Berkeley North is one of my favourite spots in Hamilton – incredible food and a great vibe. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but the avocado salad is amazing.
Tell us about yourself and your business.
My name is Matthew Webber and I opened Berkeley North in Fall 2016 with my wife Diana. We are both born and raised in Hamilton, and wanted to bring a unique dining experience to the City we call home. I have been in this industry for the last 15 years working as a bartender, server and manager for multiple concepts in different cities. Diana worked in event management as well as the hospitality industry. We both share a desire for great customer service and overall experience. We paired this passion with a love for delicious small share plates and unique cocktails. Berkeley North is located on King William St. in the heart of ‘Restaurant Row’ and we are proud to be a part of the bustling restaurant scene in Hamilton.
You describe yourself as a West Coast Kitchen, what does that mean to you?
Diana and I travelled the California coast multiple times to draw inspiration for the menu. We fell in love with the creative uses of vegetables we saw at different restaurants as well as the consistent focus of using local produce whenever possible. At the end of our first trip we stayed in the city of Berkeley and during a late night dinner we decided we wanted to open a restaurant and paid tribute to that moment in our restaurant’s name.
You offer an incredible dining experience. In you opinion, what makes for great hospitality and what sets Berkeley North apart?
In my opinion the best dining experiences have a great attention to detail and the willingness to go above and beyond for guests. The staff at Berkeley North genuinely want to create a special dining experience for every guest and combine this attitude with delicious food, unique cocktails and sophisticated service.
Favourite dish on your menu right now?
Impossible to choose but our mushroom dumplings might have a small edge. We make each dumpling by hand and serve them with a house made mushroom jus that is to die for. You can find this dish on almost every table in the restaurant.
You recently started offering food products at Dundurn Market, tell us more about that.
At the heart of Berkeley North we always wanted to be a bigger part of the surrounding neighbourhoods. So when Dundurn Market approached us to work with them it was an easy decision. Dundurn Market shares similar interests in quality and experience. We began offering small batches of some house favourites like tomato sauce, granola, smoked salmon, BBQ sauce and Teriyaki sauce. This ended up being a large part of the business model during the pandemic and continues to be a focus of growth moving forward.
How would you describe the food scene in Hamilton?
Young and exciting. The City is filled with young entrepreneurs who are willing to try out fun and exciting new concepts. There are a solid list of amazing restaurants to enjoy and very talented individuals are working together to create a bustling dining scene.
Besides your own place, what are a couple of your favourite spots to eat in the City?
The list is long of our favourites but Rapscallion, Detour and Cima are always a great time.
Any advice to other restaurateurs that want to open up a place in Hamilton?
Do it! Restaurants become a very important part of neighbourhoods and help to revitalize them as well as form a greater sense of community. Make sure to do your research into the area you are thinking of to make sure you are fulfilling a need, and make sure you are passionate about food and the industry. Restauranteurs work long hours in intense and stressful situations and it takes a long time to fine tune your concept into a well working machine. Make sure you love it!