Yellowknife resumes search for Wildcat Café operator

After a couple of uncertain years, the City of Yellowknife has resumed its quest to find an occupant for the historic Wildcat Café.

The city has issued a fresh request for proposals to run the Old Town café for the next two summer seasons, which ordinarily begin in May and run until September.

Originally opened in 1937, the latest iteration of the café is owned by the city, which farms out operation of the Wildcat to local businesses.


In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic wiped out the café’s summer season. In 2021, there were no interested parties until an artists’ collective agreed to operate the space in August and September.

With tourism in the NWT reopening as pandemic restrictions lift, the city considers the Wildcat – a 32-seat restaurant with space for 46 on its deck – a “major drawing card for Yellowknife’s Old Town” and one of Yellowknife’s “best examples of living heritage.” 

Operating the Wildcat requires a payment of at least $2,000 to the city each month and the provision of a $2,000 damage deposit.

In its request for proposals, the city asks that prospective operators plan a menu similar to the original Wildcat’s offerings in 1937.

The deadline to apply is April 1 at 3pm MT.