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More than 100 customers went out to dine in their vehicles on Wednesday evening for the launch of the Monkey Tree Pub’s new drive-in and dine service.

About 40 vehicles, with between two and five people in each one pulled into the Range Lake Road pub’s parking lot where their meals were served on trays that attach to the vehicles’ mirrors. The service is the Monkey Tree’s version of the tray tradition that was popular in North America in the 1950s and 1960s, which the pub introduced as an innovative response to the Covid-19 business downturn.

Chelsea Jerome, left, and Andrew Jerome prepare to dig in to their burgers and fries and deep fried pickles at the Monkey Tree Pub’s new drive-in and dine service on Wednesday. Blair McBride/NNSL photo

“People seemed excited to try it and really enjoyed tuning into our oldies playlist through their car radio. (We served) over 130 food items,” said owner Jenn Vornbrock, who ordered 45 trays from a vendor in Michigan whose family manufactures them using a machine from the 1960s.

RELATED REPORTING: BACK IN BUSINESS: Monkey Tree to become drive-in to get through pandemic

Most orders are taken through the FoodBooking app and customers can also call the Monkey Tree for further assistance.

This week the service will be offered during the dinner period from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The service might be extended for lunch next week, Vornbrock said.

Dawnelle Rasmussen, a server at the Monkey Tree poses on Wednesday behind some of the trays the restaurant ordered for its new drive-in and dine service. Blair McBride/NNSL photo

While the new dining experience won’t make up for the drop in business experienced by Monkey Tree, it gives the pub a new revenue stream until restaurants can resume regular service, explained Vornbrock.

“In order to maintain our bills, we needed to be innovative and come up with a way to expand services to make up for what’s lost. This will definitely help.”

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Blair McBride

Blair McBride covers the Legislative Assembly, business and education. Before coming to Yellowknife he worked as a journalist in British Columbia, Thailand and Ontario. He studied journalism at Western...

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