A new restaurant in town opened its doors for the first time on Monday.
Savannah’s Family Restaurant, in the old Cellar location on Franklin Avenue, serves East African and Middle Eastern cuisine.
The family restaurant is owned and operated by husband and wife team Savannah Perna and Mohamed Mohamed.
“We have goat, lamb, chicken dishes, curry dishes, fried local fish,” said Perna, and all of the meat is halal — meaning it’s prepared according to Islamic dietary laws.
“We have a licensed fisherman who’s bringing us daily fresh fish so that will be a big seller, I think.”
There will also be a vegetarian menu, with dishes like vegetarian injera (flatbread), lentils and a veggie burger.
“We needed to make sure we had full vegetarian options because a lot of people in Yellowknife are vegetarian,” said Perna. “So one of our big platters will be just vegetarian.”
And there’s a $5 kids’ menu for those under age 12.
“It includes their drink and a sundae at the end,” said Perna.
They will also serve homemade hot sauces, homemade chai, four different desserts made fresh weekly and a range of beverages in their espresso machine.
“We do have some pasta. We even have burgers and wings, salads, and we’re going to have a daily soup,” said Perna.
This is not the couple’s first time working in the industry.
“I did in Edmonton, a restaurant called Safari,” said Mohamed.
Perna has also worked in another African restaurant before, but this is the first time they’ll be opening their own establishment, said Perna.
“It’s exciting,” she said.
“I always wanted in my life to have my own business,” Mohamed said. “I had partners before, and then I decided to run my own place with my family.”
Mohamed used to be a taxi driver, but he wanted to do something else and ensure a good future for their four children.
“We want our kids to finish school here, so we’re going to be here for the long haul,” said Perna.
Perna’s sister Sapphire will work at the restaurant, and the couple want their new business to be a family restaurant, in every sense of the word.
“I just want other moms to be happy to bring their kids,” said Perna. “And if they have a meltdown, we don’t care.”
“I want everyone to feel like this is their home. You can come and eat and laugh and enjoy. I just want everyone to feel comfortable and happy and warm.”
The new restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day except Sunday.