Food Living in Yellowknife

Fast Food of Yellowknife

Do you have a McDonald’s up there? You don’t even have a Wendy’s? You have a KFC? How do you only have one Tim Hortons?

These are the questions, I think, many of us use to get asked as kids growing up in Yellowknife. It was all about the fast food, not that we ate it a lot.

Having a certain fast food establishment was like having special access to a secret club that we were never really allowed to be a part of.

Trips “down south” were sacred. They still are. Dreams of a Wendy’s Frosty or a Burger King Whopper haunted us as we drove out of the territory and into what we thought was real civilization.

Yellowknife is not as remote as we thought when we were kids and over the years has matured with a solid set of fast food joints to pick from. Here is what Yellowknife has to offer those who need to pick up a quick meal on their way home:


Two locations in town. One inside Wal-Mart for you conveniences while shopping and the other, the main one, on Old Airport Road. The main McDonald’s recently went through a renovation and has a modern decor inside. The drive-thru of the main McDonald’s is also open 24 hours a day for coffee.


Tim Hortons

The Canadian classic has had great success in Yellowknife. It has often been dubbed the busiest Tim Hortons in Canada because it is the only one in town and, well, we’re addicted to it.

It is located in the same area as Wal-Mart which often causes havoc when the drive-thru lineup winds through the parking lot blocking traffic and parked vehicles. Be wary the first time you drive to Tim Hortons. People are serious about their coffee.


Tim Hortons Downtown

In the fall of 2017, Tim Hortons opened a full-service kiosk in the Centre Square Mall in downtown Yellowknife.


Also a long time Yellowknife establishment, A&W opened in 1973 after Frosty’s Drive-In was closed by Alphonse and Jeannie Labossiere due to illness in the family.

Although it opened in the 70’s there might have been a period of time in the 80’s where it was closed before it opened in its current location in the Centre Square Mall on the corner of 47th Street and Franklin Avenue.

It is one of the strangest A&W’s you’ll find, it has no drive-thru.


Subway x 2

Subway, the famous sandwich shop, has two locations in Yellowknife. The original, or the older of the two, is located downtown across from the Yellowknifer office on 51st Street. The other Subway is located uptown in the Stanton Plaza on Old Airport Road.



Quiznos x 2

Quiznos has now been in Yellowknife for over 10 years. The first one opened up right across Old Airport Road from the second Subway, its direct competitor.

The second Quiznos, which opened more recently, is in the Yellowknife Airport.


Fat Burger

To add to the options for a quick burger, Fat Burger is open in the Stanton Plaza beside the update Subway. Popular with sports teams as boosts one of the most affordable weekend breakfast/brunches in the city.

Mary Brown’s Famous Chicken & Taters

With the closing of the original KFC, a new fried chicken franchise has entered the community. On Borden Drive, just off of Old Airport Road you can find Mary Brown’s.

Booster Juice

The Canadian smoothie franchise opened in Yellowknife in the winter of 2018 in the building next to McDonald’s on Old Airport Road.

Honourable Mention

Gastown – A locally operated full-service gas station on Old Airport Road has the unthinkable. Bacon wrapped jumbo dogs. They are fast and greasy. Perfect to start off a road trip south.


Fast Food Restaurants of the Past

Yellowknife has had its ups and downs with fast food establishments. Many franchises have tried to set up shop in Yellowknife but only lasted a year or two before they have to close their doors due to lack of sales or lack of staff. To name a few that have come and gone, we’ve had:

Dairy Queen – Located where Coyotes Steakhouse is currently.

Mary Brown’s Chicken – the one beside Dairy Queen in the early 2000’s

Donut King – A franchise that attempted to open after Mary Browns closed, beside Dairy Queen.

Mr. Sub – Located in the Mark’s Work Warehouse building before it expanded, next to Wal-Mart.

Taco Time – Located in the Diamond Centre in downtown Yellowknife, which became Cascom Computers later on.

KFC – KFC was Yellowknife’s first franchised fast food joint but closed in 2015.

Rumoured Fast Food Restaurants Opening Soon

KFC – A new franchise could open on Old Airport Road

Taco Bell – Completely new to Yellowknife and could open on Old Airport Road

Starbucks – The long-anticipated coffee shop franchise could also open on Old Airport Road

Are there any missing? Let me know in the comments and I’ll be sure to add them.


About the author

Kyle Thomas

Kyle grew up in Yellowknife and is a local entrepreneur, writer, baker, and Yellowknife Advocate who is addicted to learning as much as he can about the community and sharing it with anyone who'll listen. In 2009 he developed A website all about living, working and thriving in Yellowknife for residents, newcomers, and visitors.


  • The old coyote building…wasn’t it Dairy Queen and Donut King first and then Mary Browns after? After they shut down it was turned into the coyote restaurant.

  • The Subway across from the “Yellowknifer” offices, was originally the Hornby building. It was the first purpose-built home of CFYK/CBC Yellowknife and was custom built for the CBC. Sound-proofing, record library and Engineering in both the back and downstairs. Main floor had the interview studio, two control rooms, managers’ offices, washrooms, etc. In 1970, in the basement, they made room for the huge 2-inch tape reels to offer the beginning of CBC television in the North. 4 hours of programming a night, not always wisely chosen by the people recording in Edmonton.

    I spent the beginning of my broadcast career there at 16, and when I turned 17 I was allowed to be hired by the Union. Preceding me, was Dustin (Dusty) Hornby who between 4:05 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. did a children’s show. When the great Hornby family moved south, I took it over. It was 20 minutes of children’s programming, and then “Teen Beat”. What a great way to start my broadcasting career which continues to this day.

    After CBC vacated to their current facility, the Hornby building continued in various rolls. Dentist office and now the Subway.

  • Hey there. Just wondering why the downtown Tim Horton’s was left off the list. I see booster juice was put on and that came after downtown Timmy’s.

    • You’re correct, I missed Fatburger. I’m going to put all pizza places in their own article.

  • Circle K ( some will still call it Winks) has the most amazing hotdog and sausages – this shop can serve up a mighty fine lunch or late night snack!!!

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