Dinner at BonTon & Company is best savoured on Yukon time – slowly. The relaxed log–cabin setting and boreal– inflected cocktails (a brambly hibiscus and haskap whisky sour) are just the conversation starters. Shared dishes like the local take on bo ssam – fall–off–the–bone slow–roasted Lastraw Ranch pork with kimchi and Dawson City–grown greens for wrapping – lead deep into a discussion about how far restaurants anywhere must go to source a meal.
Best Tapas North of 60
BonTon & Company: Food Sovereignty in the Ultimate Northern Setting
This True North Restaurant has sprung out of a Dawson City movement to remake local food chains.
Just 240 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle on the pristine territory of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation, BonTon is part of a movement to re–establish local food chains and end decades of reliance on goods trucked in from away.
The BonTon & Company story began in 2016 when, with hammer in hand, Shelby Jordan built a backyard butcher shop out of frustration over not being able to access local meat. She began producing charcuterie that had Dawsonites lining up, even at –40ºC, to get a few slices of juniper and rosemary bacon or her smoked sausages. Four years later, Jordan teamed up with local hospitality veteran Dennis Dunn, and BonTon was born.
By day, it’s a deli and café featuring chef Georgia Hammond’s seasonal lunch options, like local salmon and leek chowder with bannock and Yukon green beans; by night, small plates draw from a weekly menu created by chef Ariel Adams, including plant–forward options like the Klondike Valley Creamery cheddar tamale or the earthy flavours of Kokopellie Farm cabbage and shiitake mushroom spring rolls. BonTon’s nose–to–tail ethic makes eating out of your comfort zone a culinary delight: Each element of the pig’s head simmered in beet juice and served on preserved lemon hummus with flatbread is a celebration of bright flavours and frugal creativity.
Jordan and Dunn want BonTon to be “an experience where locals feel like they are travelling and visitors feel like they are local.” To eat as well if not better than anywhere else in the world, from a menu sourced north of 60 – now, that’s a trip.
3 Farms Feeding Dawson City
Klondike Valley Creamery: The northernmost dairy in North America produces jack–, cheddar– and Camembert–style cheeses, as well as fresh milk for local herd shareholders.
Kokopellie Farm: The root cellar is essential to food sovereignty in the North, and this farm gives Dawsonites access to locally grown carrots, beets, potatoes and cabbage year–round.
TH Farm: Owned by the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation, this mixed farm produces veggies, poultry, pork and eggs to supplement traditional food from the land. trondekfarm.ca