Last weekend we checked out the newest coffee shop to open on Locke Street, Brown Dog Coffee. Is it just me, or is Locke becoming overrun with cafés? There’s Johnny’s, Starbucks, Democracy, and now this new addition. Admittedly, Brown Dog is setting itself apart from the rest with a huge premises, beer on tap and in house fritterie.
While Brown Dog is a chain (I believe Hamilton is their 7th location), they’re trying very hard to be quirky and original. Too hard?
Ambiance & Decor
We visited on the opening day, and unsurprisingly it was packed with people. While we didn’t have trouble grabbing a table, the queue was horrendous due to there only being one poor girl on the til. I did not envy her job!
The location and building are pretty spectacular – we loved the open, church-like feel with plenty of big tables and lots of space. I enjoyed being able to see the kitchen and the upstairs section means you should never have to wait for a table.
Food & Drink
Weirdly, neither of us tried coffee on this trip, so I can’t comment on their brew (although I did enjoy that their de-caf is called “Neutered Dog”). Instead, I chose a Brown Dog Smoothie, a mix of apple cider (Europeans – in Canada apple cider is non-alcoholic and more like what we would call apple juice) and banana, which sounded nice but in reality refused to mix together. Rory got a milkshake which he guzzled enthusiastically, so I’m guessing he enjoyed it.
For food, Rory ordered the Brown Dog Deli sandwich (“Corned beef & garlic Dijon mustard, on your choice of bread”) and butternut squash soup (he nabbed the last one!). The result was a tasty but rather underwhelming meal that didn’t feel like good value for money.
I opted for the BLT Crêpe (“Bacon, spinach, tomato, cheddar”). Note that there was no mention of mayonnaise in the description, but on slicing into my crêpe, I discovered some fillings floating in torrential levels of mayo. Now, I am a huge fan of mayonnaise, but it was too much even for me. I also wasn’t happy with the crêpe itself – it was dry and had a weird texture, almost like a fajita wrap. I suspect it was a bulk ordered, tossed in the microwave job which is disappointing, but not altogether unexpected.
Unfortunately the service wasn’t very good during our trip, but I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt as it was the very first day they were open. Hopefully they iron out the kinks in the coming weeks.
The Final Word
I think this place has great potential and I’d love to visit again in a few weeks to see if the service has improved. I think we may stick to coffee and beer in future and definitely avoid the crêpes! Their specialty is fritters so it will be nice to try those out.