My Dog Joe’s rebrand A new name is one of my changes that will take place for the Westdale cornerstone


The Westdale community and feel remained consistent over most of the decade that My Dog Joe has been around for. A hotspot for students, locals and travelers alike, Westdale, and especially My Dog Joe, has served the people of Hamilton faithfully.

However, times are changing. The area has seen changes to its identity. Best represented by the crowdfunding initiative for revitalizing the local theatre, Westdale has had to adjust and adapt to the changing times.

“I’ve been a new owner here for about a year or so, and we’ve tried changing a couple things and gauging customer feedback and what people are really into and what kinds of things they might want.”

Jeff Groat

Owner-operator of My Dog Joe

My Dog Joe is the next candidate on the list to receive changes while respecting its historical significance. In this case, it is not changing for the sake of survival, but because the opportunity is there.

Jeff Groat, owner-operator of My Dog Joe, explained that the feedback of the community has been a driving factor when it comes to the rebrand.

“I’ve been a new owner here for about a year or so, and we’ve tried changing a couple things and gauging customer feedback and what people are really into and what kinds of things they might want.”

This feedback resulted in the idea of doing a complete overhaul. New equipment for the kitchen, adjustments to the interior and exterior and a new menu are all part of the efforts. It may look completely different by the next time you see it.

With all of these changes, My Dog Joe remains grounded in how important it has been for people. One of the recent promotions done to remind themselves of that was having members of the community write down responses to, “What does My Dog Joe mean to you?” on blank cups, and gaining even more feedback.

Groat’s interpretation of My Dog Joe is centered on the Westdale community.

“I think it’s taking pride in the Westdale community. It’s being a good neighbour.”

His drive forward and the renovations are not only about Westdale feedback, however. When asked about his experience and his personal motivations, he explained his history in British Columbia. His favourite memory working in a restaurant had to do with a truffle the head chef made at home with a friend and brought into the restaurant.

“Normally, I hate chocolate mint, but this truffle tasted fantastic. It was just this beautiful, fresh mint flavour and nice chocolate. Really well made. And I remembered tasting this thing and just being like, ‘Wow, this is so good. How can I do this?’”

What Groat hopes to bring to Westdale are not only adjustments based on feedback from the community and the overhaul to its visual design while respecting its history, but also unforgettable food to pass along that memory.

“I feel like that sort of experience is informing what we want to do here with My Dog Joe. … Offering baked goods and food and stuff that you can’t get anywhere else. You remember that experience if it’s your first time coming. If it’s not, you come back specifically for that thing because you know it and love it.”

Groat hopes that the renovations will be completed by the end of the Provincial Day long weekend in August.


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Author: Shane Madill

As a graduate of McMaster’s Economics program and the Editor-in-Chief for Volume 88, Shane is a seasoned Silhouette contributor who formerly acted as an Opinion Editor, Online Editor, Online Reporter and Andy Volunteer. A man of many names and talents, his presence and work at The Silhouette is a constant reminder to “be the Shane you wish to see in the world.”