Story and Photos by Nik Fiorito

Rumours of a new restaurant opening in Thunder Bay are difficult to keep under wraps, as the local scene has been blessed with a fresh abundance of independent, locally owned eateries. While the culinary landscape is not completely saturated, it really does take someone or something truly different to raise eyebrows and stir things up. Thankfully, Cole Snell is someone different, and his new dry-aged and Wagyu-focused steakhouse, Uptown Cut, is something deserving of your attention.

Through the wonders of social media and some mutually beneficial timing, a group of 14 of us found ourselves seated as the restaurant’s first-ever guests. Our purpose that Friday night was primarily to celebrate a birthday, but also to give the kitchen and wait staff a realistic test service as they prepared to open to the public the following week. The event featured some of the most memorable dishes any of us had sampled, and on more than one occasion it was overheard, “This is the best (insert an item from one of the seven courses) I’ve had in Thunder Bay!”

The soul behind the steak is the friendly and engaging Cole Snell, who has moved back to the Lakehead to be closer to family. Having established two successful eateries still operating in Toronto, as well as a food distribution company, Snell is already a seasoned veteran at a young age, but he is excited about the energy and potential of his new home. “There’s something happening here, and I’m excited to be a part of it,” he says, standing beside the wooden bar top he himself crafted. “We don’t want to compete with the other great restaurants here, especially in this little area [Bay & Algoma]. We just want to add to the mix and let people taste some things in a way they’ve maybe never seen before.”

The restaurant is small, with a licensed capacity of just 32, making it the perfect venue for a private event or intimate evening. Uptown Cut is also open for lunch, serving Wagyu-beef burgers among other locally-inspired creations.

Uptown Cut is located at 252 South Algoma Street.