Mulberry Street Coffeehouse

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"James Street North has been great to us. The street has a feeling thats all its own. I love it," enthused Ella Shepherd, co-owner of Mulberry Street Coffeehouse, when we ask how business on James Street is going, "The other business owners, the people from the community.. it's all been really positve." The coffeehouse is bustling, from the early hours of the morning to night, and its no surprise. Mulberry's arrival is just what the street was waiting for. The space is so inviting; airy with beautiful natural light streaming in, exposed brick walls adorned with the work of local artists, the aroma of fresh baked goods and brewed coffee. How can you not want to stay there all day?

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The space is stunning, and you can see the attention to detail and thought that went into designing it. "We wanted to maintain the integrity of the building and respect for its age and character," explained Ella, "We are also serious environmentalists so re-using materials was totally up our alley." Located in the existing Hotel Hamilton building, they were able to salvage the amazing orginal celing in the southeast corner of the space.  It's a gorgeous feature. Bare light bulbs hang from black cords, antique looking chandeliers have crown molding surrounds. The door frames were reclaimed from an old farmhouse near Selkirk. We especially loved the Terazzo floors, pieces of which are embedded in the coffee bar. "They are also original and were salvaged at a great expense, thanks to our landlord," Ella noted.

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Mulberry serves primarily local and organic items. "Most of our vegetables are bought from the Farmer's Market and local grocers on James Street," said Ella. She's honest when telling us some items are impossible to buy locally, bananas for instance. Mulberry makes great strides though, purchasing their meat, dairy and eggs from local farms and using local providors. And all the baked goods are made by their partner Lynne Gutherie, a fabulous baker. "She uses organic flour, sugar and oats," explained Ella. On the menu, you'll find the most delicious grilled cheese of all time, "I've never had anything like it," said Stephanie Additionally, a wonderful turkey and brie panini, broccoli and cheddar muffins, lemon yogurt cake.. shall we go on? And of course a coffeehouse cannot be, without an assortment of coffee, lattes, espresso, and teas. All are fair-trade, shade-grown, and available iced. Stephanie was gaga over the iced peach green tea.

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We were kind of curious how Mulberry Coffeehouse came to be, so we asked. After moving to Hamilton from Vancouver in her early twenties, Ella felt that Hamilton didn't have enough independent coffee shops, particularly in the downtown. With years of experience as a barista, she decided to link up with partners from My Dog Joe. "With all their experience and know-how, I'm blessed," said Ella, "It's a pretty perfect situation for my first venture."

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One of the appeals of Mulberry is the art they showcase (and sell). "We generally show one artist a month, using the art crawl as the launch date," said Ella. The pieces are selected by a committee, made up of some of the partners and their taste-making advisors. And it seems as though artists are lining up at the door to have their work featured. "We've been overwhelmed with the artists wanting to show in the space." Curious how you can have your art featured? Email mulberrystreetcoffeehouse@gmail.com with photos and a bio.

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Mulberry Street Coffeehouse

193 James Street North

Hamilton, ON