As a resident of Hamilton’s east end, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Ottawa Street grow. Though still widely known for its fabrics and textiles, there’s been an emergence of cafés, unique restaurants, and small shops to discover and enjoy. Ottawa Street to the east end is what James Street and Locke Street are to downtown, with an array of local businesses.
“What can I get started for you today, my dear?” were the first words I heard when me and my little one strolled into Rick Rack Coffee House earlier this year. Immediately I felt at home thanks to a wonderful blend of cozy atmosphere, delicious fare, and its passionate and kind owner, Tiana. Having just recently opened in fall 2016, it’s located towards the Barton end of Ottawa Street North and is now open seven days a week.
With its warm brick accent wall, artwork adorning the walls, and a mixture of cozy armchairs with diner-style tables and wooden benches, there’s a kitschy and vintage vibe to the place. Classic sewing machines are found throughout, and pay homage to the origins of Ottawa Street. Here and there are small tables and shelves adorned with works from local artists – Jules’ Gems are a highlight in particular, but there are also candles, greeting cards, coffee mugs and CDs from local musicians available for purchase. You’d think it would be overwhelming, but it’s perfect. It really allows you to discover other local businesses you might not have seen before. With Tamp & Tunes Thursdays, featuring live music in the evenings, and Tuesday evening get togethers in May to bring awareness to mental health, it also provides a sense of community. Make sure to tune into their Instagram for their upcoming events (and to drool at all the food photos).
I first discovered Rick Rack when I heard that a coffee shop in Hamilton was offering butterbeer that rivaled the one from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida(!), though my main drink of choice is their Cortado (“the usual”), and Iced Americano on warmer days. Their coffee is from Vintage Coffee Roasters, also from Hamilton, and if you’re feeling fancy you can join in on some high tea from local Terra Teas Organic in dainty teacups.
I’ll admit that it’s hard to just get a drink; there are trays and trays of delicious goods made in house by the owner from scones to cinnamon rolls to cupcakes as well as paninis and soup. I’m addicted to their pear and prosciutto sandwich, and the Nanaimo bars they stock from Turtledoves (also found just down the street) are amazing. They’re all served on “grandma’s dishes”, eclectic and fun dish-ware that I wish I had in my kitchen!
By the way, if that bench up there looks familiar, it’s because my profile photo was taken at Rick Rack! Not only have I had the pleasure of coming here with a few friends and my mother, but my little guy is always with me and we got a great shot sitting here!
If you’re looking for a reason to peruse Ottawa Street, come tomorrow! On Friday, May 5th, Sew Hungry will be taking over Ottawa Street with more than 28 food trucks, beer gardens, and live entertainment. Unfortunately, they are calling for bucket-loads of rain to dampen the day but you can always seek refuge with a warm coffee and company at Rick Rack Coffee House.