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KFC and Starbucks to open in May

The combined KFC and Starbucks will open to customers on May 3 and 7, respectively. Blair McBride/NNSL photo

In less than one month, the colonel will make his much-anticipated return to Yellowknife alongside a new Starbucks.

The combined KFC-Starbucks location on Old Airport Road is set to open the first week of May -- KFC on May 3 and Starbucks on May 7.

“We have been busy recruiting – over 100 people to date, and still looking for some more great people,” said Stephanie James, project manager with franchise owner Soul Foods Group.

“KFC training started last week, and we will start Starbucks training this week.”

Six years after original KFC closed

The return of KFC comes almost six years after the original downtown location closed down after 48 years in business.

Its closure was due to differences between the Yellowknife franchise owners and KFC's head office, according to former owner Matthew Jason.

It was reportedly so popular that it sold a total of 5,220 pieces of chicken in less than 36 hours before it finally closed its doors. Some Yellowknifers even felt the need to hold a candle-lit vigil outside the restaurant on its final night of business.

Lenny Burger moved into the vacant KFC location but lasted only five months.

New project started in 2018

Efforts to bring the fried chicken restaurant back started in 2018, when a proposal to build a KFC alongside a Taco Bell and a Starbucks was brought before a city committee meeting.

The hoped-for completion of construction in 2019 was pushed forward due to unexplained delays. In an update in 2020, Soul Foods Group said the restaurants would be built by December although Taco Bell was dropped from the project.

Construction began at the site at 251 Old Airport Road last year, in a vacant lot across from Rochdi's Your Independent Grocer that was valued at $2 million.