Review: “The Heartbeat Of Hamilton”

August 20, 2021 | 1 Comment

[Written by Dale Butler]

New life is being breathed into the North East Hamilton zone by the Government, residents and merchants. Khalid Wasi was the forerunner of rejuvenating this area. He would be very proud to see his dream slowly materialize.

Historically, it’s seen as an area established for the black working class who arrived from the West Indies. It abounds with landmark historic buildings like Alaska Hall, Wantley House, Young Men’s Social Club [Social Club - a shortened reference], lodges, and the First Church of God. However, it has been labelled by a younger group, almost always with few ties to the area, as “Back-A-Tarn”.

Recently, it has also been called “Uptown”, but when you sum it up from folklore stories about Hubie’s Jazz Bar, Parkers’ Hill, Scratchie’s Barbershop, Social Club and Maria Benn’s, to Clarke’s and Hendrickson’s Bars, The Green Gables, Spinning Wheel, Paramount Variety Store and the start to finish of the May 24th Derby, it is really the heartbeat of Hamilton.

In virtually every barbershop conversation you will, sooner or later, also hear discussions about the current and former outstanding restaurants that gained a strong footing there. The Fish Hut, Puffy’s, Muslim Bakery, Chinese Restaurant, Lorraine’s Checkerboard/Checkmate and Fred “Turkey” Barnes’ famous Rancho Grande are often referred to with a myriad of stories.

But none of them is remembered as much as Mrs. Priscilla Wilkinson of the Paramount Restaurant and Variety Store with her famous greeting: “Why ya want?” But they have all since closed.

This restaurant review will concentrate on the heartbeat of Hamilton, with an eastern boundary of King Street going north to Parsons Road, west to Cedar Avenue and then turning east along Victoria Street to King Street. Some might think there are only a few restaurants in the area but you are going to be in for a real surprise.

The variety will shock you because they offer quite a selection, from Bermudian, Filipino, Indian, West Indian, French, and Chinese food. With that detailed summary, my first review, later this week will be the recently opened Quality Kitchen in the Leopards Club International Bermuda. I commend Sensei Fred.

“Skipper” Ingham, who formed The Back-A-Tarn Development Association in the 1970s, Khalid Wasi, and the current merchants working hard to bring about these changes.

- Dale Butler is a former principal and Government Minister for Culture. He currently writes music reviews for Bernews and previously wrote the popular “Eating with Ed” for the Bermuda Sun in the 1980s. As a former director with the Little Venice Group for 20 years, he has a broad knowledge of food and service.

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  1. And says:

    And the famous Mama Stella’s

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