Walk down Main Street any Friday night. The lights are on at 506 Main Street.
While decades ago Main Street – west of 4th Avenue – would have contained family homes, there is only one house left on that particular block today. And it doesn’t house a family.
Well, there is a two bedroom upstairs apartment, but the majority of the house is home to Sam ‘n’ Andy’s Méxican Restaurant!
Fajitas, beer and Méxican ice cream. A big portion of ice cream rolled in crushed coloured tortilla chips, flash-fried, comes to your table; a shiny glaze and chocolate drizzle on the chips.
The house also adds to the ambience. Bright paint and Bill Oster characters adorn the walls. Oster was also responsible for building the benches in the main room of the restaurant.
The floor: beautiful wide wooden planks add a rustic touch. Ann Caron wants to refinish the floors again. When Caron and her sister Sharon bought the restaurant about seven years ago, they had the walls painted and the floor refinished at that time.
A small ad in the local newspaper gave me some interesting information about the house. Around 1959, Ron Daniels lived there. White Pass used the building as a staff house then.
Daniels recalled that there had been an empty lot beside the house and a City of Whitehorse garage behind. Daniels also remembered the Ice Palace across the street.
During the 1970s the Frantic Follies rented 506 Main. Again, it was used as a staff house.
The Follies are a real institution in Whitehorse, don’t you think? Celebrating 41 years of operation, the Follies introduces audiences to a turn-of-the-century vaudeville revue. The last century, that is. It is a lot of fun (as a Yukon resident) to attend a revue, watching the tourists and their reactions to the performers.
In 1985 Maggie Tai and her husband, Kwok Wo Tai, bought the property and a unique idea came to mind. Why not use the house as a restaurant?
I remember two houses from my Winnipeg days – Dubrovnik’s and Mrs. Lipton’s. Two very different restaurants, but both housed in old homes. Then there’s the Black Sheep in Hull, Quebec – another fantastic restaurant in an old house.
So while Tai had examples from across the country, it was a novel idea for the Whitehorse restaurant scene. A few other people have tried this idea in Whitehorse but none have lasted.
For awhile Maggie Tai used the western end of the house for her hair styling salon.
In the coming months, 506 Main is up for some changes. Sam ‘n’ Andy’s is for sale. The building is also for sale.
At the present time 506 Main Street is owned by MicMac Motors. The real estate advertisements boast significant improvements over the last few years.
The house itself was built in 1948, so both structural and mechanical improvements have been completed. And the patio – one of only a few outdoor patios in the city – is a wonderful place to enjoy a cool Dos Equis on a hot summer eve.
Fun food and fun people under the midnight sun.