Located in downtown Port Hope, the unexpected and vibrant LOCAL No90 is the brainchild of restauranteur Dana Hubbard. A veteran of the restaurant business, Dana grew up working in every tier of the industry before she decided to branch off on her own.

What she came up with is an addictive hangout with a shareable menu, great cocktails and a cool ambience. The black-and-teal decor is a refreshing backdrop, pairing beautifully with the smooth rock soundtrack and cozy hospitality of Dana and the staff. As soon as you walk in, you’re greeted as if you’ve been to LOCAL No90 a dozen times; Dana has that special quality of making her customers feel like old friends.

Aside from the well-stocked bar (and the cocktails and wine selection are truly excellent), the first thing that’s bound to catch your eye is the awesome mural decking out the wall to your left. A crowd-sourced type of artistic statement, the mural was created when local graffiti artists were asked to write something that evoked how they feel about Port Hope. It’s colourful, fun and completely at home in LOCAL No90, which celebrates the town by sourcing ingredients from the farmers and artisans who live here.

The menu is split between shareable plates and handcrafted pizzas. The mussels are a perennial hit with regulars, as are the baked portobello mushroom and the charcuterie plate that receives audible oohs and ahhs as it arrives at the table. There are a surprising number of vegan options on the menu as well, and that was part of Dana’s mission when she was putting it together. “I wanted to cater to a variety of special diets.”

To that end, chef Jonny Lee offers an ever-changing panel of up to 20 specials that can be tailored to any diet, and still give diners a taste of what the local ingredients can do. Pizzas have a thin crust that manages to be both crisp and fluffy at the same time, heaped with toppings like sweet cherry tomatoes and aromatic basil. Salads feature microgreens and sprouts from Little Leaf farms.littleleaffarms.ca

Most of the produce comes from Harmony Hills, an urban farm located in Cobourg. “We never know what we’re going to get,” Dana says enthusiastically. The farms drop off what’s in season—Dana and Jonny do the rest, transforming fresh, whole ingredients into wholesome, delicious food in a tiny back kitchen that doesn’t even have a commercial oven.

I’ll sum up the experience of going to LOCAL No90 with a personal anecdote. On the night I visited, I was sitting next to a couple who had been visiting Port Hope from Ottawa and became stranded when their car broke down. As they waited for it to be repaired, they’d stumbled upon LOCAL No90, and Dana had taken them in and had been hosting them for four hours. I thought that they were regulars, but it was their first time there. They couldn’t have found a better home away from home.

LOCAL No90 Bar + Kitchen
90 Mill St. N.
Port Hope, Ont.

Local No90