Southern-style cuisine could soon be returning to lunch hours in downtown Whitehorse.
At Whitehorse city council’s Oct. 12 meeting, members passed third reading of a bylaw for Smoke and Sow to lease out the kitchen at the Frank Slim building in Shipyards Park.
Smoke and Sow got its start serving up southern barbecue meals from a food truck in Rotary Park during the summer months in recent years.
It moved to a Porter Creek restaurant location at Goodies Gas Bar in November 2020 with the food truck continuing to make an occasional appearance at places like the Fireweed Market.
As it was noted in an earlier report to council, the city put out a request for proposals in May for businesses looking to lease the kitchen space in Shipyards Park.
The last tenant — Compadre’s Burritos — has moved to a Marwell location.
Acting parks manager Arbor Webster told council at its Sept. 21 meeting when the lease came forward that Smoke and Sow’s proposal was one of two that came in with the evaluation looking at background and experience; proposed services including a sample menu; graphics and advertising; sanitation and safety; and the proposed general approach.
“The review committee verified compliance with the specifications and terms and conditions in accordance with the instructions to bidders and concurred Smoke and Sow Inc. met the requirements and has the capability to perform the services; whereas the second proposal lacked detail and did not completely address all requirements outlined in the RFP,” Webster stated in her report. “The proposed three-year lease agreement will commence November 1, 2021 and expire October 31, 2024. There is a provision for renewal of the lease for an additional three-year period.”
Steven Clapp, who co-owns Smoke and Sow with Raymond Magnuson, said in a Sept. 22 interview the restaurant has wanted to open a lunch time downtown location, in addition to the restaurant’s evening offerings, for some time. When the opportunity for the park space came up they decided to put in their proposal.
Initially, they had envisioned a July 1 date to take on the lease, but that has since changed to Nov. 1.
Asked for an explanation on the change in lease dates, Webster stated in an email: “Administration is obligated to exercise due diligence in reviewing every proposal and when preparing the analysis, bylaw, and lease agreement, which takes time. The final decision is not made until council passes the bylaw. All aspects before then are part of administration’s process.”
Clapp said the park provides an excellent downtown spot for Smoke and Sow.
“That park location is so good,” he said, noting that while precise menu options are still being planned, Smoke and Sow is envisioning offering a few established menu favourites along with sandwiches, perhaps some baked goods, and drinks like hot chocolate among others.
“It’ll still be Smoke and Sow,” he said, adding the main restaurant in Porter Creek will likely serve as a location for a lot of the prep work to be done for the lunches being served at Shipyards Park, along with continuing its restaurant service in the evenings.
While the lease is expected to come into effect Nov. 1, Clapp said they are still working to determine a precise opening date for the downtown location.
Before voting in favour of moving ahead with the first two readings on the lease, Coun. Jan Stick said she’s pleased takeout will once again be available at Shipyards Park, noting it seemed many missed having an option for takeout there this summer.
She also had high praises for Smoke and Sow, highlighting the local business which started as a food truck and has since “moved up in the world.”
Mayor Dan Curtis also had high praise for the local restaurant when the lease came forward.
Once it was clarified with staff that the lease will be year-round, Curtis said that is good news for anyone who’s eaten at Smoke and Sow.
“That gives me great peace,” he said to some laughter among council.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at email@example.com