Great Steaks and Prime Rib

The Prospector Steakhouse - A Family Tradition for over 30 years!

The Prospector Steakhouse built into what was a turn of the century bank building has been a Thunder Bay favourite for well over 30 years. The Prospector revels in its connection to Thunder Bay’s past, and the former city of Port Arthur.

The building, originally constructed 1909-1912 by the Molson Company, was considered the "finest bank building in the land"; it operated both as the Molson Bank and later as the Bank of Montreal until 1984 when it was purchased by Michael and Leo Hockenhull and transformed into the Prospector Steakhouse. 

Entering this north side eatery in Thunder Bay's Waterfront District is a little like sinking into a rustic bit of history, complete with gunslingers and panhandlers. Antique handguns and rifles decorate the walls. An impressive large relief of a tin prospector is a big feature. As impressive is the image of Kakabeka Falls and other local art specially commissioned for the restaurant. At Christmas the moose head gets decorated with the Santa treatment. The beautiful bar made of blonde tamarack wood hosts a bounty of liquor. 

“Enough of this artsy talk!” you say. “Get to the meat!” I hear you.

The Prospector’s menu hasn’t changed much over the years because they have perennial favourites. Loved by locals and tourists their prime ribs have become famous. It helps that the beef is top quality, from the family farm in the Slate River Valley. 

And more infamous than famous, the Prospector Bones is a massive rack of beef bones. It’s piled high like the stack plunked in front of Fred Flintstone that tips his car. A Prospector waitress claimed that not even the big-eating Texans can eat all the steak they’re served. 

Size bragging aside, the salmon, rainbow trout and pickerel are also popular. Vegetables also come from local farms. Sometimes smaller food items can tip the balance in favour of one restaurant over another. The Prospector is synonymously known for its freshly baked buns (check out the recipe to make your own!), soups and its salad bar. I kid you not, the buns are as notoriously spoken of as any meal served.

They serve a wide range of wines. One of the popular local beers served is Elevator Wheat, brewed by the Sleeping Giant Brewing Company. They also serve Stella, Keats, and a number of other beers. 

In more recent years, the Prospector has expanded their offerings: the Prospector Brew House located in the basement of the restaurant is where in the-house brewmaster makes the Prospector's own craft beers, and the Prospector Burger Barn (located on Memorial Ave) makes some of the best burgers in town. 

The Prospector is open at 4pm for dinner 7 days a week.

About Duncan Weller

A writer and visual artist, Duncan Weller is a Governor General's Award winner who lives in Thunder Bay. You can visit his website at His latest two books are a novel, Flight of the Silk, and an expanded edition of the award-winning children's picture book, The Boy from the Sun.

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