Meet Hamilton: Canada’s answer to Brooklyn
Is this too much cheese for one day?? A classic burger from Chuck’s Burger Bar, a selection of cheeses from The Cheese Shop on Locke, classic pizza from Earth to Table Bread Bar, charcuterie board from Two Black Sheep.
A lot of people are talking about Hamilton, Ontario—the city with blue-collar roots that sits just about 40 minutes outside of downtown Toronto. What are they saying? Well, basically, that it’s getting pretty awesome. Artists, chefs and musicians—either driven out of Toronto by sky-high housing prices or just opting out of the bustle—are setting up shop in Hamilton and creating a burgeoning hipster haven. And since there is no truer barometer of coolness than food, I hit up a few of the spots that are pioneering the Hamilton foodie landscape. Led by a few local experts, our group (a few writers, chefs and restaurateurs) ate its way across Hamilton with delicious results. (And, yes, we saw our fair share of hats, skinny jeans, quirky galleries and ironic tattoos.) Here are a few of the highlights…
Earth to Table Bread Bar This charming bakery-cum-restaurant makes truly insane pizza. (The bestseller is bacon with apple, sage and béchamel sauce.) Chef/owner Jeff Crump (who has worked at restaurant jewels like Chez Panisse) also has fun with playful specials like “Ramen Wednesdays,” which Crump says, with a laugh, is “way better than Momofuku’s. You can quote me on that!”
Two Black Sheep The classic/cool cocktail bar was started because the super-friendly co-owner Matthew Kershaw wanted to open a bar he’d want to go to with his 30-something friends for drinks and small bites. Now, the boutique space sells more oysters per seat than any other resto in Ontario.
Chuck’s Burger Bar You will eat too much at this little burger palace, whose menu reads like a den of debauchery. Smoky-blue haze and bacon burger? Sure. (It’s actually topped with blue cheese, but you will still feel blissed out after.)
The Burnt Tongue A changing roster of hearty daily soups is taken to the next level with single-tear-worthy Belgian fries. What makes them Belgian? The specially imported mayo for dipping, of course.
Radius This converted stately home not only serves Ontario wines but most of the produce used in their menu is grown on their own farm, which is not too far away.
Cheese Shop on Locke This spacious shop boasts an array of cheeses, of course, but also locally made treats and antiques. The owner is starting to make Spanish-style cheeses, which will hopefully be available in a few months. Spoiler alert: Some might be soaked in beer.
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