YELLOW DOG TAVERN
Neighbourhood: Exchange District
Address: 386 Donald St
Yellow Dog Tavern is the kind of gem that’s hidden in plain sight. Everyone likes to claim that they “discovered” it. For more than 10 years, it’s been a go-to spot for business-clad lunchers, pre-concert munchers, post-game boozers and everyone in between, attracting a patchwork set of patrons with its local pours and from-scratch comforts.
Strudy dark wood, chalkboards listing what’s on tap, walls covered with photographs and cheeky memorabilia up the cool-factor, giving a pub feel that balances on the line between classic and alternative. The piece de resistance: stained glass pieced together in the image of saintly yellow Labradors, an adorable ode to its namesake.
With a menu heavy on hearty comforts and lunch favourites, the absence of a deep fryer is hardly felt. Mac and cheese loaded with spicy chorizo sausage taste incredibly indulgent, the secret being the fact that the gooey blend of marble and cheddar cheese is spiked with a heck ton of full-fat cream. They don’t mess around here. It’s definitely not diet-friendly, and it’s definitely worth it.
Yellow Dog’s honey crust pizza is a welcome (and hard-working) contender in Winnipeg’s pie game. The soft thin crust boasts a barely-there hint of sweetness that acts as a flavour catalyst for each bite. Try the perogy pie, with all the savours that Winnipeggers love, minus the actual dumplings. Seasoned potato bits, crisp bacon and red onion are elevated with garlicky cream cheese spread, a smattering of salty feta and a heavy dose of sour cream drizzle.
All proper pubs serve stew, and Yellow Dog Tavern dishes out a praise-worthy bowlful. Tender beef is slow-simmered in a Guiness-injected stock, rendering a smooth malty richness. Dunk the side of warm and buttery garlic toast in, to sop up every last puddle of the rustic meat and potato medley.
Late night noshes are satisfying companions to pints of local brews from the likes of Kilter Brewing Co, Little Brown Jug and Winnipeg Brew Werks. Spicy jalapeno boats baked with cream cheese filling and crumbly bacon are bite size bliss. What more could be expected from this cozy tavern that’s as versatile as its menu.