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The Food Court Foodie

The Townhall Social Eatery serves up a top-tier variety of offerings under one cool roof on Concession Street.

Kara Liersch is no stranger to the hustle of the restaurant business. As one third of Social Event Group, the Hamilton restaurant collective responsible for some of the coolest food joints in town – The Dirty South food truck and restaurants among them – she was well versed in the pivoting required when feeding the masses. When the pandemic threw the group’s most recent plan a curveball, rather than pivot, they dug in their heels and got to work.

Concession Street’s Townhall Social Eatery was imagined as a  “food court but cool,” with a variety of vendors serving top-tier fun food for every member of the friend group and family. “As we have young kids we wanted to create a space that is inclusive to all and a place where parents don’t have to sacrifice quality,” says Liersch. After the uncertainty created by the pandemic left them with a great idea, a fantastic space, but no participants, Liersch and her partners – chef/husband Brett Liersch and operations manager Sean Keast – decided to pool their extensive knowledge of the industry, and go it alone. “We were, of course, scared because we were left to create and run multiple stalls (brands essentially), but our team is amazing and we all figured it out together. We agree that it worked out for the better.”

The results are stunning, with no hint of the creative gymnastics that preceded its May opening “after three years of COVID, construction and City holdups,” sighs Liersch. The decor is insta-worthy, and the menus varied and delicious. Whether it’s coffee, tacos, a local brew, or some plain old comfort food, flavour and fun are guaranteed – and, thanks to a guest stall reserved for pop-ups, there’s always something new. The role of this rotating space is to support local business and not just food. “We are completely open to any maker wanting to use the space. We really want to showcase local and continuously change things up,” Liersch says. 

Change is a theme with Liersch and her crew, and with the addition of Townhall Social to the Mountain, a creative bright spot in a landscape rich in chain restaurants, change is definitely good.