Wayfarer Oyster House provides takeout and off-sales during the time of COVID-19

COVID-19 has dramatically changed things for Yukon’s restaurant community, including Wayfarer Oyster House.

“If there’s a word to describe everything right now, it’s different,” explained the co-owners of Wayfarer Oyster House, Andrew Seymour, Brian Ng and Eddie Rideout. 

“Like our peers across the Yukon, we were already planning for the upcoming tourist season, menu development, staffing, marketing, etc. We were looking to build on the momentum from being named the 2019 seventh Best New Restaurant in Canada by Air Canada/En Route Magazine, and excited to see our young restaurant continue to grow.”

They continued, “With COVID-19 putting the brakes on those plans, we’re having to behave differently. We believe we were the first restaurant to voluntarily close our doors, to ensure the safety of our team and patrons. We provided staff an extra week of pay, and continued benefits through April to allow them to get their affairs in order. We felt that was the most important first step, as we need our dedicated team to come back once we’re allowed to open up again.”

“After that, the three of us focused on avenues of revenue generation, which led to the takeout and off-sales. We laughed a bit as this is how we started the Wayfarer, with just us doing oyster and catering pop-ups around in Whitehorse with the occasional jaunt to Dawson.”  

The menu consists of ready to eat appetizers and desserts such as Icy Waters Arctic Charrillette or Earl Grey pot de crème, which is so popular that some people are ordering six at a time, as well as “Take and Make,” options such as fresh made pastas and grilling kits. As the weather warms, Wayfarer Oyster House plans to change the menu to incorporate more local products for Yukoners to enjoy from the many local food producers in the territory.

The response to their new offerings has been great so far. “We think our customers appreciate that everything is house made by Chef Brian, with a hand from both Andrew and Eddie,” the co-owners explained, “Folks are enjoying doing the final cooking/plating of the Take and Make options, and we’ve heard that a few customers are building the dishes as a family, which is cool. We ask everyone to follow us on both Facebook and Instagram @wayfareroysterhouse to see what we’re up to, and for posts of people enjoying the dishes.”

Wayfarer Oyster House is also part of the team of local chefs that is contributing to the Yukon Chefs Collective, an initiative started by Chris Irving to help provide food to those in need in the community through the Whitehorse Food Bank. 

“Chef Brian reached out the Chris Irving once he heard that Chef Chris was starting this up. We think it’s a great opportunity for many young chefs in town to use their skills to give back to the community. Also, more social-distanced hands make for lighter work, so having that group come together is really great.”

Seymour, Ng and Rideout wanted to send out a special message as well, “The three of us are grateful that Yukoners continue to support local, independent small businesses. We hope that everyone stays safe, and continues to listen to the advice of Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hanley. Brendan, if you’re reading this, the next time you get to eat at the Wayfarer, it’s on us bud!”

Wayfarer Oyster House is offering a rotating garage door take-out menu Tuesday through Thursday, with fresh shucked oysters available every other Friday. The menu is updated Mondays and can be ordered from their website www.wayfareroysterhouse.com.

Orders need to be in by 3PM on the day of pick-up and it’s best to order the oysters early as they’re sure to sell out.

A pearl formed in these oysters