Revitalization

Heart of the Hammer

By Jason Leach
Published January 06, 2010

Rarely does the central part of our fine city see much in the way of new investment along its main drags that caters to immediate neighbours and desires to act as a community gathering spot and catalyst all in one shot.

At King and Garfield, the Heart of the Hammer Cafe is doing exactly that.

This little cafe recently opened in the old Apollo sports bar on King Street and is a fabulous addition to the neighbourhood. The owners are heavily involved in local neighbourhood organizations such as the South Stipely Neighbourhood Association and South Sherman Hub.

The cafe itself is like a step back in time for me to days of lounging in coffee houses in Portland, with a similar vibe and feel. You could almost call this place a community living room.

The menu is a work in progress but already includes fabulous coffee made fresh via french press. They use beans from Detour Coffee Roasters in Dundas and they now offer bagels made fresh daily from Locke Street Bakery as well.

Hands down this is the best coffee you'll have east of the downtown core. Local artists are featured on the cafe walls each month and the owners/staff are very engaging and friendly.

Free wifi completes the package along with light jazz music playing in the background.

Most folks whizzing past on King Street will never know this place exists. If you live in the area, however, you owe it to yourself to check it out. Perhaps you'll meet a new neighbour and find a spot close to home where you can get away for a while.

The Heart of the Hammer nails it in every way and will hopefully become a fixture on the Hamilton cafe scene for years to come.

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

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By BrundleFly (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2010 at 11:51:41

That's about a block from my house, been dying for good local coffee. This is great news... & a great post!

Thanks!

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By SouthStipeley (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2010 at 13:33:23

The Heart of the Hammer Cafe is a great and welcome addition to our neighbourhood. Rebecca Doll and her husband Mike have done a great job in creating a warm friendly space that invites, while providing great food and drink. See you at the Heart!

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By hunter (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2010 at 14:17:32

Since we're talking new friendly businesses, Rolly Rocket's BBQ at King and Locke is now open. Husband/wife, pro-neighbourhood, best ribs i've ever had. No joke. Go out of your way to check it out. www.rollyrocketsbbq.com

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 06, 2010 at 16:04:07

I popped by Rolly Rockets to grab a menu the other day and the smell was amazing. They bill themselves as the largest southern BBQ restaurant in Canada.
I'll certainly be heading there to check out the food.

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2010 at 17:06:53

I've said it before, but Rolly Rockets is fantastic. We took a band there as a thank-you for playing a show (they wouldn't take gas money) and I think we fed 11 people for $150 or so. Back ribs, roast chicken, cornbread, beans, coleslaw, fries and sweet potato fries - and a few people took food home. My mother-in-law who regularly goes to real Southern bbq the States went there for lunch and after eating ordered extra food to take home with her.

I will also be checking out Heart of the Hammer- not too far from my place, and good to know of good cafes central/east too.

[Comment edited by Meredith on 2010-01-06 16:07:16]

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By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2010 at 19:31:36

Thanks for the heads up, Jason.

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By Dee (anonymous) | Posted January 06, 2010 at 19:39:21

Heart of The Hammer Cafe has the best atmosphere of any cafe I have been to in Hamilton. Love it!

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By Skully (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2010 at 10:35:35

Now if only something like this would open on Ottawa Street North! (are you listening BIA??)

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2010 at 15:27:40

Their website says "Liquor License Coming Soon!"

Maybe I will bump into some of you folks down there!

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By joslib (anonymous) | Posted August 12, 2010 at 18:30:40

The place is a dump. Poor sanitary standards and poor food safety standards. Crepes like shoe leather. Trust me, there are better places to go in Hamilton

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By sam (registered) | Posted October 09, 2010 at 11:21:13

My wife and I LOVE this place. Rebecca and Mike are great people, the ambiance is cozy, the food and coffee are great. We would love to see more of these small independent businesses open up instead of the cookie-cutter franchises like Starbucks and Second Cup. This kind of place isn't for everyone - some people want the big franchise environment, and that's okay. But I think small businesses like this can really give a community character. I would love to see more small mom & pop shops open up on King - shops like a butcher shop, a fish market, a fruit and vegetable stand, a small grocer, a bakery, a hardware store, and so on. The kind of places where the owners are your neighbours, they know you and you know them. That's what Heart of the Hammer is like. This neighbourhood needs more places like that and more people like Rebecca and Mike. My wife and I are definitely big fans.

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By Patty (anonymous) | Posted April 28, 2011 at 12:32:31

Can someone tell me what happened to the South Stipely Association website? I didn't receive the latest newsletter and am awaiting news on the date for the neighbourhood yard sale,and upcoming spring events.

Thanks,
Patty C.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted April 28, 2011 at 17:25:09 in reply to Comment 62810

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted April 29, 2011 at 08:22:44

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted April 29, 2011 at 10:21:16

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By PattyC (anonymous) | Posted April 29, 2011 at 20:34:36 in reply to Comment 62854

Thanks By Say What for the info. I will try to make it tomorrow, and if not, will get more info on the neighbourhood Association at the cafe.

Patty C

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