Hamilton theme diner opening 2nd location downtown


Published May 20, 2022 at 5:03 pm

new hamilton restaurants

Passersby in downtown Hamilton might have noticed that carpenters are working away in a corner space that has been vacant for 2½ years.

As it turns out, the owners of Electric Diner are planning to lease the city-owned space in the historic Lister Block at the corner of James North and King William. Earlier this week, city councillors gave unanimous preliminary approval to a proposal that will see Electric Diner move in at 28 James St. N., where it will have a location that complements its flagship location in Hess Village.

Electric Diner, co-owned by Erika Puckering and Jamie Ewing, is the self-professed premier 1980s-style diner in Hamilton. Having opened in 2019, the 96 George St. location is heavy on pastel-hued ambiance that evokes nostalgia from decades ago, and works in referential menu items such as the Axel Foley burger and the Boy George smashed avocado sandwich.

it has also become known for desserts and milkshakes meant to evoke one’s childhood, when we all had a much faster metabolism.

The space that Puckering and Ewing will be expanding to has a chequered history. It was a Wendel Clark’s Classic Grill and Bar from 2015 till late ’19 before closing. Soon thereafter, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a tremendous setback to the restaurant industry, since health and safety protections either proscribed or limited indoor dining until March 2022.

‘No external works’

However, the Lister Block has become much more foot traffic-friendly since 28 James N. last had an active restaurant. As a necessity of the pandemic, Hamilton has become much more open to allowing restaurants to have outdoor patios. King William St. has become a pedestrian promenade between James and John streets, with restaurants such as Berkeley North, HAMBRGR, Relay Coffee Roasters, Sagarmatha Curry Palace and That’s My Jam offering outdoor seating.

Back in February, City council also voted in favour of permanent outdoor patios.

Since Lister Block is a heritage property, the new Electric Diner would be unlikely to have the same flair that distinguishes the Hess location. That is spelled out in the agreement with the city.

“No external works to Lister Block are being undertaken by or for the Lessee by way of this Lease,” it reads. “In addition, the Lessor reserves the right of approval on any signs or advertising that may be visible from the leased premises.”

INsauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising