Connecting Northern-style
Airport restaurant receives a facelift

Emma Levez
Northern News Services

NNSL (Aug 21/98) - There are lots of interesting things to see at the airport, and airplanes are only one of them. That's what Dwight Hickey wants to show people who visit the airport restaurant, Connector Food Services.

Hickey bought the restaurant in April, when the previous owners retired. Since then he has made some interesting changes. In the last two months a lot of re-decorating has been going on.

"There used to be a lot of pictures glued to the wall," he says. He took those down and replaced them with a variety of interesting Northern artifacts.

The restaurant used to focus completely on aviation -- now the decorations consist of everything from a chinese dragon to bear and wolf rugs hanging on the wall.

"We added a lot of plants" says Hickey, who was eager to acknowledge the donation of the rugs by Yellowknife taxidermist Greg Robertson. He was also grateful for help received from Norma at Langlois. "She found a lot of interesting things for us."

Dawn Oman left her mark on the restaurant -- literally. Along the walls, Oman painted miniature Northern animals and inukshuks. She also did one large painting directly on the wall.

Photographs and models of airplanes are still part of the decor in the restaurant -- after all, planes were the main mode of transportation in the North for many years. Hickey admits, "We still get aviation people in here who appreciate the odd pictures."

Another interesting change that has taken shape at the airport restaurant is the translation and presentation of the menu in two -- soon to be three -- languages: English, Inuktitut and (in another week) Dogrib.

"It's a gesture of respect more than anything," says Hickey, adding with a laugh that if anyone wants to order in Inuktitut they have to point to the menu, but it's the thought that counts.

That thought, and the new decorations, have made a big impression on customers. "We've had a lot of comments, especially from elders when they see the menus."

The menu hasn't changed since the last owners says Hickey. "We're aiming for the best clubs, burgers and fries in town." All kinds of Northern burgers are available, including caribou, muskox, buffalo and arctic char.

So far, the restaurant is doing very well. Hickey anticipates the decorations being completed by the end of September. Already they are taking bookings for Christmas parties. "Our goal is to produce some of the best catering in Yellowknife, says Hickey. "We want to have a place that's interesting and average priced."