A familiar food favourite has been greeting passengers arriving at Mike Zubko Airport.

Highway Express, formerly known as Cloud Nine Restaurant, has re-opened for breakfast and brunch.

“This past year, the opportunity to compete in the competitive recruitment process to lease the space at the Airport from the Government of the Northwest Territories arose,” said manager Marcus Clarke. “Paul Clarke has a great interest in operating in the Town of Inuvik and providing opportunities for dining.

“Business at the Airport has been well since opening. We’re excited to expand our service offerings in the coming weeks.”

This is the second expansion of Clarke’s business, P.C. Consulting and Recruiting, since opening the Highway Restaurant in the Mackenzie Hotel in 2019. In 2020, the company took over Shivers Lounge across the hall.

Cloud Nine had previously shut down during the Covid-19 pandemic due to a lack of staff to keep the place open consistently.

Working around the pandemic has been a challenge, but Clarke said the hospitality industry needed to adapt to the new circumstances.

“The airport service has opened post-pandemic, however, travel volumes are still reduced compared to previous years,” said Clarke. “We’re hopeful that passenger volumes will continue to rise as we move into the fall.

“Unfortunately, the pandemic resulted in significant closures of both the Restaurant and Bar in 2020 and 2021. Since then, we’ve faced challenges with recruitment to our pre-pandemic numbers. A full schedule requires a large staff compliment of servers, bartenders, dishwashers, cooks and janitors. We’ve been actively recruiting over the summer, and are just about to start another recruitment opportunity for an additional seven staff.”

One area the business approach has changed in the post-Covid-19 world is introducing online ordering and takeout. Now that in-dining service is possible again, occupancy rates and other precautions are still in place to ensure the safety of staff and patrons.

Highway Express boasts a new menu, with homemade burgers and soups on the top of menu. Clarke also recommends the Beef Dip, shortly followed by the the Fish and Chips.

A fourth must-try is the Beyond Meat Burger, which P.C. Consulting has been a brand partner with since 2019. Clarke said he mixes in a bit of extra spice with the vegetarian-friendly burger to give it an extra kick.

The restaurant is open open for breakfast from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and then lunch from then until close. Closing times are timed to the last departure of the day, normally by 3 or 4 p.m.

Eric Bowling

Your source for all things happening in the Beaufort Delta. Eric jumped at the chance to write for the Inuvik Drum after cutting his teeth in Alberta. He enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee....

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