Wood Buffalo: Cultural Diversity Provides Exciting Mix of Dining Experiences

The regional municipality of Wood Buffalo is the second largest municipality in Alberta by land area and may best be described as resilient. While the municipality’s main urban centre of Fort McMurray often inspires images of the oil and gas sector, expansive forests or the harsh beauty of its winter climate, the northeastern Alberta city has some well-kept secrets—including its diverse restaurant scene.

Wood Buffalo at a Glance

  • Population: 74,149
  • Median Family Income: $174,621
  • Unemployment Rate: 7%
  • Residential Vacancy Rate: 22.4%
  • Life Stress: 23.3%
  • Sense of Belonging: 67.6%

Source: Government of Alberta

“Fort McMurray was once very transient, with people flying in and out for work, but as more people are choosing to make the city their home and are raising families, the restaurant scene is growing and changing,” says Michael Sieger, vice-president of tourism with Wood Buffalo Economic Development.

With people from more than 60 countries calling the city home, Fort McMurray’s ethnic food scene has blossomed with Thai, East Indian, Ethiopian and Japanese restaurants, to name a few. In addition to these newer offerings, there are several long-standing establishments with menus that vary from soups and sandwiches to high-end dining, many of which weave regional ingredients like bison and elk into their menus.

The region’s rich entrepreneurial spirit has also made its way into the food business, providing restaurant quality meals for dining at home. For example, Oi Thai Food Inc. works from a unique kitchen and provides delivery only, while 57 North Kitchen & Brewery operates a restaurant, but also offers a second menu – PorknBones – for delivery only.

With all these offerings, foodies can certainly bring their appetites when visiting Fort McMurray.