YK Restaurant Round-Up – August 7

Pulling Smithwicks at the the Kilt and Castle

This week’s round-up features updates from a few long-awaited promises as well as well as check-ins with new hot-spots that have opened up within the past few weeks, with varying degrees of success.

Korea House

Phil Moon Son’s Korean restaurant venture now has a name, and a downtown home. Korea House will be setting up in the old Le Stockpot location (4909-51 St). While Moon Son admits that things have been moving along slower than expected, he still figures that he should be on schedule for this fall.

Moon Son says that Korea House is a “traditional Korean family restaurant.”  There will be plenty of familiar favourites, but its version of  popular Korean BBQ (gogigui) will be prepared in the kitchen for now. We’re hoping for bebimbap (rice bowls), maybe, or ddukbokkie (a spicy rice cake stew), seafood pancakes, and of course, a generous selection of banchan (accompanying side dishes such as kimchi or namul).

The Kilt & Castle

The Kilt & Castle had its grand opening on Saturday. First, the good news: while the fine-dining room upstairs is not open yet, downstairs’ interior renovations give things a coherent feel that’s a big improvement on (the previous establishment in this space) Sonny’s weird UFC/Abandoned French Restaurant ambiance. Also, only place in town to get a Smithwicks.

Now the not-great news: opening night got a great turn-out, but was wracked with issues: there was only one beer available on tap because of an unfortunate compressor leak, and much of the menu ended up not being available. Since the opening, criticism on social media has been harsh, sometimes needlessly so — it takes a while for a restaurant to get its legs, folks. But recurrent issues with service and food prep have been popping up. Owner Bob Stewart explained that it’s their first bulk liquor and food orders this week, so they’ve got to see how things go, with lots to figure out. We hope these are just learning curves. The place looks promising, and we’re dying to see how the whole Castle thing upstairs is going to turn out. One more strong non-food-related critique: male staff are not wearing kilts, while female staff are in plaid skirts. Not cool, Kilt and Castle, not cool.

Twin Pine Diner

Meanwhile, since its opening last week, the Twin Pine Diner has been receiving a lot of love on social media. Customers are posting glowing reviews, accompanied by pictures of gooey deep-friend PB&Js, overloaded BLTs, fish and chips, meat loaf, chilaquiles, and all-day breakfast. Their chalkboard menus are now full and include some homemade pies to boot. They’ve still had their hiccups too, like having to close the other day because of equipment failure (but they were up and running again the next day). They’ve had to close early a few times already after running out of food, but that’s got a lot to do with how they don’t keep a lot of frozen product, and this is a good sign. They’re also looking for staff as well (they’re down one cook already) in the back and especially for front-of-house stuff.

Some sad news for Wiseguy lovers, though. Chef Robin Wasicuna has shut down the food truck for the season, in order to concentrate on his Twin Pine project for now. They’re planning a big blow-out sale on August 17th, however, so prepare to fill your fists with as many Numbnuts and Jerry Lee’s as possible.

Tim Hortons

We’ve been teased about a second Tim Hortons location for years, but now, with the new Nova Hotel going up between the Explorer and Niven Lake, our Timmies runs might finally get just a little bit shorter. Debbie Hanna, COO of the Nova Group of Companies in Edmonton, told us that they “have been speaking with the owners of the existing Tim Hortons” about opening another location in their hotel, “but nothing is confirmed at this time.” After many maple-glazed years of waiting, the fact that we’re even hearing about talks for this is enough for us. While convenient for hotel guests and traffic on the Airport loop, it could be a viable alternative for when you need your Tim’s but can’t handle an 8 a.m. line-up spanning the Walmart parking lot.

No word on what restaurant will be going in to the hotel yet; Hanna says that “will be decided closer to the opening date.”

Mary Browns

Fried chicken will never die in Yellowknife, apparently. Mary Browns, the Canadian fast-food chain famous for their chicken and hand-cut potato wedges (er, ‘taters’), may be coming to the Old Airport Road area soon. Bereft KFC fans might consider adjusting their palates from the Big Crunch to the Big Mary, and will have to commute a bit further to get their buckets of chicken. On the agenda for Monday’s municipal services committee at City Hall, a motion is being put forward on whether to permit the restaurant at 335 Old Airport Road (the current home of Westown Tire Services Ltd, right across from Corother’s Home Hardware). No word on what’s happening with Westown Tire if this goes through. You’ll have 14 days to appeal this one if the motion is passed, of course, in case you’ve got something against more fried chicken.

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