(More) Places to Eat Off-Campus
DANIELLE LORENZ, MACINSIDERS. At this point in the year, I have a sneaking suspicion that you are somewhat sick of what is available to eat on-campus. I know I was sick of it by about half-way through the terDm. If you think you have missed some of the unique faire available on campus (I went beyond Commons, Bistro and La Piazza), I suggest you check out my article, Food Services On-Campus
Maybe you have ventured out of the safe and comforting little McMaster bubble, and saw what the eateries affiliated with Mac have to offer. If you haven’t read my earlier article on Dining Off-Campus
, do so. It will lead you on a magical and exciting adventure off of campus. But perhaps you are the brave and adventurous type, and thus are also a little bit sick of what is associated with Mac. And thus why I have written this for you; I have found some other places with yummy food. But remember, these places do not accept the Mac Meal Plan, so you will need some other form of payment.
The first place I want to mention is TCBY
, located at the corner of Sterling and King. Seeing how it is winter and all, I feel a little bit ridiculous mentioning this establishment, because it sells frozen yogurt; incidentally, ‘The Country’s Best Yogurt’. They also sell ice cream, but go there for the yogurt. It’s at least 96% fat free (wooohoooo!) and comes in a variety of flavors; two constant (chocolate and vanilla), and four that alternate. Some of the alternating varieties are seasonal (pumpkin and eggnog, for example), or are available in non-sugar or non-dairy. You can get smoothies, parfaits, sundaes, yogwich (frozen yogurt and cookie sandwich), or a Shiver, which is similar to a Blizzard. I realize that this is more of a dessert option, but you can add fruit…so you could maybe stretch it out and make it lunch? I have been known to do that on occasion. (Mom, if you read this, I’m sorry…)
And now for an actual “meal” sort of place, because frozen milk products unfortunately can’t be your only form of subsistence. Montfort
is a chain, with other restaurants in Streetsville, Oakville, and elsewhere in Hamilton. The franchise in Hamilton seems to be smaller than the others; however it still has a fair variety of Mediterranean cuisine. Some of their specialties include taboule, hummus, souvlaki, shwarma, shashlik, rice and salads. If you have no idea what any of these are, they’ve got garlic and some kind of meat in them, and they’re good. And they have these really cute homemade pitas you get as well. How food is cute I’m not really sure, but these pitas are.
The prices are good for the student budget, and the portions are well-sized. In addition, the establishment is open late; until three or four in the morning. The only negative is they do not carry there whole menu at this time. Frequenters of the Snooty Fox (its neighbor) I am sure come in to feed their tummies after a few drinks.
The final place I want to mention is Niche
, which is located two doors down from TCBY. Niche looks expensive, but it isn’t. There are student specials daily during the week, and the rest of the menu is very well-priced. Seven menu items are only $4.95 (these being meals and not appetizers), and the most expensive menu item is only $10.95. Niche serves Italian cuisine – pastas, pizzas, sandwiches, salads, coffees, and desserts. By the way, if they have any cheesecake, get it. I am not a cheesecake person, and I really really really liked the cheesecake I had. Portions are generous as well. No one I know has been in any way disappointed by this place; everyone has excellent things to say about it.
Recently, Niche has changed their hours. They are now open Tuesday to Thursday from 11AM until 7PM, and Friday and Saturdays from 11AM until 9PM. Side note: I brought home Niche for my parents when I went home for the winter break, and my mother attacked me with some of the calamari from the Seafood Linguine. I saw tentacles. I was horrified. But both she and my dad really enjoyed it, as did I (again).
As I mentioned earlier, these places are not part of McMaster’s meal plan. Niche and Montfort are new only this year, so that may change in the years to come. Regardless, all of these places are worthwhile to check out. Westdale has other amazing shops and services, and you should see what’s available to you. Clothing, hair stylists, florists, chocolate, fake and bake, books, cupcakes, estheticians, shoes, jewelry, cooking utensils and likely other things I’m forgetting can all be found in this little village.