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Exploring the Barton Village Neighbourhood: Coffee Shops

The Barton Village Neighbourhood is an up-and-coming place with a lot of passionate businesses that love Hamilton and are committed to being pioneers in the continual transformation of this community.

We decided to interview 3 thriving coffee shops within walking distance/short drive away from Westinghouse HQ to show you the vibrancy and energy of this community. We are proud to stand alongside these placemakers and creative individuals who imagined what was possible on Barton St., and decided to make their mark here.

If you’re exploring a new place to call home or locate your business, we want to introduce you to 3 must visit Coffee Shops in the area.

340 Barton St E, Hamilton, ON

Follow them on Instagram @emeraldcoffeco

An interview with owner, Phil Green

Why did you choose this neighbourhood to open a cafe?

I live in the neighbourhood and when I moved here, I would walk my dog down Barton St. and thought ‘Why isn’t there a coffee shop here?’ I would have to go down to James St. to get a coffee and I thought, ‘This needs to change, there are so many people in this area,’ so I opened Emerald Coffee Co. on March 31st 2018.

What do you love about this neighbourhood?

I really like the vibe on Barton. It’s honest and real. Most people here understand the neighbourhood for what it is and want to change it in a positive way, they want to include what’s already here and not just bulldoze what already exists.

What’s the community like among businesses in Barton Village?

The people are super friendly. We are collaborating and supporting each other.

What changes have you seen in community over the last year that you’ve been here?

There has been a lot of change in the last 6 months - at least 5 businesses have opened. People who haven’t been here in a long time are starting to see the positive changes through articles in the Spectator and other press, that there is something to check out on Barton St.. I know a lot of people who have grown up here and moved away and now are coming back. There is a nice mix between people who have been here for a long time, and also new families and younger people moving into the neighbourhood.

What’s the mission of Emerald Coffee Co.?

My mission is to build a community based coffee shop where everyone can feel included and to create a nice hangout spot for people. This is a place where everyone is welcome.

What are some of your most popular drinks and treat?

You have to try our hazelnut milk lattes! They are super popular and unique to us.  We also have Cold Brew from Pilot Coffee Roasters and Vibe Kombucha on Tap, which is now based in Hamilton. We carry Eric’s Handcrafted Butter Tarts from The Kitchen Collective - they are always a big hit and on Saturday’s we have donuts from Donut Monster!

541 Barton St E, Hamilton, ON

Follow them on Instagram @541barton

An interview with Executive Director, Sue Carr

What is the concept and mission behind 541?

541 Eatery and Exchange is a non-profit organization that fundraises and utilizes wonderful volunteers to run the cafe.  We opened our doors 4 ½ years ago and it’s our mission to welcome everyone to come and sit at our table and because of that, our food and coffee needs to be affordable for everyone. This is achieved in two ways. We keep our payroll costs down by having 200 volunteers who help cook, serve and clean up and the pay it forward system using buttons. Each button is one dollar and people can purchase a button to be donated to someone in need. Buttons are used as cash and redeemed for anything on the menu. Everyone can have up to five buttons (five dollars) a day. As the community gives, we give out to those in need.

What do you love about being in Barton Village?

There’s a lot of excitement on the street with new businesses opening up, like The General - at Barton and James. There are several new coffee shops and restaurants coming. I like the people in this neighbourhood. They are resilient and good humored. Of course there are issues, but the reality is there are issues in a lot of neighbourhoods. In general there is a positive attitude around here.

What changes have you seen in the community?

There are a lot of new businesses opening up, especially along Barton St. I’m part of the BIA Board and we have a lot of storefronts opening up. I think this place is going to look very different in the next few years.

It’s exciting to join a community like this at the beginning of a renaissance and people are looking for more reasonable places to live and start businesses. It’s a happening place, come and be a part of it.

What would you suggest someone try when they come here?

You need to try our espresso based drinks and our brownies are phenomenal!  The coffee we sell is Detour coffee from Dundas. We make everything from scratch, except for our bread. We have ‘no gluten added’ cookies, muffins, brownies, and granola bars and if anyone asks we can make any of our sandwiches on gluten free bread on silicon paper that is kept separate. We offer delicious sourdough bread from The General - they donate it to us and we are a nut free zone as well.

We can also cater things like small office meetings. If it’s on the menu and we get some notice, we can create a nice selection of freshly made goods.

312 Barton Street East

Follow them on facebook at - Stir It Up Inc. in the "gritty city" Cafe

An interview with owner, Kelli Tokarz.

Why did you choose Barton St. to open your coffee shop?

My father was a north ender and worked in this neighbourhood at Westinghouse for 30 years in the Turbine department. I wanted to pay homage to him and I really felt like this area needed something. It’s one of the only neighbourhoods left in Hamilton that really needs a revival.

What are some special features of Barton Village?

There are so many great cultural influences with the Portuguese and Italians and I don’t think people realize there are some great bakeries and restaurants in this neighborhood. People need to come down here and see what the area has to offer. There is a nice mix older and newer businesses to explore. Now is the time to move into this area, while prices are still reasonable. I think in the next 3 years things are going to explode.

What do you love most about being part of the neighbourhood?

I like it down here  - I love the characters. Everyone has a story and they are all an intricate part of this community. Hamiltonians are pretty straight forward and resilient. I enjoy the vibe of this neighbourhood. It’s exciting and never boring. I embrace everyone with open arms and I’m really attached to everyone here.

What would you say the mission is of Stir it Up?

Stir it Up is a coffee shop focused on supporting other local indie shops. I want to collaborate with other independent shops, so we can support and carry each other. Everything that I sell in my cafe is local. My chocolate is from the Beanermunky in Dundas; I use JC Patissier for my dough for cookies and croissants; my tea is from the Coco Tea Company and I’m currently  looking for some more independent bakeries.

What’s a unique feature of Stir it Up?

I display local art on the walls of the cafe and I’m always looking to display local art in my shop. A fun fact about me, is that my cousin, Walter Grealis, is the guy who founded the Juno Awards - I named a drink after the Juno’s.


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