Our 8th stop on my #BIEat tour with Hamilton EcDev is newly opened West 25 Cafe & Pizzeria. We were lucky enough to arrange a sneak peek a day before they officially opened to the public. I honestly have no idea what was here before but it looked like the owners did some work to the interior. It had that new car feeling inside.
The menu ranges from salads, panini's, wings to pizza and of course your standard coffee shop offerings. A little bit of everything I guess is what they were going for. Personally this raises a few red flags for me. You can't be everything to everyone. I would rather have a restaurant do a few things really well, than a lot of things mediocre. To quote T.I "Don't want no Mediocre. I won't hit no Mediocre. No" He wasn't exactly referencing food but it's all the same right? Basically, if you're not going to do it well - don't do it at all.
Our original visit was back in August so I'm not too sure if they've tweaked a few things or not. If they have, please let me know in the comments. On this occasion, we tried three seasonal salads, three pizza slices and a huge mountain of wings. The wings were really meaty and sauced perfectly. The spinach garnish was a little much but I'm not hating, it made me feel like I was eating a salad.
The salads were incredibly hardy and would make an excellent lunch option. They weren't stingy with the toppings at all. I would like to see some creativity with the salads in the future and possibly offer a few house made dressings. The option to add a warm component would be great too.
The pizza unfortunately was like any other pizza down the street. Very mediocre. Decent if you're in a pinch and looking for something hot on the go but I wouldn't go out of my way to order this again.
I would say panini sandwiches are their specialty. I love, love, love a nice crispy warm panini. The one pictured above was the Chicken Tandoori - they're onto something with the creativity of this one but I wish the chunks of chicken were larger and the flavours a smidgen more intensified. I feel like they're holding back in order to not scare away the masses. Not that I'm speaking for the Hamilton Community or anything but Hamilton is not afraid of flavour. The palate of Hamiltonians are bold and enjoy a kick in the face or two - of flavour! So restauranteurs - listen up! Get your %^& together and stop holding back.
The desserts might be the hidden gem here, they're all made in house by a pastry chef. We ordered the upside down pineapple cake and this chocolate caramel monstrosity of a cupcake. Again, similar to the hot food, the flavours need to be kicked up a notch! Everything was incredibly neutral. My pineapple upside down cake could have used more pineapple flavour but the chocolate cupcake was pretty spot on. I enjoyed it.
Hopefully in the next few months they'll iron out all the kinks and be a little more bold with their offerings and flavour. The space has an incredible amount of potential and a pretty decent location.
West 25 Cafe & Pizzeria
25 Main St West
Previous #BIEat features: #1 Westdale - Delirious | #2 Stoney Creek - The Attic | #3 Waterdown - Jitterbug Cafe | #4 Concession - Papa Leo's | #5 Dundas - Picone Fine Food | #6 Ottawa Street - Poco Loco | #7 Barton Street - Duarte's
*this was a complimentary meal in partnership with The Hamilton Economic Development Office. The opinions expressed are my own