By Jacob Hoytema –
Thomas Williams’ two young sons played an energetic game of mini-stick hockey in between the tables of Hintonburger on the morning after the restaurant opened in its new home. Thomas, Hintonburger’s owner, says he moved to the new location so he could have more room for seating, and his boys certainly seem to enjoy the new space.
“My son put on his Hintonburger shirt this morning and told me he doesn’t want to go to school anymore; he’s just going to go to Hintonburger and work,” Thomas says with a laugh.
This is Hintonburger’s third location in its seven year history. It moved to its new site at Bayswater and Somerset, a few blocks down from its previous location on Wellington West, and opened officially on May 4.
This new site formerly housed Vibe Lounge, which had notoriously prompted complaints from the neighbourhood. Thomas says he’s already heard positive comments from several members of the community supporting the change of business.
“Everybody comes by to say how happy they are to see us move into this place,” he says, explaining that some residents were “kind of worried about what it was going to be” after Vibe Lounge moved out.
Thomas says that he wanted to give the corner location a more “open” atmosphere, even while cleaning the space before the official opening day.
“We left the paper off the windows, and we just kind of leave it open at night, leave a light on or two, just to signal the change,” he describes. “It’s not a nightclub; it’s not this dark corner.”
Much of the furniture in the seating area is brought over from the previous two Hintonburger locations, with a significant new addition. Thomas brought in new dark-stained wooden tables and benches made by Larry Gorton, a carpenter from Kemptville. Larry is a former neighbour of Hintonburger’s restaurant manager Jessica Wilkinson — “We always keep things local,” Thomas says. Thomas says he plans to use more of Larry’s tables both inside as well as on the outdoor patio.
Thomas also described plans for transforming the new space even further over the next few months. He says he hopes to later this year tear down a wall between the kitchen and eating spaces, start providing table service, and even carry some local beers. Currently, Hintonburger only serves customers at the counter.
Additionally, the outdoor patio has some space at the back that Thomas still hasn’t decided what to do with — though he says he envisions a communal barbecue space for nearby apartment-dwellers who may not have their own backyard grill. Thomas admits that he isn’t sure of what legal hoops he’d need to jump to create such an area, but says he’s seen it done before.