If you’re craving seafood in the city, there is no better place than Hammerhead’s. Originally a takeout fish & chip (plus some) spot on Ottawa St N, they now have a market location on Locke Street. Between their ethical seafood business model and the top notch quality of the food, you won’t be disappointed eating here.
Tell us about yourself and your business.
I grew up in Hamilton and moved to Toronto right after high school then over seas for a few years then back to Toronto. After a 25 year absence the hometown was calling my name again. A new food renaissance was emerging and it was exciting. After working in various restaurants in Hamilton for several years, making connections and learning more about what makes this city tick I realized the one thing that was missing that is actually my passion, quality seafood. Plan A was actually to open a seafood market. Crown Point is my home and that is where I wanted it to be. When I found a space that was a fish and chips takeaway for decades plans changed.
Your business is built on sustainability, what does that mean in the world of seafood?
Sustainability, right now we pull out of our waters three times more than what the oceans can produce. That is a terrible model that can not sustain itself. I started cooking at a time when the cod stocks in Newfoundland crashed, we thought we’d never see them again. Decades later they are making a return. With the right conservation efforts. Slowly but surely. At Hammerhead’s all of our wild caught Canadian species are purchased directly from the hardworking fisher peeps here in Canada who believe in conservation as much as we do.
Favourite dish on the menu right now?
My favourite dish on the menu right now is the tarragon butter roasted lobster. Roasting lobster is much more delicate than poaching and less work eating.
In 2021 you opened up a second location on Locke that offers fresh products for folks to cook at home – tell us more about that.
Our Locke Street location is really what our plan A was from the get go. It’s much like our restaurant. A 350 square foot closet dominated by a fresh counter. Our intention is not to have a massive selection just the freshest. Typically coastal species are trucked into Ontario. I’m at the airport twice a week.
How would you describe the food scene in Hamilton?
Hamilton’s food scene in a nutshell is fiercely independent. In other mid sized Ontario cities and unfortunately it’s also creeping into Toronto, you’ll find mostly corporate options. Here in Hamilton we too have Kelsey’s but they’re pushed to the outskirts of town.
Besides your own place,what are a couple of your favourite spots to eat in the city?
That’s hard one to pick. My favourite one has been “mothed balled” and I look forward to the return of Pokeh. Otherwise Shakespeare’s, Wass Ethiopian and Donairs Istanbul.
Any advice to other small businesses wanting to open up shop in the city?
In a nutshell in Toronto you have to work twice as hard to get half the response from people. However in Hamilton you need to work ten times harder to get them in your door. However once they are in you will not find more sincere and loyal customers.