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The Monkey Tree Pub is showing that an innovative business response to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic can revive a classic dining experience enjoyed by older generations.
The Range Lake Road pub is in the process of setting up the first drive-in and dining service that Yellowknife has seen in years, possibly decades. The service, popular in North America in the 1950s and 1960s, involved diners pulling into a restaurant and ordering food that was brought to a tray attached to their vehicles.
“We are missing our regulars (and) we needed to find a way to resume lunch and dinner service. This is just a cool way to allow us some connection with our customers while abiding by the new restrictions,” said owner Jen Vornbrock.
“Hopefully this adaptation will allow us another way to weather the storm. We are even going to start offering milkshakes – just to really dive back into the drive-in and dine experience.”
Vornbrock connected on the Etsy vintage item portal with a vendor in Michigan whose family manufactures the trays using a machine from the 1960s.
“They brought it over from Texas and spent five years fixing it up. It’s the only one of its kind and is now being used to make these trays for restaurants and even drive-through testing facilities. I had asked if they were of proper quality to do this service and not just some plastic novelty item,” she said.
The vendor stated on Etsy that her family acquired the industrial grade machine in 1982 and that it is the only one of its kind in the United States.
“Trays hang only from window glass, do not touch car body,” she said.
Territorial Beverages has partnered with Monkey Tree for the project, and paid for all 45 of the trays that Vornbrock ordered.