Inuvik’s Freeway Restaurant, Shivers Lounge set to shut, leaving city within the lurch

Just a few months after returning to in-person enterprise, the restaurant and lounge inside Inuvik’s MacKenzie Lodge will probably be closing once more. They have been amongst the few spots within the city the place individuals may sit down for a night meal.

Lodge common supervisor Vince Brown confirmed in an electronic mail that the lease for the Freeway Restaurant — previously the MacKenzie Grill — and Shivers Lounge, which expires Aug. 31, has not been renewed. 

The lounge and restaurant have been among the many few locations the place residents may exit to eat within the Beaufort Delta hub. Their closure will go away The Roost, a fast-food joint with restricted seating, and Alestine’s, a yard restaurant run partly out of a transformed college bus.

Brian and Pam McDonald run Alestine’s, a yard restaurant run partly out of a transformed college bus. (Karli Zschogner/CBC)

The group can be vulnerable to dropping Alestine’s. Homeowners Brian and Pam Macdonald, who personal and run the restaurant, advised CBC Information Wednesday they plan to retire within the close to future.

Inuvik Mayor Clarence Wooden mentioned the closures will have an effect on the area and its guests, and is urging somebody to take over the companies. 

“With the choices right here on the town proper now, somebody may make a killing,” Wooden mentioned. “I imply, persons are simply dying for a restaurant the place you’ll be able to take a household and sit down and eat.” 

Man in front of a fire engine.
Inuvik Mayor Clarence Wooden. (Karli Zschogner/CBC)

Jackie Challis, the city’s director of financial growth and tourism, echoed Wooden’s considerations that the closures will have an effect on tourism. 

“Completely, and naturally the shortage of restaurant choices in our group has a detrimental impact on guests and residents,” she mentioned. 

“Sadly, nevertheless, this isn’t a brand new problem. It’s one which we have now confronted for a few years.”

Challis cited the excessive price of infrastructure and vitality, in addition to staffing points, as continual issues that make it difficult for restaurateurs to remain in enterprise. 

Paul Clarke, the present leaseholder and proprietor of the lodge and lounge, declined an interview. In a textual content message, he mentioned fixed workers shortages have been one motive for the closure. 

On the Inuvik airport, Clarke and his son additionally personal and handle Cloud 9 Cafeteria, now known as Freeway Categorical, which reopened mid-July. Clarke mentioned it should stay open for its breakfast and lunch.

The final day for Shivers Lounge and The Freeway Restaurant will probably be Saturday evening.

Brown mentioned he is in search of a brand new operator and is hopeful the eating places aren’t gone for good. 

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