Papa Leo’s Restaurant 638 Concession Street

Throughout the Tour, the four of us have sampled the finest food this great city has to offer. From food fit for a fantastic fiesta at Mex-I-Can to authentic Italian cuisine at Cafe Limencello and, who could forget, tea and scones, we have feasted our eyes on a wide array of dishes and savoured delicious food in the city. While each of us enjoy food, Kristin and I are, according to Carly, the official foodies of the group. Hey now, we can’t help our appreciation for fine cuisine!

The two of us were discussing potential future tour stops and came upon the topic of breakfast food. Our friends at Tourism Hamilton had reached out to the community on Twitter, asking people to name their favourite breakfast spots and, after mentioning this to Kristin and realizing how many breakfast places there are in Hamilton, we decided to devote a whole month to breakfast food and, in true Tour fashion, declared February breakfast month!

To kick off breakfast month, we decided to check out Papa Leo’s Restaurant. Funny enough, we had actually stopped by Papa Leo’s after our radio interview on INDI 101 last summer, but unfortunately, they were closed. Since then, Papa Leo’s has been on the top of our list of restaurants to check out in the city and naturally had to be our first breakfast tour stop. Before meeting up, we both had a look at the menu in preparation for the notorious indecisiveness that might follow. Upon first glance at the menu, I was taken by the wide variety and combinations of breakfast foods. Papa Leo’s also serves lunch which features some delicious-sounding dishes, but Kristin and I decided to stick with strictly breakfast and brunch for the month.

As we sat and perused the menu, we also took in the cosy, inviting atmosphere, a welcome relief from the chilly winter air. We had a chance to speak with Leo Santos, the owner of Papa Leo’s, who knew we were planning on stopping by! He explained the story behind Papa Leo’s and the incorporation of locally grown food, such as chorizo, in his dishes. It is always nice to meet local business and shop owners who support one another; this support only reaffirms the ever-present sense of community in Hamilton.

Papa’s Eggs

Kristin and I started off with a cup of freshly brewed, fair trade organic coffee from the Red Hill Coffee Trade. After much contemplation and a little help from Leo himself, Kristin decided on Papa’s Eggs, deemed “the favourite,” while I got my fiesta on with with Heuvos Rancheros, intrigued by the name. I must say I had quite a lot of fun saying that name in an exaggerated Spanish accent with Italian gusto. Carly would be proud. Prego! Ole! After our first bite, Kristin and I nodded to each other in approval, happy with our choice of breakfast. One of the things I loved was the presentation of our dishes. They looked so artfully put together and you could see the careful attention and detail put into the arrangement as a whole. While this made it even more appealing, it was one of those moments where you wouldn’t want to ruin such a masterpiece of food.

Heuvos Rancheros

After brunch, we took a stroll along Concession Street which is another BIA (Business Improvement Area) of Hamilton and popped into some shops. So-Low Sales is a shop I loved to visit as a kid and we certainly had fun checking out all the party supplies, including disco ball glasses and boas! Cristina’s Cakes and Dream Treats Chocolate Factory both have delicious treats to satisfy anyone with a sweet tooth. Cristina’s Cakes features wedding cakes while Dream Treats puts together arrangements with chocolatey treats like chocolate bark and truffles. Kristin and I were all literary at the Mountain Bookstore where we delved into shelves of used books. Finally, our last stop was at Linseed’s, a fabulous boutique filled with handbags, jewelery and fun accessories that I’ll definitely be returning to.

With so many breakfast spots to check out in the city, there is no doubt that Papa Leo’s is one that we will definitely return to, perhaps next time, to try out their lunch menu! Stay tuned as we sample the best of breakfast food in Hamilton this month.

X’s and O’s, Avi

Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (, where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing a social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

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