Hamilton’s 541 Eatery & Exchange reopens after months-long closure

A beloved Hamilton café, non-profit charity, and community space has reopened its doors after months of closure

541 Eatery & Exchange has become an important staple of Barton Village, serving up wholesome breakfast and lunch bites alongside coffee, espresso, tea, and pastries. 

The café is also noteworthy for being an active community boon, regularly giving support and meals to those in need and implementing a ‘button system’ that allows customers to purchase a few buttons along with their order that are placed in a jar and can be ‘cashed in’ by locals experiencing food insecurity. 

541 had been closed since July 18th, citing the impacts of multiple different issues on the organization at the same time including staff burnout and an overwhelming increase in community mental health crises, folks deprived of housing, and medical emergencies. 

“For an organization that started as a restaurant with a pay-it-forward button system, it’s safe to say we’re not resourced properly to offer all the support that our staff and community need and we’re bearing witness to the harm this is causing,” wrote 541 on social media. 

Thankfully, this valued organization has reopened its door as of December 12th, with multiple infrastructure changes to help them better support their staff, volunteers, and community. 

Those changes include a new policy handbook for staff and volunteer safety and wellness; and new partnerships with St. Matthew’s House and the Canadian Mental Health Association to assist community members with complex needs. 

See more on 541’s social media

Lead image courtesy of @541barton

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