The latest addition to the Crown Point restaurant scene is Cafe Baffico, a cozy new Italian restaurant located on King Street, across from Buddy’s Roadhouse and in the same spot that recently housed Chinese Delight.
It’s the latest project of owner and chef Jordan Weisz, a young man with an impressive list of culinary accomplishments. He co-founded Smalls Coffee on Cannon Street, has cooked at a Michelin star restaurant and, on several occasions, has visited Italy, the country that inspired not only the cuisine of his new eatery but also its name.
“This guy inherited a property on the mountainside [in the Cinque Terre region of Italy] and made this place called Villa Baffico, with a couple little houses and you can rent them,” Weisz explained. “I think it’s a family name. But to me what Baffico means is just casual dining with people you love or complete strangers, which is what happened at Baffico. We ate the food that they wanted to share, and we celebrated life, and we hung out and we chatted with each other in broken English all night, drinking wine.”
It’s an experience he hopes to share with others here in Hamilton. Originally from Richmond Hill, Weisz chose to stay after finishing his studies at McMaster University. Next, he earned a culinary degree at Liaison College, then worked at such restaurants as Berkeley North, Redchurch Cafe, and the aforementioned Smalls. After finishing his involvement in Smalls, Weisz searched for his next opportunity. A former customer in real estate tipped him off to the location on King.
“I saw the listing online a few times, but it wasn’t for me,” Weisz said. “But he said, ‘No, no, no. You need to come see it, and you need to see where it is. You need to understand this area.”
“No, no, no. You need to come see it”
“When we came in here, the shape was super unique, and the size, especially the size of the kitchen and the basement … it’s very rare that a kitchen is that big for a dining room this small. We saw it as an opportunity to get a space that we can work comfortably in and also to grow with.”
The plan is for Cafe Baffico to be open for light breakfast and lunch most days, reopening in the evening for dinner service. There won’t be a set menu, but look for pasta and pizza options as a first course, and meat and vegetable dishes for the second, all reasonably priced at just above the ten dollar mark. And while I haven’t had the chance to sample the food as of this writing, Weisz’s enthusiasm for his restaurant was infectious. Expect good times at Cafe Baffico.
Cafe Baffico, 1375 King Street East, www.cafebaffico.com