An Insider’s Guide to Hamilton

Get to know “the Hammer” with local restaurateur and cookbook author Bettina Schormann


Bettina Schormann—bestselling writer and co-owner of the bakery and restaurant Earth to Table: Bread Bar—lives and works in Hamilton, Ontario. Here she shares a few of her favourite things to do around town.

Natural Highs

Hamilton has an amazing trails system running right through the city. Near my home is the Escarpment Rail Trail—part of the Trans Canada Trail. They ripped out the old CN tracks there and turned the line into a pedestrian and cycling path. I take my dog, and it’s a great place to see deer.

And down by the Lake, the walkway was recently extended, so it goes all almost all the way to Burlington. After a hike, you can get fish and chips or burgers and milkshakes at this iconic Hamilton waterfront destination called Hutch’s. It has been around for nearly 70 years. Locals eat there at the picnic tables or take their food down onto the pebble beach.

Family Fun

I like shopping with my daughter at Citizen Kid, on Locke Street, a specialty boutique with eco friendly toys and kids’ clothing.

We also love Puddicombe Farms, in Winona (a Hamilton suburb). They have pick-your-own cherries, blueberries, apples, pears and pumpkins, depending on the season.  A little train goes through their vineyard and there’s a country store and café selling fruit pies and other baked goods.

Feeding Frenzy

For casual dining, I go to Brux House. They have more than 30 craft beers and ciders and a pub-style kitchen, serving things like house-made soft pretzels and beet carpaccio.

Ancaster Mill is gorgeous for fine dining. They serve contemporary farm-to-table food in what used to be a working flour mill. From the dining room, you look out to breathtaking waterfalls.

Drinks with a Twist

There’s a tiny place I go for drinks with friends called Two Black Sheep. They serve charcuterie and oysters—that’s all for food, but they do it really well—and cocktails and wine. It has that classic modern bistro look to it, with reclaimed wood tables and a mish-mash of chairs, tableware and glasses.

And the first Friday of every month, there’s an Art Crawl on James Street North. The bars, restaurants and galleries all open at night, so people going out for drinks can hop between galleries to bars.