Chilkoot renamed Muddy Paw Cafe


Photo By Mairin Torgerson

Owner Mike Duncan working in his bakery. The Muddy Paw Cafe is introducing new items to their menu like savory puff pastry turnovers.

Abby Thibodeau and John Piekarski

Owners Kat and Mike Duncan bought the Chilkoot Cafe on the corner of Churchill and 4th Street in June of 2019. Since the change in ownership, they have needed to modify parts of the cafe in response to the COVID-19 virus. In September, they changed the name to Muddy Paw Cafe to reflect their love of dogs.

The Chilkoot Cafe and Cyclery was frequented by cyclists looking for refreshments and repairs while on their rides. While both are still in operation, the Muddy Paw Cafe and Chilkoot Cyclery are now separate businesses.

“When we changed the name that really made people understand this is a whole new business, new owners, new everything, I think that helped a lot,” Mike explained.

In order to adapt to COVID-19 guidelines, the Muddy Paw Cafe has modified its hours of operation to make operating the cafe more financially feasible. As a result, they will no longer be serving dinners. However, the cafe has introduced new items like their savory puff pastry turnovers to their existing menu.

Baker Sam Lindberg said that due to the new hours, people have been consuming more baked goods. She added that she has also started making a much larger variety of these items.

Another change prompted by the ongoing pandemic is that the staff at Muddy Paw Cafe have been reduced to a total of four employees. This short list consists of the two owners, a baker and a dining room manager.

It’s just like a tight little family. Everybody helps out, pitches in where they’re needed. It doesn’t really matter what your job actually is, you’re gonna do a little bit of everything.”

— Baker Sam Lindberg

“It’s just like a tight little family. Everybody helps out, pitches in where they’re needed. It doesn’t really matter what your job actually is, you’re gonna do a little bit of everything,” Lindberg explained.

Muddy Paw Cafe is one of many restaurants that have been flung into a state of uncertainty due to guidelines set by the Department of Health. However, they plan to continue running at 50% capacity throughout the winter.

Amidst the chaos of the pandemic, Kat continues to maintain optimism, “Right now the goal is just breakeven and keep the doors open during the winter, hopefully next summer we can bring everything back. Fingers crossed,” she said with her eyes aglow. 

Recognizing distance learning has created the ability for kids to learn from new locations, the Muddy Paw Cafe offers Wifi for those who would like to enjoy a drink or snack while doing their schoolwork. They are thankful for the continued support from their community.

“Our bread and butter is the neighborhood. If we didn’t have the regulars I don’t know if we would even be able to break even,” Mike said.

As a part of the updated decor in Muddy Paw Cafe, the restrooms have been remodeled to accommodate pictures of dogs in the community. Customers can bring in an 8 x 10 inch print of their dog to be hung on the wall. 

“There’s so many dogs in this community; we see them walking all the time. They come sit on our patio. With our love of dogs, it’s joyful to see them,” Kat added.

Mike emphasized his love for local customers,“I’m able to come out and talk to our customers, which is what we wanted, to be part of the community,” he explained.