The Burnt Tongue
This series is designed for McMaster students to share some of their favourite restaurants in the city, and encourages the discussion of local businesses that have yet to get their just deserts among national and local publications.
Why then should we, once again, talk about local soup restaurant, the Burnt Tongue?
Frankly, it is still the first place that I recommend to students who want to begin exploring the downtown core.
It is only natural for the Cannon and James Street soup shop to be my first pick for our new student oriented food column.
The restaurant has been praised in the Hamilton Spectator, Huffington Post Canada, Elle Canada and the Food Network’s “You Gotta Eat Here” series, in addition to almost every major local food blog.
For me, the Burnt Tongue, represents something that should still be valued among the well-documented growth of the James Street food scene.
It is a reliable and approachable option for students, while also introducing them to the popular downtown neighbourhood.
If you are familiar with the recent string of restaurants that have opened, you may have noticed that all these places – Nique, The French, Eat Izakaya, Berkeley North, Born and Raised – have all popped up on, or just around the corner from James Street North and all sit in the $15 to $30 price range for an average dinner.
They are all welcome additions to the street, but for the average student budget, they will always be an occasional treat rather than a reliable quick bite.
I started going on a nearweekly basis during last year’s winter term, and I have never had a disappointing soup.
That’s no small claim either. At noon every single day, the Burnt Tongue posts their new selection of daily soups. They then offer another rotation of soups just before dinner time. This amount has doubled since they opened a second location on Locke Street South last year. Despite the volume, there is still rarely any repeat soups in a given month.
Co-owner and chef Dan Robinson and his staff have always succesffully met that challenging premise, and still serve other quality dishes.I know that even if I am unfamiliar with the set of daily offerings, I often find myself trekking through rain and snowstorms even just to enjoy best damn fries in the city, or one their mouth-watering grilled cheeses.
The Burnt Tongue is also exceptional in how it naturally reflects the community around it. The interior marries the sleek, simplistic design of modern quick, dine-in eateries while maintaining that cozy, rustic feel that has come to be synonymous with the street.
It’s all tied to together a corkboard of posters and business cards, a free advertising space for local artists, musicians, designers, business and trades people.
While the Locke Street location may be a more convenient option for some, the original gets my recommendation because it literally and symbollically plops you into the middle of one of the most talked-about neighborhoods in the city.
Mass appeal, reliability and a reasonable price range is a perfect recipe for hungry students. I can’t think of a better first place to share with friends, family and readers.