Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit August 24, 2017 - 7:00 am

Business owner proposes new bar for Iqaluit’s downtown

Big Racks Barbecue could make way for Wilkins’ Restaurant

The owner of Big Racks Barbecue is proposing to replace that building with a bar and restaurant. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)
The owner of Big Racks Barbecue is proposing to replace that building with a bar and restaurant. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)

Iqaluit could get a new bar and food joint, if plans go well for what would in the future be known as Wilkins’ Restaurant.

The new watering hole would be built in the Lower Base neighbourhood of the city, behind the Capital Suites hotel, where the Big Racks Barbecue is currently located.

Matt Wilkins, owner of Big Racks Barbecue, is spearheading the restaurant project.

A bylaw to amend the city’s general plan to allow for the new commercial space received first reading at an Aug. 23 Iqaluit City Council meeting.

The amendment would allow “the general plan to permit a larger scale development than is currently permitted,” should the by-law pass third reading. The amendment covers a five-lot area.

“The applicant wishes to remove the existing building on the lot and to redevelop the lands with an eating and drinking establishment,” Iqaluit city planner Ruth Treasure said.

“The establishment would be significantly larger than the existing restaurant on site, which is Big Racks, and is proposed to also have a bar lounge integrated within the restaurant itself.”

Wilkins refrained from commenting to Nunatsiaq News on the project until after a public hearing on a liquor licence application takes place in the coming weeks.

Council members were told during a July committee meeting that discussions regarding liquor licensing for the restaurant have already begun with the Nunavut Liquor Licensing Board, Coun. Terry Dobbin told Nunatsiaq News.

But the board has not yet granted a liquor licence to the business.

Plans for the new bar and eatery come just as another restaurant in the downtown area, the Waters’ Edge, is set to shut down, following a change in ownership of the Hotel Arctic building.




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(11) Comments:

#1. Posted by LaLaLand on August 24, 2017

Good for Matt WIlkins. Iqaluit needs to grow, and that means change. Change in downtown and change in services for the people of Iqaluit. One place is getting shut down and another should open. Big Racks sits on a very large lot. Have always wondered if Matt would do this one day and here it is. I hope he gets the green light.

#2. Posted by consumer on August 24, 2017

Lets hope that their application for a liquor license is approved.
Iqaluit is already getting a beer and wine store anyways.

#3. Posted by Home owner on August 24, 2017

Hopefully the home owners next to that place will be consulted this time, not like the last time.

I don’t this people living next door to this place would want a bunch of drunks smoking outside next to their house.

#4. Posted by Better bar needed on August 24, 2017

I hope Matt Wilkins tours the bars around town and takes notes. They’re all 2nd or 3rd rate establishments with big flaws that could be improved upon, but are never addressed because people keep giving them money. Many Iqalummiut would love a pub that isn’t too small (Nova), isn’t dirty (Legion, Nav, Elks), has a decent selection, doesn’t over serve, etc. You’d only have to copy the business model of an average bar down south to steal a good % of the pther bar’s clients.

#5. Posted by Descent fast food on August 25, 2017

I would like to eat golden fries, not soggy fries, crispy wraps, not oily wraps, neat and tidy burgers, not sloppy burgers, pizza with fresh toppings, not with leftovers…...with Two Kokanee please

#6. Posted by Whatever? on August 25, 2017

Whatever happened to The Snacks plan to serve booze?

#7. Posted by Right on on August 25, 2017

Number 5, right on the money.  I’m not too pleased with Big racks food, only thing I order was pulled pork sandwich which is now not that good.  I really hope they better their recipes, craptacular.

#8. Posted by fooder on August 25, 2017

I eat at Big Rack’s once a week. Their fries have been crispy every time, I love their pulled pork sandwich, and that two-meat platter is a sweet deal, and their chicken burgers rule. Their Pita Shack gets it right too. I wish them success, and hope that whatever they end up building includes an area that isn’t a bar-like atmosphere, where you can get a meal and a beer but without feeling like you’re surrounded by people who’s goal it is to get hammered.

#9. Posted by Dumbfounded on August 27, 2017

Looks like any backyard mechanic and burger flipper can get a liquor licence in Iqaluit to over serve shooters now. Bar owner wanted…no previous experience required.
Oh, poster #8…I like to pay $11.99 once a week for a bowl of soup too (except it’s a Perigord truffle and fois gras soup at Escoffier in Lyon, France).

#10. Posted by just dumb on August 28, 2017

#9, So to qualify to run a bar, you need to have already run a bar? He’s proven that he can run a restaurant. He forced the other joints in town to step up their game, or at least try to.He started small, and he seems to be doing things in steps. That’s smart business. He charges the going rate for his food, and it is good quality for what it is. I don’t go there for truffle and foie gras soup, or soup period, nor do I need that to feel like I’ve eaten a good quality meal. I go there for what they claim to be good at providing, fries, pork, and a darn good chicken burger. Go grocery shopping, and you’ll see why the prices are what they are. A bag of potatoes is more here than in Lyon, so the prices shouldn’t be compared. Do you go to a fast food joint for the soup?

#11. Posted by .... on September 12, 2017

Hello matti. Don’t let them bring you down. Just ignore the negativity. Wishing you a success in everything you do. Good luck!!

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