Across Nunavut, restaurants are crucial community hubs, where people come together to celebrate their biggest days and their small, daily victories.
It’s where friends and coworkers meet to break up their long work weeks, with Wednesday Wing Night get-togethers at Iqaluit’s Legion or at The Storehouse. It’s how some Iqalungmiut start their lazy Sundays, with a ritual brunch buffet at The Discovery Inn.
A stop at a local cafe is entrenched in the daily routine of many Nunavummiut. It’s where you say good morning to the friendly barista carefully decorating your latte at the Black Heart Café in Iqaluit. Or thank the cashier who hands over your massive, much-needed double-double at Tim’s first thing in the morning. These places, like the Grind and Brew, are where you sit down with the gang and catch up on the community’s happenings, about all the comings and goings, before heading off for the day’s work.
Restaurants are where Nunavummiut go to commemorate their major milestones. The retirement lunch with grateful colleagues, past and present, at Saxifrage Café-Resto in Cambridge Bay. Or the birthday party that takes over The Snack in Iqaluit.
Many restaurants have stayed open and adapted where possible to continue to bring people together, even at a distance.
It’s how crucial restaurants become when your life gets too busy. It’s grabbing a hefty chicken shawarma and generous quantities of caffeine at Yummy Shawarma before a late-night cram session ahead of a high school or Nunavut Arctic College exam. It’s picking up a family dinner at Tundra Takeout in Kugluktuk because you don’t have time to prepare a meal in that brief sliver of free time after work, but before the kids take the ice for hockey practice. It’s grabbing a quick lunch and a coffee at the airport in Cambridge Bay or Iqaluit before jetting off on government business.
Nunavut restaurants have not been immune to the effects of COVID-19. But even with public health restrictions in place to limit gatherings to reduce the potential spread of the virus, many restaurants have stayed open and adapted where possible to continue to bring people together, even at a distance.
You can call ahead to order your takeout favourites from Iqaluit’s Legion now. Yummy Shawarma continues to safely deliver pizzas to hungry customers all over the capital. Dine-in restaurants have completed public health compliance plans to make sure you can comfortably enjoy a meal, and an hour or two of normalcy.
Restaurants play a vital role in communities, and they will continue to do so with your support.