Lunch at The Cellar [CLOSED]

The Cellar, on Franklin Ave in the old Surly Bob’s location, has only been open for two days. This is my review, or rather profile, of this new pub in town as a lunch spot. Let me set the stage first though. In this review I try to be as honest as possible, but I always will give the place the benefit of the doubt. There were no major issues with this place, but at the end of the day I want to see them succeed no matter what.

The Cellar Yellowknife

Down the stairs into the basement pub I headed for lunch on only its second day open. Friends and myself went just shortly before noon, this is something I do wherever I go to always secure a seat. This wasn’t a problem at The Cellar, there was plenty of seating. Local musician, now acting bartender, Jim Taylor, greeted us and took our drink order. Shortly after the owner of the new pub, Dale, appeared from the back and the two worked the front of the house.


The space has been renovated and offers a slightly nicer appeal than Surly Bob’s did. It is no longer a sports bar, but gives the vide of an underground (see what I did there) classy joint, where good food and wine would be served. The cream coloured walls with black accents give a warm feeling. I can only imagine during the long cold winters, this place will feel cozy, packed with thirsty patrons sharing conversation.

The Cellar Menu

Click to make larger

At the current moment, only opening this week, the lunch menu – which I think is also the evening menu – is fairly generic pub menu with a few interest points. While I did have the Bison Burger, I failed to notice the Melts, that actually sound amazing. And while the main are the general: steak, fish, ribs, pasta, they still sounds like good pub grub – mmmm now I want ribs. Needless to say, next time I need to read the full menu. Oh and there is stuff on the other side.

DSC_0034 DSC_0036 DSC_0035

Back to the Bison Burger for a second though, my lunch time meal. Our orders were taken quite quickly and only after a 15 minute wait we had our meals in front of us. To be frank, it was good, but generic. Thick patty on a good bun but no special sauce or flavours that would make it memorable for me. My cohorts had the chicken burger and the club house, and also noted the same, generic, but decent.

Nearing the end of the meal Dale was making the rounds checking on everyone, I asked him what his plans were once the pub is settled. He told me he has plans to expand the menu and offer special nights but he needed time to get the process down as well as update the kitchen equipment, which has some limitations.

Peak into The Cellar Kitchen

Overall my experience was good at The Cellar and I’ll definitely go back. However I’m not convinced yet – and there is still time – that it is different from other downtown options. However it is an option nonetheless.

To wrap this all up for you in a doggy bag here is the meat of this write up: Get lunch between $8- $20 (with non-alcoholic drink), get it in about 15-20 mins from ordering, get service that is personable and striving to please and enjoy it in a cool atmosphere right off main street.

I look forward to putting this place on my regular circuit this fall.

What did I miss, add it into the comments below.


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.


  • I went there for dinner on their second night and here is what I thought was worthy of mentioning:
    The service was friendly, however a little slower than I’d prefer, but something I am sure they will address as time goes on.  I was happy to see the prices on the menu, and even happier to see that when I got my bill that the menu prices include GST so you aren’t surprised with a large bill at the end of the night.  I opted for the Turkey and Smoked Apple wood Cheddar Melt as the waitress had said that there were many good reviews about it.  It was very tasty; although basic with just turkey and cheese grilled in a sandwich (dare I say a glorified grilled cheese).  Having said that though, it is very nice to have basic lighter options that will still fill your tummy but save room for lots of beer.  (not to mention at $10, to save your money for more beer too).
    The renovations are nice but I must admit that I would have liked to have seen the washrooms re-done, although an expensive job to take on, those washrooms in particular are hurting for some TLC and I was disappointed to see they don’t flow with the funky and warm vibe in the establishment.
    At the end of the night, Dale was sure to follow up and see how our meals went, I shared my disappointment of no Keith’s (I am assured it will be there next time) and chatted about what he plans for the future – I can see myself supporting this

  • I have known the owner Dale since moving to Yellowknife and his attention to detail as a bartender have always been spot on. I have been eagerly awaiting the opening of The Cellar.

    I went for diner on the second night. I had a wonderful steak and salad. I was very happy to see the removal of the sports bar and its place a jazz bar.

    The decor is nice and a friendly atmosphere is key for me. I went in knowing all the staff and had a chat with Dale regarding the menu. (I have food allergies) The menu isn’t the final one more items will be added in the coming weeks. He doesn’t want to overwhelm his new staff and wants them to get the timing and plating down before expanding. This makes a lot of sense and is something I respect. Making sure you do things well instead of doing too much at once. There are many gluten free and healthy food choices, and I am excited about some of the other dishes that will be added.

    Attention to detail regarding a good selection of better hard liquors brands behind the bar made me smile. Over the years Dale has always paid attention to customer requests. I was happy to see my favorite rum there. I must admit i am no longer a beer drinker but there was a selection of beers on tap and more to added.

    The atmosphere reminded me of how Jose’s was when Dale worked there when it first opened. Dale joked that was what he was going for minus the mexican fare and decor.

    I will definitely be returning, and look forward to the fine tuning that the Dale is known for.

  • I heard from a friend that went for lunch and she said they had to leave after 25 minutes because no one had talked to them since they sat down 🙁

  • My husband and I went for lunch here 3 weeks ago. The service was friendly. And the atmosphere was nice.

    However, we ordered within minutes but took 40 minutes for it to arrive. It also came cold (Turkey Melt, and a Bison Burger) Although food was generic and you pay for what you get. I still had turkey cartilage in my melt which was not at all expected.

    A friend of mine was going in just as we were leaving. She had the same we did and had the same problems.

    I will try again in a few months once they’ve had a chance to learn their menu.

Leave a Comment