The food revolution on Grey Street
At the centre of this metamorphosis is Grey Street, the main road of Hamilton east that has exploded into an eclectic mix of funky restaurants, chic cafes and laid-back hangouts selling simple but delicious street eats.
Mavis and Co on the corner of Bridge and Grey Streets has become one of the most iconic eateries in the area thanks to its scrumptious brunch menu, famous sweets cabinet, and sunny outdoor seating. What began as a stall at a local farmers’ market has grown into a Hamilton institution that draws daily crowds of food lovers.
For those with a sweet tooth, nearby Duck Island Ice Cream is a must-do. With flavours ranging from salted caramel with cacao crumb to peppermint slice, toasted marshmallow, and even cinnamon smoked apple pie, this is far from your average ice cream bar. Across the road is Grey St Kitchen, serving up delicious breakfast and lunch fare along with some of the best coffee in the city, and in fact the country. Co-owner and barista Dove Chen took out the New Zealand Barista Championship in 2019 (and previously in 2017 as well).
There’s a good dollop of street eats to be had on Grey Street too. Winner Winner, specialising in all manner of tasty free-range chicken treats is a local favourite. While just around the corner on Cook Street, you can find GoneBurger – the home of big succulent, yet nutritious, creations that include the Belly of the Beast, My Deer and Drunken Sailor; and Cook Street Social, serving up a great range of craft beer and brunch, lunch and dinner options.
Explore the surrounding streets and lanes
The streets and lanes surrounding Grey Street are worth exploring as well. GG's Cafe down Lovegrove Lane epitomises the area’s hip new food culture. Adorned with curiosities and the artistic creations of local crafters, this cafe has become known among Hamiltonians for its coffee, soups, and traditional old school baking including some of the best lamingtons in the city.
A few steps down the lane is Hearth Juice Bar and Grocer, run by yoga teacher Katie Deare. Hearth offers a wide selection of organic cold-pressed juice, tasty breads, goat cheese, craft chocolate and other local and seasonal produce, making it the ideal place for people seeking flavoursome food with a clean, organic twist.
Just around the corner you can find Two Birds Eatery, on Clyde St; and Hayes Common, on the corner of Plunket Terrace and Jellicoe Drive. With a reputation for its range of delicious raw cakes and slices, Two Birds specialises in creating flavourful food from scratch using locally-sourced, free range ingredients. Hayes Common is located beside the Waikato River on Hayes Paddock – a former state housing enclave. It’s the perfect place to while away an afternoon or evening enjoying a delicious main or unwinding with a shared platter accompanied by local wine or craft beer from local brewer Good George.