Let’s be real: things are crazy right now. With Hamilton and the world around it on total lockdown, virtually every restaurant has been forced to temporarily close its doors as a preventative measure to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
But that doesn’t mean we still can’t show our favourite local food spots some love! Many restaurants are offering takeaway and delivery options in the midst of this troubling time so that hungry Hamiltonians cooped up at home can still get their lunchtime fix of the food that puts our city on the map.
Here’s our list of Hamilton’s top 10 takeaway lunch spots during COVID-19 for 2020.
Tucked away near the Hamilton International Airport in Mount Hope, The Pigeon is a total hidden gem.
Founded by husband and wife team Chef Matt Beasley and Jenny Ngu, The Pigeon brings years of its owners’ culinary expertise to a fried chicken-forward takeaway menu of impeccable comfort food. This place has people driving out of their way to get a taste of what is arguably the best fried chicken sandwich in the whole city.
During the COVID-19 crisis, The Pigeon has adjusted their takeaway model significantly. Orders must be placed by 9 pm a day in advance, and a contactless pick-up time will be arranged for you to pick up your food the next day between 3 pm and 7 pm. It may be a lot more steps than usual, but oh, it’s worth it.
A few years after the more established Pokeh brought the poke bowl craze to the Hammer, a new purveyor of those Hawaiian sushi bowls has opened up in Hamilton’s east end.
Poke Co. may be brand new, but they are already pounding out delicious food that holds its own against the city’s other poke options. An extensive menu of pre-built bowls is available with everything from raw fish to tofu to sous vide pork on beds of fresh vegetables and sushi rice, but guests can also go fully custom and build a bowl with choice of base, vegetables, sauces, and protein. Poke Co. is currently offering options for pick up or delivery.
While The Dirty South’s brick & mortar restaurant at Barton and James North may be brand new, this local Southern-style spot’s original food truck has long held a strong reputation with local foodies at events and festivals since 2012.
Founder and Chef Brett Liersch has kicked classic Southern comforts up a notch, with filling dishes that are as humble as they are inventive. Fried chicken, pulled pork, brisket, and pulled jackfruit are the stars of the show on a number of mouthwatering sandwiches, tacos, and poutines, all of which are also fully customizable with options for vegetarian, vegan, keto, and gluten-free diets. The Dirty South is currently offering delivery and curb-side pick-up options.
While most of us are self-isolating at home, it can be easy to say “screw it” and nosh on some junk food for lunch. Don’t get us wrong: we love our chips and chocolate too. But when your body needs a break and you want to switch it up to something both delicious and healthy, Planted in Hamilton has got you covered.
Planted has got a stacked menu with fresh and bountiful bowls, salads, nacho platters, pastas, and decadent baked goods. The twist? Everything is 100% vegan and plant-based. That way, you can eat well, feel good, and know that your lunch choice today was also an ethical one! Planted is available for pick-up and delivery.
Locals who routinely cite Sagarmatha Curry Palace as some of Hamilton’s best authentic Indian food don’t do it lightly.
A longstanding King William Street staple, Sagarmatha Curry Palace sits in the basement below The Diplomat as one of downtown’s enduring hidden gems. The subterranean restaurant space feels a bit worn and lived-in, but oh, once that food hits your mouth? Mind. Blown.
One of the biggest draws of Sagarmatha Curry Palace is their Royal Lunch Thali, which is available from 12 pm to 2:45 pm on weekdays. For just over ten bucks, you get a heaping amount of food including a choice of butter chicken or lamb curry along with aloo mutter, chana masala, salad, rice, warm & doughy naan baked fresh in their tandoor oven, and a dessert. It’s one of Hamilton’s best-kept secrets for a filling and oh-so satisfying cheap lunch, and it’s still available for pick up and delivery during COVID-19!
This entry is a cheat, because the Hamilton Farmers’ Market plays host to a wide variety of vendors and tantalizing takeaway spots. But take it from us: this is the best food court in the whole city, and one worth repeat visits. Since the Market currently remains open for essential grocery shopping trips during COVID-19, locals still have a chance to grab a great, readymade lunch to bring back home.
There are no shortage of choices in the market’s Real Food Court, including comforting bowls of ramen from Mystic Ramen, flavour-bursting Indian street food from The Flyin’ G’nosh, Southern-style sandwich goodness courtesy of Saltlick Smokehouse, those iconic line-up-worthy poke bowls from Pokeh, and Nam Nom’s must-try Banh Mi sandwiches. If you don’t wanna risk going out, many of these spots are currently offering delivery options as well!
This 90 year-old local staple is the very definition of a classic. Grilling up some of the city’s best hotdogs in their original vintage digs since 1930, Easterbrook’s has been enjoyed time and time again by countless Hamiltonians for generations.
Though known for their sizeable menu of legendary footlong hotdogs dressed in a wide variety of toppings, Easterbrook’s doesn’t stop there; they’ve also got homemade burgers, fries, and ice cream perfect for a summer picnic in the park. Even though people aren’t supposed to be congregating outside right now, Easterbrook’s is thankfully still open for takeout and delivery so you can still enjoy those footlongs in the comfort of your own home!
If you call up Shorty’s Pizza to order one of their fresh, thin-crust New York-style pies, chances are you’re going to have at least an hour’s wait on your hands. But there’s a good reason for that: Shorty’s is slinging some of the best pizza in all of Hamilton, and there’s hardly a night the joint isn’t being swarmed by locals.
Whether it’s a classic New York Cheese pizza or something a little less typical like the White Pizza with olive oil, ricotta, mozzarella, arugula, lemon zest, and pesto on a nutty sesame seed crust, you pretty much can’t go wrong with any of Shorty’s satisfying pies. Thank goodness they’re still offering takeout and delivery for the time being. There might be riots otherwise. (Kidding. But also, not really.)
Places like 193 Bench Kitchen are what lunchtime is all about.
A sister location to the popular Grimsby staple, 193 Bench Kitchen sets a high bar for sandwich makers in Hamilton. Pretty much everything you’re shoving in your mouth from this place is either locally-sourced or made in-house, down to the freshly baked sourdough bread. One of the favourites on Bench’s diverse menu is the Grimsby Smoke, which imitates a classic Reuben sandwich with house-smoked brisket, house-made mustard, and sauerkraut.
While the current offerings are a bit different during COVID-19, locals can still place orders for home delivery to get some of that fresh-baked bread, soup, and all of the ingredients you need to make your own Bench-style sandwiches in your own home kitchen!
Is it even remotely surprising that this ridiculously popular soup joint would make the top of our list? The Burnt Tongue is almost always jam-packed at lunchtime at its three locations, and it’s obvious why: the rotating blackboard menu of fresh soups, stews, and curries usually has something for everyone from vegan to carnivore. This place isn’t just a Hamilton lunch spot. It is THE Hamilton lunch spot.
While The Burnt Tongue’s storefronts are closed for eat-in and takeaway until further notice, these soup makers have found a creative way of supplying their menu favourites to locals. Free contactless home delivery is available, with The Burnt Tongue offering changing menus of pre-assembled soups in a 1.5 litre bag that can be frozen or enjoyed right away. Just boil them in a pot, et voila!
Been to any of these? Create an account and unlock them!
What changes would you make to our list? Let us know in the comments!