Story and photo by Gareth Vieira
The atmosphere at LocalNo90 Bar + Kitchen is welcoming, as patrons switch seats mid-meal and converse across the room. There’s a Cheers-like quality; a place where everyone knows your name. It’s Port Hope’s newest restaurant and owner Dana Hubbard says since opening, the feedback has been nothing but positive.
“I knew that I wanted to open something in Port Hope, there is a lot going on here in the restaurant industry that is amazing, but I wanted to try something different and that’s how I decided the concept for LocalNo90, a niche we can fill in Port Hope.”
Dana has worked for many years in the food industry and said there comes a time when you have to decide whether you want to be an employee or an entrepreneur.
The restaurant is located at 90 Mill Street, a location she never noticed until it was pointed out to her by a friend. After months of searching, she had finally found the perfect spot.
“It was a lot of hard work. We anticipated taking out a wall and a half and painting, but then as luck would have it, it turned into a full gut rebuild. The money, everything was pushed to the limit, but we never had a bad day. We all knew we would get to this point and we got there.”
Dana’s silent, but maybe not so silent, partner in this business endeavour is Giorgos Kallonakis, owner of Port Hope’s nationally celebrated Olympus Burger.
“Giorgos and I have always wanted to work together and this gave us the opportunity. He is my semi-silent partner. We are already excited about new projects. I just want to keep moving forward and it’s great to have someone like Giorgos who really understands business.”
LocalNo90 serves a daily menu which focuses on local meats, cheeses, and preserves. Both Dana and her chef Johnny Lee contact the local farms and farmer’s markets and use these locally sourced ingredients to serve up ever-changing nightly features which have included braised pork belly and roasted duck. They hold a weekly indoor farmer’s market every Saturday from 10 am – 1 pm featuring delectable items such as smoked fish, spreads, sprouts, meats, baked goods, preserves, frozen meals, and more. Chef Lee and Dana have been friends for years and he has been cooking for the past twenty years across North America, Ireland, and Trinidad.
“I have learned a variety of different styles,” he said. “Traditionally, French and Mediterranean are styles I am big on. One of my favourite dishes at the restaurant is the meatballs, but most of the time I would push the features.”
Dana is a long-time resident of Port Hope and creating a place where people can feel comfortable and connect is what she envisioned for the restaurant. These types of interactions bring a smile to her face.
“It’s amazing to me when I look up at night at the restaurant and we are full, and it’s all people from our community, enjoying spending time together.”
The LocalNo90 Bar + Kitchen is open Sunday – Thursday from 4 pm – 11 pm, and Fridays and Saturdays from 4 pm – 11 pm.
Find them on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/localno90/