Owners of Yellowknife’s Monkey Tree pub are creating a new pizza delivery service to compete in a market “oversaturated with the regular franchisees.”
Jennifer Vornbrock says Papa Pete’s will launch in May, offering pizza – and, eventually, other dishes – through home delivery only, with no dine-in or pickup option.
The Monkey Tree lost its kitchen at the end of 2022, when the pub building’s landlord decided to make changes. Ed But, the owner of Coyote’s Bistro, has been operating the kitchen since the start of this year, serving both the Monkey Tree and his own ventures.
Vornbrock has made her dissatisfaction with that arrangement public. She says Papa Pete’s is a chance to channel some of that frustration into a new project.
“Refocus, get your energies somewhere else, let’s come up with something,” she said, describing her feelings. “This all unfolded over many coffees and early-morning meetings and we’re finally just-about there.”
The new venture is named for Peter Stevenson, the former Monkey Tree chef who returns to create the Papa Pete’s menu.
Pizza delivery will also help the Monkey Tree to make use of the vehicles, plates, cutlery and other paraphernalia it had purchased while operating a catering business using the former kitchen. (Papa Pete’s will use what Vornbrock called a “ghost kitchen” in an undisclosed location – a renovated kitchen that has no restaurant presence but serves purely to produce food for delivery.)
The new establishment will also rely on services like DoorDash and SkipTheDishes. While Vornbrock had been among restaurateurs vocally opposed to some of DoorDash’s methods when the delivery app first arrived in Yellowknife, it has since become a mainstay for some of the city’s families.
“As long as we don’t have any major hiccups, we should be up and running in the first week of May,” Vornbrock said.
“We want to bring traditional, chef-inspired pizza to a Yellowknife oversaturated with the regular franchisees. We’ll expand on menu items as we get going, but pizza is definitely going to be the focus.”