Highway grub worth pulling over for

The Alaska Highway can be one of the worst places for impromptu hunger pangs to hit. Options for food between Watson Lake and Whitehorse are limited to a handful of restaurants.

The Alaska Highway can be one of the worst places for impromptu hunger pangs to hit.

Options for food between Watson Lake and Whitehorse are limited to a handful of restaurants, most of which have shortened hours in the winter time.

But help is on the way for the hungry traveller.

Lee Willett, the owner of Burnt Toast Cafe in downtown Whitehorse, is opening a pub and restaurant at the Carcross cutoff.

Willett and her partner, Shannon Corrado, had been looking for a spot to open a second restaurant for years.

They first thought about the McRae subdivision, but their plans fell through in October last year, Willett said.

“The very same night that happened we went out for a drive and we were wondering about that place at the Carcross cutoff,” Willett said, referring to the empty two-storey building on the east side of the highway.

“The owner came out and about 10 minutes later we had a deal to lease it.”

The aptly named Cutoff Pub and Restaurant will operate upstairs in the building, with the pub opening in early April.

It’ll be run under a restaurant license so that families can bring their children, Willett added.

Offsales will be available, too, and the restaurant should open later this summer after septic work is completed in the building.

Customers familiar with Burnt Toast can expect a similar approach to cooking at the new restaurant.

That means everything will be made from scratch, Willett said.

The menu will consist of mostly pub fare, which includes pizza, brunch on Saturdays and a fixed dinner menu on Sundays, she added.

“We call it truck-stop chic,” Willett said.

“It’s the kind of food you’d expect to find along the highway. It’s home cooking but brought up a notch.”

Willett expects the new restaurant to do very well, considering there are very few places to eat in the area.

The Wolf’s Den, a Swiss/German restaurant about 1.5 kilometres down the road, is up for sale.

At the cutoff there was once a successful business, the Carcross Corner Gas Bar, but it closed in 2004 after 12 years in operation.

The population in nearby Marsh Lake has grown steadily over the years, Willett said, and people in Mary Lake, Cowley Creek and Wolf Creek are also excited about the new restaurant.

“They’re all chomping at the bit for us to open,” Willett said.

Mike Brown owns the building and is leasing the space to Willett. When he bought the property in 1999 there was nothing but weeds and trees, he said.

Brown, an entrepreneur, is following in the same footsteps as his grandfather, famed businessman T.C. Richards.

It hasn’t been easy over the years, he said, as he’s dealt with a considerable amount of red tape to get the building completed. “It’s been a grind,” he said.

Brown used Sitka spruce for the building. He’s planning on leasing the ground floor to a new business in the near future.

As a history buff, he’s decked the interior with numerous references to Yukon’s history.

The bar features old fir from U.S. Army buildings, while the tables have individual themes such as Yukon’s steamships, the Alaska Highway and Dawson City’s dance hall girls.

“I’ve worked hard all my life,” said Brown, who credits his mother, Babe Richards, as the source of his work ethic.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mobile vaccine team Team Balto practises vaccine clinic set-up and teardown at Vanier Catholic Secondary School. Mobile vaccine teams are heading out this week to the communities in order to begin Moderna vaccinations. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Mobile vaccine teams begin community vaccinations

“It’s an all-of-government approach”

The now empty lot at 410 Cook Street in Whitehorse on Jan. 19. As developers move forward with plans for a housing development that would feature 16 micro-units, they are asking city council for a zoning change that would reduce the number of required parking spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Developer asks for zoning change

Would reduce the number of required parking spaces

The Liard First Nation is preparing to enter negotiations for self-governance with the territorial and federal governments. (Jackie Hong/Yukon News file)
Liard First Nation preparing to enter self-governance negotiations with Yukon, federal governments

Chief Stephen Charlie seeking an agreement separate from “dead end” UFA

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Jan. 20, 2021

A Copper Ridge resident clears their driveway after a massive over night snowfall in Whitehorse on Nov. 2, 2020. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the Whitehorse and Haines Junction areas for Jan. 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Winter storm warning for Haines Junction and Whitehorse

Environment Canada says the storm will develop Monday and last until Tuesday

Mayor Dan Curtis listens to a councillor on the phone during a city council meeting in Whitehorse on April 14, 2020. Curtis announced Jan. 14 that he intends to seek nomination to be the Yukon Liberal candidate for Whitehorse Centre in the 2021 territorial election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Whitehorse mayor seeking nomination for territorial election

Whitehorse mayor Dan Curtis is preparing for a run in the upcoming… Continue reading

Gerard Redinger was charged under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> with failing to self-isolate and failing to transit through the Yukon in under 24 hours. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Man ticketed $1,150 at Wolf Creek campground for failing to self-isolate

Gerard Redinger signed a 24-hour transit declaration, ticketed 13 days later

Yukon Energy, Solvest Inc. and Chu Níikwän Development Corporation are calling on the city for a meeting to look at possibilities for separate tax rates or incentives for renewable energy projects. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tax changes sought for Whitehorse energy projects

Delegates call for separate property tax category for renewable energy projects

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Most Read