Back in June I headed north for the summer solstice. Flying into Whitehorse, I did what any food network fan would do. Look up where John Catucci has eaten. Whitehorse is a tiny place, so accidentally driving past Klondike Rib & Salmon was probably a lot easier than it sounds. The building itself has a lot of character. I think that’s real estate agent talk for, ecclecic. The menu and website describe it slightly more affectionately.
Our restaurant is housed in the two oldest buildings still in use in the Yukon‟s Capital. The dining room was originally opened as a tent frame bakery called, MacMillan‟s Bakery around 1900. In 1929 the building was purchased by T.C. Richards and Willard Phelps. They called it “Klondike Airways” (as seen on the North side of the building) and it became a mail and freight business. Although the partners hoped some day to buy a plane as a means of transporting freight and mail, they never did. Using snowmobiles and caterpillars, the company carried about 110 000 lbs of mail to Dawson City each year. Before 1921 only first class mail was delivered in the winter. The rest of the mail waited in Whitehorse for the ice to break up and the steamers to sail. This usually happened sometime in May. In the 1930’s, the building was used by Jack French as a carpentry shop; and coffins were constructed for a mortuary in downtown Whitehorse…. Thankfully that business “died”… and today we have this quaint little “Northern Klondike Theme Restaurant.”
Without a lot of greens on the menu for the trip north, the group shared a miner’s salad. The soft brie and warm focaccia bread made an otherwise everyday salad a hit. Looking around the restaurant, I think it would be fair to say that 84.5% of the customers were eating fish and chips. So what did we all order. Fish and chips. The two-piece meal arrived on ‘newspaper’, with a couple of tablespoons of house-made slaw and tartar sauce. Vinegar and ketchup were on the table. The halibut was cooked very well and the batter wasn’t heavy or greasy. The fries had a bit of spice to them, causing them to stand on their own rather than be token. I’m not a regular fish and chip guy, but these were some of the best I’ve had in a long time. All in all, the service and food was quite good and we were happy we went.
Whether it was lunch or supper, the lineups seemed never ending every time we passed by. I wonder if it has always been like this, or it’s a case of the Food Network status. Either way, I’d say stop in if you’re around these parts.