Diner by day, bar by night

Whitehorse has a new breakfast joint and a wine bar - all under one roof. It's Burnt Toast Cafe, located in the former location of the Kebabery and Doc's Diner on Second Avenue.

Whitehorse has a new breakfast joint and a wine bar – all under one roof.

It’s Burnt Toast Cafe, located in the former location of the Kebabery and Doc’s Diner on Second Avenue.

The name may bring to mind a greasy spoon diner, but the interior bears a closer resemblance to a tapas bar in Vancouver or Toronto.

The walls are painted black and adorned with mirrors and vintage photographs. Hanging lamps dangle above leather seats and tabled topped with pine.

During the day, it’s a place to grab a bite to eat for those who have grown weary of what Whitehorse’s small culinary world has to offer.

Breakfast lovers will be happy to find choices like huevos rancheros, eggs benedict with smoked salmon and spinach, or french toast topped with apple and fig compote, crushed walnuts, dark rum syrup and fresh whipped cream.

For lunch, sandwiches on offer are filled with pulled pork, chicken mayo, homemade pastrami, fried oysters or roasted vegetables with black bean spread and humus.

During evenings, from Wednesday to Saturday, it’s a place to grab a pint of Boddington’s or a decent glass of wine, along with a plate of chicken wings or charcuterie.

Prices are reasonable by Whitehorse standards. During the day, most plates cost between $9 to $12.

The restaurant is owned by Katja Schmidt, 24, and Christine Kent, 30. Both grew up in Whitehorse and spent many years working at Giorgio’s Cuccina.

Both also have long yearned for a decent place to go for brunch downtown, as well as somewhere to go for a drink and nibble after work. So they made it happen.

Kent envisions the place being somewhere young professionals can slug back mimosas – that’s champagne and orange juice – as hair of the dog early Sunday afternoon, while families can keep their kids preoccupied with Snakes and Ladders.

The duo are proud Yukoners, but they recognized there’s a thirst in town for good, imported beer. So they stocked up on Boddington’s, McEwan’s, Duchy Old Ruby Ale, and Czechvar.

Both Boddington’s and Czechvar, selling for $8 and $7 respectively, sold out their first weekend open, attesting to a public demand for the stuff.

Likewise, while both owners are fans of locally brewed coffee, they knew that serving it wouldn’t set apart their establishment. So they sling Raven’s Brew Coffee from Ketchikan, Alaska.

The restaurant has a casual, urban vibe. Music on the playlist ranges from classic rock to Indie hits: Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac, Johnny Cash, Wilco and the Weakerthans are all on regular rotation.

So is William Shatner. “It’s not Top 40,” said Kent.

Both owners have long harboured dreams of opening a restaurant. But Schmidt, who recently completed a commerce degree in Calgary, had plans to find a job as an investment banker.

Kent, meanwhile, was running a cleaning business in Victoria not long ago.

But, as luck would have it, both met up in Whitehorse in autumn and became excited about opening a restaurant. They found a space and the rest is history.

Burnt Toast currently opens each day from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. From Wednesday until Saturday, they reopen from 5:30 p.m. until closing time – which may be as late as 2 a.m., as long as there are customers to serve.

During their first weekend open, that wasn’t a problem.

They hope to open the bar every night during the summer. Until then, they’re renting the space out to private functions during the evenings they aren’t open to the public.

But just about all of these plans are open to revision. “There’s no master plan,” said Kent.

“It’s a new adventure. You don’t decide these things. There’s energy of its own.”

Contact John Thompson at

johnt@yukon-news.com.