Dundurn Market 346 Dundurn Street
By Ciara McCann
Names can be deceiving. Dundurn Market is not exactly a “market,” but something much more.
From the outside, it looks like an elegant New York restaurant with a bold letter “D” stenciled on the window, shaded by a chic black and white awning. Inside, I slowly discovered the true concept behind Dundurn Market, and it’s a really smart one. Part café, part takeout counter, with the warm and comforting feel of a traditional neighbourhood market. A place to do some light grocery shopping, while also experiencing the sights, sounds and tastes of your favourite restaurant.
Upon entering on a recent Friday evening, a friendly young man named Colin greeted me. He asked if I was looking for something for dinner or just browsing around. After a long day at work I knew I wasn’t going to cook, so I asked him what they had to go.
Behind the L-shaped counter at the back of the market, there were a number colourful pots and pans, each one containing a different main and side dish – chicken parmesan, roasted potatoes, rice pilaf, pulled pork, cooked vegetables and a mushroom lasagna. Colin said the lasagna was a big hit that day – they had just replenished the last batch with a brand new one. One glance at the layers of mushroom and cream sauce topped with baked cheddar and I knew it had to be mine. I opted for the “Dinner for One” special and chose the lasagna, assorted vegetables and potatoes – a wholesome Friday night meal, much better than the same old weekend pizza delivery.
While Colin arranged my dinner, I browsed around and surveyed an assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables lined-up neatly in crates, along with fresh baked pies, jars filled to the brim with cookies, imported and local sauces, jams and pickles and one last bouquet of flowers in a hanging tin pot. There was also a surprisingly large area to sit down and stay for a meal or coffee, decorated with an inviting brown leather couch and round Parisian-style tables.
I asked Colin to recommend a dessert. He showed me some pecan tarts, banana bread and carrot cake. He then pointed to a jar of maple bacon cookies and said he didn’t have a chance to try them yet but they sounded pretty tasty. I trusted his recommendation and grabbed one from the jar, along with some bananas for my morning smoothie.
At the checkout counter, I admired a tall wall of exposed brick and wooden shelves displaying bags of coffee. I was already looking forward to coming again on a Saturday to get comfy on the leather couch and sip an espresso while reading the paper.
My final bill was under $20, and after taking the first bite of my lasagna I thought it was an excellent price for the quality, portion size and taste.
It’s exciting to see Dundurn Market joining a burgeoning community of eateries in the Dundurn St. South area, including Cake & Loaf Bakery and Aberdeen Tavern. Hamilton’s newest café/market/takeout hybrid is set win over the hearts of foodies and families alike.