Skip to content

Community space in Mayo will open April 4

Celebrations start at 2 p.m. and continue through the weekend
A new shared kitchen space will open in Mayo April 4. (Jesse Winter/Yukon News file)

Somehow, a rumour started circulating in Mayo in February that the community’s new shared kitchen space wouldn’t be serving French fries.

“We had to clear that up,“ says Sarah Frey, manager of strategic communications with the Na-Cho Nyäk Dun Development Corporation (NNDC), which owns Ihdzí, the space in question.

That’s why, when Ihdzí posted a list of its brand-new commercial-grade appliances to Facebook on Feb. 13, a fryer was at the top of the list.

Residents can see it with their own eyes when Ihdzí (“heart” in Northern Tutchone) officially opens its doors on April 4. Frey is hopeful that visiting the space during the opening weekend will give some residents ideas as far as what kind of culinary magic they might want to work in the kitchen.

Among other things, Ihdzí is meant to give people a low-cost and low-commitment way to test out entrepreneurial food ideas, rather than jumping completely into a full-service restaurant with high overhead costs. That model hasn’t proven to be sustainable in the space, which has been home to a few different restaurants over the years.

“There’s some folks that are really excited about [that ease of access],” she says of the model, which sees the building functioning as a multi-use space where people can get takeout meals, access a variety of youth and adult programming, and simply gather. “It’s not like, ‘ok, you have to sign a contract for every Thursday for 26 weeks. It’s like ‘try a pop-up because it’s fun and something to do, to community-build.’”

For the last few weeks, as renovations have been completed at Ihdzí, Yukon University’s Mayo campus has been running a “Kitchen Helpers Program” that offers different takeout meals on Friday nights. Frey says this has been hugely successful, with Mexican and Vietnamese dishes among the offerings.

Meals on Wheels has also been operating out of Ihdzí.

However, now that the fire and health certificates are in place, Frey says NNDC is excited to welcome Mayo into this building for a full weekend of celebrations.

Beginning at 2 p.m. on April 4, there will be an opening ceremony, prayer and sacred fire. The rest of the weekend, the space will be open for an artist market, free coffee and snacks, and tours of the new kitchen.

A complete renovation, as well as the addition of commercial-grade appliances, including a refrigerator, oven, grill, pizza oven, mixers and more, has improved the space, she says.

Frey says interested entrepreneurs can chat on the opening weekend about the options and possibilities for testing their menus at the location.

She says there’s no restriction on what people can offer. The hope is that there will be vendors offering everything from cupcake Wednesdays to perogy Thursdays to whatever they want to try out—anything that gives Mayo residents a chance to take a night off cooking. That’s what residents have asked for, Frey says.

Community requests will guide the focus for the rest of the space, too, she says.

“We’re calling the space ‘community-informed,’ and it’s going to continue to evolve and be flexible and respond to community needs,” she says. “Whether that’s a period pantry, whether that’s kids’ art classes, whatever the community feels that they need, we’re responding to.”

That will include arts and crafts, garment-making and more. That arm of Ihdzí will be available in-person and on an e-commerce site that launches after the opening.

Visit Ihdzí on Facebook for more information.

Contact Amy Kenny at