08

@Undustrial, I agree that downtown has come a long way and the diversity of food available is exciting and improving but it's a little excessive to say that the restaurant scene has surpassed Toronto!

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted January 27, 2011 at 07:38:23

I've seen most of my favourite restaurants listed, and 0i encourage you all to try each of them at least once. For tje year I worked in Hamilton I made it a point to go out for lunch almost every Friday with my non-Hamilton co-workers and we always had a great time, no matter where we went.

One place I don't see mentioned above is Incognito on John St. Which I would recommend. They have (or had) decently priced lunch specials, great service, and tasty food. They also have a prix fixe special deal with the Hamilton Philharmonic if you want to make an evening out of it. It's probably comparable to Boo's in terms of feel/price.

Recently some friends invited me out to the Keg on a Friday night, without having made reservations. Needless to say that after being told there was a two hour wait I suggested Incognito. They were sceptical of downtown Hamilton, but they thoroughly enjoyed the restaurant!

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 15:04:00 in reply to Comment 58276

Incognito is a terrific spot for lunch! Especially for a client lunch or dinner, actually. Fantastic spot.

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By MattM (registered) | Posted January 27, 2011 at 09:12:32

For cheap yet satisfying Chinese, I recommend the Jade Garden on James at Vine. I love that place. Not too many people seem to recommend it though.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 27, 2011 at 09:32:05

Jade Garden is awesome. As is Harvest Moon, across the street.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted January 27, 2011 at 10:06:17

I never said it surpassed Toronto, just everything to about that radius (about an hour from our borders). And other than Toronto, how many cities in the region compare?

Downtown Hamilton has an unbelievable density of tasty restaurants, and this is nothing new.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 27, 2011 at 10:16:53

I'm still looking for confirmation, but have been told that http://www.panefresco.ca/ is coming to Locke South, across from the West Town.

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By Ezaki Glico (anonymous) | Posted January 27, 2011 at 11:04:39

Loaf Street South?

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 09:38:52 in reply to Comment 58298

just received confirmation. Pane Fresco isn't opening on Locke, but one of their employees is opening a pizzeria on Locke.

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By Ezaki Glico (anonymous) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 11:22:11 in reply to Comment 58694

Corner of Locke and Hunter would be nice.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 12:21:04 in reply to Comment 58695

I can't confirm location, but the house across from the West Town is what I was told.

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted January 30, 2011 at 15:15:27

Another good addition is the consignment shop "Modify Your Closet" at 205 King East. I'd seen it open for a while now but only went there last week. Very nice - great quality merchandise and reasonably priced.

It's worth a look even if you don't plan on buying anything - very clean, lots of repurposed furniture and racks they've built themselves. Original wood floors, white walls above exposed brick. Good lighting (also made themselves, or made from vintage lighting they've rewired or reworked). Excellent organization and display of the merchandise too, without overcrowding.

Currently it's only women's clothing and shoes, they are looking to get men's as well.

Skirts were half-price, so a few example items I looked at were a Tristan and Isolde wool tweed skirt for $30 ($15 with the sale) and an oxblood leather just-past-the-knee skirt from the Gap (original price $15, with the sale $7.50). Great prices for that quality and what seems to be a carefully curated selection. Most other items were, I think, buy one get the second half price - and no tax.

(edit: left out the word "floors" when I first wrote the post :))

Comment edited by Meredith on 2011-01-30 15:38:27

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted January 30, 2011 at 15:19:58

There's also a barbershop that's opened up at 2--? King East on the same side - in one of the buildings with the blue awnings. I usually see a half-dozen or so people there when I walk by and they have a sign for $10 haircuts on Tuesdays.

I think I saw Sean Gibson (Ward 3 candidate from the last election) in there the other day, so it's likely one of his.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted April 17, 2013 at 23:00:23

"It's a short-term trend and we're starting to see a real saturation," he adds. "Demand is flat. And quite frankly, people can bake cupcakes."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324345804578425291917117814.html

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