About Nugget City

The unique log building was constructed in 1987 by the Rotundi family, who lived in a tent (all 6) while the building progressed. They logged local trees and hand peeled and stripped the logs they would use for the gift shop. The logs were massive and used a unique style of construction called “Norwegian Scribe” which uses no bolts or nails. Each piece was uniquely and carefully scribed to fit into each other, and careful calibrations were used to compensate for shrinkage over the years. To fully appreciate this structure, you must see the magnificent “King Pin located in the center of the gift shop. The Rotundi family operated the gift shop on a seasonal basis, but moved into the store and used it as a residence from September – May.

After 7 years there was still no running water or flush toilets. It was at this time that the Rotundi family decided to relocate locally and sell their pride and joy. We, the new owners, Scott and Linda Goodwin and our 4 children, Lee, Tara, Amber and Kelsey, were very excited to start our northern adventure. Scott and Linda were very familiar with the north as they had been wholesalers of jade and jewelry products to other stores along the Alaska Highway for many years. Linda’s parents, Don & Gwen Lee, had resided in Mayo in 1951 to work on the dam that is still in use to this day. They returned to the Yukon in the 1970’s to fulfill their dream of operating their very own gold mine, and years later decided to write the story of their adventures in a family book titled “Rivers Of Gold” which can be only purchased at NUGGET CITY. During the 1970’s, Linda was a transport truck owner/operator who hauled large jade boulders (up to 26 tons each) out of the Dease Lake area for many years. At this time HWY #37 was only a logging road and a 3 day drive from Kitwanga to Dease Lake because the road was in such horrible condition. Today this drive takes about 7 hours. Big Difference!

In 1995, we got tired of hauling our water from the river, and not having the comfort of a flush toilet, so we took on the major job of drilling a well and putting in a septic system. All the while, our Yukon outhouse, along with our Yukon shower (4 poles, a large tarp wrapped around them with a 5 gallon bucket) became conversation pieces. And voila! The restaurant idea took form: first as a bakery for our daughter Tara that was only supposed to be a takeout window but then as we laid the foundation, we decided it should accommodate just a few inside seats, maybe 10. Then we decided it should have a home stove so we could do some soup and sandwiches. The next year we had to make room for 10 more seats and more tables and in 1997 we finally had to expand to an industrial kitchen and bakery, complete with 36 seats inside and 40 more on the deck. Until 2000 the name was “Alaska Highways Best Coffee Stop” but while true, we wanted to do something more original and “Yukonish”. We had seen a white wolf visiting the property from time to time, and with us never having the time to eat a meal normally, (wolfing it down) we thought Wolf It Down Restaurant was perfect.

The 4 front cabins were started in 1999. Some of the wood that was used in the construction of the cabins was disassembled board by board by Scott and Linda, from the original army barracks and mess (circa 1940) at the Watson Lake airport. The addition of the Jacuzzi suites and jetted tub suites came in 2003 and the Black Bear suites followed in 2004. The quality of Nugget City’s 4 star cabins is rated one of the highest in the Yukon Territory. In August of 2003 we celebrated the official opening of “NUGGET CITY”. Hundreds attended: amongst them, the Yukon Premier, the Minister of Tourism, and the RCMP in their Red Serge. It was at that time that we unveiled a museum quality carving, by master carver Roger Latondress. “King of the Skies”, a one of a kind, hand carved, three dimensional eagle is sculptured into the main door of the gift shop.

In 2004 the restaurant welcomed Red Seal Chef David Gregg, which allows us to offer you over 40 years of exceptional restaurant service. The restaurant was then expanded again by 50 more seats, providing additional availability for special groups and occasions. Roger, our local master wood carver, then finished the interior with his superb wood work. The Baby Nugget RV Park was started in 1995 as a family project with Linda’s parents, Don & Gwen. Don, at the age of 72, performed the earth moving while Scott installed the underground services and the power lines for this 80 unit RV Park. Its grand opening was 2002 and Baby Nugget RV Park is now one of the Yukon’s finest parks, offering some of the largest pull thru’s available in the Yukon.

Also in the past several years we have added a much needed tire repair service with Roger, (our master wood carver) who is also a licensed mechanic. Over the years, many of our family have been, and are currently working together to keep Nugget City moving forward. You will find many of us, including grand-children, working here, so don’t miss getting an autographed copy of our family book “Rivers Of Gold”. Incidentally we support our Yukon Brewery in Whitehorse, by serving their bottled beer exclusively in our restaurant.