Driving for Dinner: The Dam Smokehouse in Nipawin
Located right on Nipawin’s main street, The Dam Smokehouse serves up classic barbecue eats in a warm, laid-back setting. The restaurant has become a destination in the province’s northeast, known for melt-in-your-mouth meats served alongside tasty sides like fresh salads, baked beans and herb and garlic fries. Although Southern flavours make up the bulk of the menu, owner Faron Saufert is keen on working with local suppliers to bring Saskatchewan products to the forefront, taking a unique north-meets-south approach.
Photo by Naomi Hansen
Originally from Porcupine Plain, Saufert worked in agriculture for 20 years before making a career switch. But he says opening a restaurant had always been his long-time dream.
“We were at an agriculture conference in St. Louis, Missouri, and a group of us were out for supper one night eating Southern barbecue. I really fell in love with it then,” he said. “It was always my dream to get into the restaurant industry, but I had no idea how to go about it. I just kind of woke up one morning and said to my wife – let’s take a plunge and start looking for a place.”
With that, The Dam Smokehouse was born in 2017. Right from the beginning, Saufert made it a priority to source locally, especially with Saskatchewan-made beverages.
Photo by Paige Laro
“When I was opening, I took the stance that I was only going to do Saskatchewan-made spirits and beer. So, we don’t bring any alcohol in from big corporations,” he said. “We’re dipping our toe into local meat as much as possible, too. We do a little bit with Beldon Bison Ranch, a local Nipawin bison producer, and we get our sausage made from The Outback Butcher in Carrot River. We designed a specific sausage with them for the restaurant.”
Photo by Paige Laro
Craft beer comes from breweries like 9 Mile Legacy Brewing Company in Saskatoon, Black Bridge Brewery in Swift Current and Rebellion Brewing Co. in Regina. The menu itself changes regularly, but you can always expect to find staples like brisket, ribs and chicken. When asked what he’d personally recommend from the menu, Saufert says the brisket is a must-try, along with the Tumbleweed Alabama White Chicken — The Dam Smokehouse’s jerk chicken. Either way, you won’t be disappointed!
Photo by Paige Laro
Make it a day trip or a weekend
Turn a meal at The Dam Smokehouse into a day trip or a weekend and explore what the Nipawin area has to offer.
Where to stay:
The Northern Greens Resort and Conference Centre is open year round and offers both summer and winter packages. The hotel is also right next to the Evergreen Golf Course, one of Saskatchewan’s finest courses.
What to see/do:
Check out Nipawin & District Regional Park for a great selection of outdoor activities, perfect for enjoying a weekend afternoon. There’s fishing, a barnyard zoo, playground and spray park, plus a ton of walking trails that are ideal for a fall stroll. In town, visit Art on Main to browse its selection of handcrafted work by local artisans, including art, home decor and gifts. Be sure to also stop at the Family Bakery, where you’ll find an extensive selection of goodies, including their delicious donuts.
Photo supplied by Family Bakery
Make time for an extra adventure by checking out a nearby lake! Codette Lake is just a 15-minute drive from Nipawin and offers activities any time of year. Visit Blue Winds Fish N’ Tours for guided boat tours, fishing, hunting, hiking and canoe and kayak rentals. In the fall, the scenery is especially beautiful at Codette Lake, and if you’re up for it, you can even pick high bush cranberries too.
Photo by Blue Winds Fish N' Tours
The Dam Smokehouse is located at 206 1st Avenue West in Nipawin, SK. The restaurant is open most days for lunch and dinner, and also offers catering. Find more information and hours on Facebook and Twitter. The Dam Smokehouse and one of its recipes will also be featured in Naomi Hansen’s forthcoming book, Only in Saskatchewan: Recipes & Stories from the Province’s Best-loved Eateries. Visit www.naomihansen.ca for more information.
Author: Naomi Hansen
Naomi Hansen is a writer and editor based in Saskatoon, SK. She is the author of the forthcoming book Only in Saskatchewan: Recipes & Stories from the Province’s Best-loved Eateries, which will be published by TouchWood Editions in April 2022. Find her on Instagram @onlyinsaskatchewan, Twitter @naomihansen_ or at www.naomihansen.ca.