The Other Bird Inc.
Between zero and three — that’s the number of new restaurants Erin Dunham and Matt Kershaw say they plan to open
in 2015. They think.
“That’s the thing, there could be a million things,” says Kershaw. “I mean we’ve discussed a million different things.”
If it feels like they’ve already done a million different things, there’s a reason. Together Dunham and Kershaw operate Burlington restaurant The Alex and Hamilton eateries Rapscallion and Two Black Sheep. They’re also working on Ottawa Street’s Black Sheep Snack Bar and the Indiegogo-funded taco-and-tequila joint The Mule. Their zero-to-three estimate is over and above these.
Kershaw says that when he opened The Alex in 2010, he always kind of planned to have somewhere around six restaurants.
“That was my goal but I think since I met Erin a few months after that, the goal might be different. And she’ll be leading the charge,” he laughs.
Dunham agrees. A fall trip to Italy (the couple’s first vacation in three years) got them thinking about a takeout pizza place. They’re not saying it will happen this year, but they’re not not saying that either. And they’re already working on a fusion restaurant beside Black Sheep Snack Bar — one that offers a mix of interesting dumplings, bao, tacos and zippy Central American-style appetizers. Kershaw wants to keep the price point low and open without a liquor licence to speed the launch.
Then there’s the boutique hotel Dunham has always wanted to open. It’s about the only thing she can say with certainty won’t happen this year. Anything else is fair game, including expanding their catering services, something that has fallen into their laps despite them never having gone after it.
Finally, there’s one more possibility Dunham wants to add to the list.
“He’s awesome on television,” she says of Kershaw.
Ultimately, they’d like to be in a position where they can help others open restaurants — to invest in their own staff (currently 28, it should double in 2015) and give them guidance.
“If everything goes well and we keep having the golden touch, I think in a few years we’ll try to help other people fulfil their dreams,” says Kershaw. “Chef X, what have you always wanted to do? Let’s do this.”
The Other Bird Inc.
Owners: Erin Dunham and Matt Kershaw
What they do: Open and operate restaurants
Nominated by: Keanin Loomis, president and CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.
Why the nomination: “Matt and Erin have helped transform the restaurant landscape in Hamilton and will only be getting bigger in 2015. The model and anticipated success of their crowd-funded restaurant is the reason to watch them in 2015.”
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