After three years serving up a buffet of Northern home cooking every lunch hour, the Smokehouse Cafe in N’Dilo is closing its doors next week due to financial troubles.
The restaurant run by Bouwa Whee Catering, a subsidiary of the Yellowknives Dene-owned Det’on Cho Corp., serves as a lunch spot for Yellowknifers and a training centre for camp cooks working at the Snap Lake and Diavik diamond mines.
According to Bouwa Whee general manager Vince Halushka, the restaurant has had a hard time breaking even.
“We don’t generate enough foot traffic,” he said. “It’s a great operation, with some of the best quality food in Yellowknife, but it’s off the beaten path.”
Halushka said the restaurant space, which is owned by Det’on Cho, is just being temporarily “mothballed” until the company decides whether or not to reopen. In the interim, it will still function as an available space for large catering jobs.
“We’re just going to leave it in the state that it’s in so it will be very quick to reopen,” he said. “We might look at reopening or doing something different next spring.”
In the meantime, Halushka said the Smokehouse is just one piece of a $20-million per year company that can now focus on its big catering operations, like the diamond mines, which will not be affected.
The closure of the restaurant will also have no effect on the camp cook training, which will be relocated to the company’s medical boarding home, Halushka added.