How far are you willing to travel for an epic meal? You’ve set your alarm clock to score coveted reservations. You’ve jumped on airplanes to dine at some of the best restaurants in the world. You’ve followed famous chefs for once-in-a-lifetime pop-ups. Plus you’ve eaten in towering skyscrapers, on deserted sandbanks, and deep underwater. This adventure could top them all.
Your journey starts in Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba. But you aren’t there for very long. From Winnipeg, you fly to Churchill. The Polar Bear Capital of the World lies on the west shore of Hudson Bay in the province’s far northeast. The town feels remote and isolated until you realize that you’re leaving it. A Tundra Buggy—a high, all-terrain vehicle with five-foot wheels and panoramic windows—will pick you up in the center of town. It’ll cross the Churchill River and pass the Prince of Wales Fort en route to Dan’s Diner. Keep an eye out for polar bears and the northern lights along the way.
Dan’s Diner is a pop-up restaurant at the Tundra Buggy Lodge. The mobile lodge is itself a unique experience. Its buggies were outfitted with bunk beds and a viewing platform so visitors could spend more time immersed in nature. Sure, the lodge has a dining hall. Its chef, Canadian Jared Fossen, creates hearty, home-cooked meals. He wants to elevate and show off regional specialties from the land and the sea, though. So for 10 days in March, he transforms dinner at Dan’s Diner into a multi-course, fine-dining meal.
It’s amazing what a great chef can create in such a tiny space. The restaurant has a little kitchen, but most of its food is cooked in the oven and smoker outside on the deck. It was built high enough that polar bears can’t reach it. Leafy greens are grown at Rocket Greens, which turned a sea container into a hydroponic Growcer to supply fresh produce to Churchill. Arctic char and elk are locally caught and hunted, respectively. While extras, including chocolate for a banana cream pie, are flown in from Winnipeg. The rest is up to the chef’s imagination. Are you tempted to venture north next year?