Written: September 28, 2020 Hello Everyone, I am happy to be back….It’s been a very tiresome and frustrating year for many, residents and businesses alike. I am delighted to see many people are now getting out and about, whether for their daily walks or their coffee get togethers. After more than 2 months of staying indoors, I was so happy to get out again, traversing our Barton Village neighbor hood to see what’s happening. So, I am delighted to report that the Emerald Coffee Co is back in business, albeit with a new owner. Yes Phil is no longer there, I do hope he’s enjoying the new changes in his life and that the summer has been good to him. Good news is, that the Emerald, now has new owners, who come with a vision of their own, they are open 7 days a week for take-out. On the day of their soft launch, I met one of their chefs, Robert who was busy preparing his salads. I briefly spoke with Lauren, their General Manager and two of their staff members, Kahri and Vicki. They are offering snacks and a lunch time menu. I certainly wish them well, as they move forward in their new venture. Remember, the Emerald Coffee Co, is a step away from the Number two bus stop, so if you have a moment, as you step off the bus, pay them a visit and get your coffee……….. Another new opening is the Cocktail bar on Barton, just passed Oak Avenue, towards the Hospital. It is owned by a lovely young man, Chris, who is also the owner of the Motel Restaurant, which I have yet to go in to, yet have heard wonderful feedback from the many people who have visited. The cocktail lounge has yet to have a sign, so for now you just follow the red light!!! Chris welcomed me inside, when it was closed, there is a very warm ambience, with strobe lights, comfy seating in a deep shade of pink. At the back there is a beautiful fish tank, which I always find mesmerizing. I wish Chris well with this energetic addition to his restaurant, I am sure it won’t take long for it to become as popular as the Motel. Did you know that the Motel now has a patio? It is at the side of the restaurant. Don’t forget to visit, Stir it Up, another great coffee shop, owned by Kelly, who by the way is an absolute hoot. She has a wealth of knowledge of the Hamilton area, whether it be in the theatre, music venues or local artists. She makes a great latte, cappuccino and other coffees, and, she bakes the most delicious scones and muffins, you may have seen her on the CHTV episode, with Tim Bolan, where she made up a batch of her delectable scones. She has a great seating area, where she invites you to come in, play a tune on your guitar (she also has one standing by) or simply sit and chat about the day. Stir it up, is closer to the General Hospital. If you prefer home baked goodies, a good natter with the owner and a place where you can sit and reflect, this is the place for you….. The 541 Eatery & exchange is now open for take outs, to the public, Monday to Saturday, closing at 2pm. They have been extremely busy during the pandemic, feeding many of our most vulnerable on a daily basis. The only time they took a break was to redecorate their café and revamp their kitchen. This is a great place to visit, unfortunately at this time, there is no indoor dining, but their menu is the same, with a few new additions, they use farm fresh produce which is always delicious. Their premise is the Pay it Forward system, where a button jar is placed on the counter, for donations and for those who cannot afford a meal. You can also go on line and support them, through donations if you prefer. Before the pandemic, there were a lot of fund raising events and programs. Perhaps you can start this up with your workplace? As a senior, living on Barton Street, I know how valuable 541 has been to many of the residents around here. Last but not least, please pay a visit to the new office of the BIA, it is next door to Hendry’s Barbershop. Where ever you go these days, you will need to take a mask with you, although I did notice a box of disposables in the BIA office. Because I often forget mine, I have now begun wearing it like a rosette on my wrist…..
Outside view of Stir It Up, with their beautiful new mural