The latest catalyst to Hamilton's urban renewal effort comes in the form of a sizzling burger.
Tigertown Triumph — with gouda cheese, bacon and avocado — is one of the five local flavours offered by the Canadian burger franchise The Works. The 102-seat restaurant opened at Jackson Square Mall on Tuesday.
5 Hamilton-only burgers at The Works
Tigertown Triumph: gouda cheese, bacon and avocado.
Steep Town Sizzler: avocado, salsa, sour cream and jalapeno peppers
You Got Me Sweet Trippin': red peppers, avocado, beechhouse sauce and havarti cheese
The Hammer: cheddar cheese, tomato, onion and garlic sauce.
The Oskie Wee Wee: red pepper, swiss cheese, strip bacon and mayo.
The trendy restaurant is one of three major new tenants of the downtown mall this year, a sign the mall is also cashing in on the broader downtown resurgence. In July, Nations Fresh Foods opened up its 55,000-square-foot grocery store in Jackson Square. Earlier this year, Anchor Bar, a U.S. chain known for its chicken wings, also set up shop on King Street.
Co-owner Nathan Irwin, a 24-year-old born and raised in Hamilton, said after witnessing the city's urban renewal effort, he wants his restaurant to be part of the growth.
“We are excited about it and we want to be a part of all that opportunity down here,” he told CBC Hamilton.
These recent additions to Jackson Square are all part of the trend that people are rediscovering downtown, said the city's urban renewal manager.
“When anybody chooses to open business in downtown, it's a success story,” said Glen Norton, the city's manager of urban renewal planning and economic development.
Jackson Square 'on the upswing'
Norton stressed that changes are happening in all city centres in conglomerated Hamilton. In the case of downtown Hamilton, new hotels and condo development are driving more people to visit and work in the area, which in turn encourage businesses to invest there.
“It works in a circle,” Norton said.
He added that newly opened businesses, like The Works, may have the “spin-off effect” on the downtown mall, as patrons of the restaurant go on to visit other stores in the mall.
David Premi, a local architect hired by Jackson Square's management to improve the downtown mall, agrees.
“The mall is on the upswing,” he said, adding that it has been attracting better tenants and more shoppers.
He said The Works' street-level entrance and open-concept storefront will make the mall more pedestrian friendly.
“It provides something for pedestrians to engage with,” he said.