Kokum’s Shack opens in HP

Kokum’s Shack restaurant officially opened in High Prairie on 50 Street on Jan. 4 and features a variety of Indigenous specialties and other food. Left-right, are co-owners Starr Sasakamoose, holding a Chief Burger, and Kristal Sasakamoose, holding an Indian Taco.

Indigenous food featured on menu

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Indigenous food is on the menu at Kokum’s Shack restaurant that opened Jan. 4 in High Prairie.

“It’s the Home of the Bannock Burger and the Indian Taco,” says Starr Sasakamoose, who owns the business with his sister, Kristal Sasakamoose.

“That’s the Kokum’s recipe.

“The homemade chicken gravy is one of our secret family recipes.”

They are expanding a mobile Kokum’s Shack that opened in 2015 and served food prepared by the family and their aunt Theresa Campiou, “the Kokum”, the Cree word for grandmother.

Bannock is made fresh every day.

“Everyone was requesting that we open a permanent restaurant for years,” Kristal says.

“We’ve been in the food business for nine years and we’ve been successful and we decided it was time.”

Her husband, Robert Davidson, is the main cook, with nine years of experience.

Located on 50 Street one block south of Highway 2, the new restaurant is a perfect fit for High Prairie for the family business, they say.

“I’ve always considered High Prairie a second home for me,” says Starr, who notes he formerly lived in the town for 15 years.

Starr is a councillor for Driftpile Cree Nation, about 50 km east of High Prairie.

On that line, Kokum’s Shack also features the Chief Burger with two five-ounce homemade patties and the Council Burger that includes one five-ounce homemade patty.

“We needed something with an Indigenous ring,” Starr says.

“When we open at other locations, one of our trademarks will be the Chief and Council Burger combos.”

Kristal also works as a nurse at Driftpile.

The leadership role has encouraged Starr to create economic opportunities for Driftpille members with a vision to inspire others to fulfil their aspirations to become successful entrepreneurs.

“As a leader of Driftpile, I will continue to create those opportunities and provide support to those who aspire to be successful entrepreneurs,” Starr says.

Plans are underway to expand in Alberta.

“I’m in discussions with locations in Edmonton and Calgary,” Starr says.

“That’s our goal in 2021, to open one location first in Edmonton, then in Calgary.”

They also have a vision for more.

“Kokum’s Shack is going to be a long chain eventually,” Kristal says.

Their plans to open in High Prairie in 2020 were delayed by restrictions in the coronavirus pandemic, Starr says.

“We are happy with the business,” Starr says.

“Support in the High Prairie region has been awesome in welcoming a new business,” Kristal says.

Starr is delighted that they have created jobs for six people, four Driftpile members and two people from High Prairie.

When restaurants are able to open in COVID restrictions, they welcome people to dine in.

Kokum’s Shack is open Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. and closed Sundays.

Kokum’s Shack has a staff of six employees. Standing, left-right, are co-owner Kristal Sasakamoose, husband Robert Davidson, Kassiandra Hamelin, Angel Topman and co-owner Starr Sasakamoose. Missing in the photo, are Jordan Sasakamoose, Halle Davidson and P.R. Auger.

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