If, like me, you live in Paris, Ontario, you probably know the Arlington Hotel. But do you know Erin Dunham?
Erin is the Co-Founder and CEO of The Other Bird Restaurant Group . The Other Bird owns our beloved Arlington, as well as five Hamilton-based restaurants: Two Black Sheep, Burro, The Mule , Black Sheep Snack Bar , and Rapscallion Rogue Eatery. Recently I touched base with this busy lady and learned a bit about what makes her tick.
Who is Erin Dunham?
Erin Dunham is a CEO, a writer, a friend, a wine connoisseur, a lover of good food and better conversation. Erin Dunham does not take herself too seriously, but takes her dogs very seriously.
Where are you from?
Hamilton, Ontario, baby!
How did you start working in the restaurant industry?
When I was 13 I started as a dishwasher at the Philip Shaver House in Ancaster. And I’ve been in it every since.
Were you always interested in the restaurant business?
I was, but I spent my entire life trying to get out of it. Historically we’re all under-appreciated, treated like second rate people and underpaid. But it turns out, I love what this industry has become.
As a businesswoman, what drew you to Paris?
The opportunity to own the Arlington. We always wanted to do a boutique hotel, but we didn’t think it would be for another five years. The opportunity presented itself when the current owner came to us. When we saw it, we fell in love with the town and it was the easiest decision we ever made.
What’s next for the other bird?
By the end of this year, we are planning to expand to another city and we’re partnering with a local band to open a cool concept in Hamilton which I think everyone will love. That will happen in the next year.
Is there a chance Paris will get a taco restaurant?
There is never a zero chance of anything with us.
If you weren’t a restaurateur, what would you be doing?
I would be a writer and painter on the coast of France.
What do you like to do to unwind?
Mostly, because of how I was raised in the industry, I drink and hang out with my friends and talk about nonsense. When I think about having alone time or down time, what I think about doing is writing and painting and having philosophical conversations and walking my dogs on beaches. But there’s no time.
If you’d like to keep up with Erin, be sure to follow her on Twitter.