Alaska restaurants are often a mishmash of several genres; heck, I just saw the sign for a new establishment opening in Anchorage that offers “Chinese and Mexican” cuisine. Whoa. Stop me right there.
Truly, Alaska loves comfortable food, be it pho or burritos or barbequed beef, restaurants serving warm, zesty, and familiar dishes often win out over those who do not, especially among the kid demographic. Most especially, our kid demographic. Deep flavors with ample portions fill the bellies of a hungry family, at prices that won’t break a vacation budget, and maybe even allow for leftovers, that’s what we like.
Below are a few newbies on the AKontheGO personal menu of acceptable Alaska restaurants with family-friendly appeal. Bon appetit! Essen! Dig in!
Kay’s Family Restaurant, 3002 Spenard Road, Anchorage. 907-677-2577. Remember the family diners your folks used to frequent after church on Sunday, or on a Saturday evening when mom didn’t want to cook? Yep, this is it. Grilled cheese, pancakes, skillet breakfasts (served all day!), burgers, chicken-fried steak; the list goes on and on, and I was quite enchanted by the kind service and friendly greetings when we arrived. I also discovered this place is a veritable “who’s-who” of Anchorage personalities; rubbing shoulders with famous local names and folks who have been around a long time. It was fun, it was warm, and we’ll be back.
Pho House, 400 College Road, Fairbanks. 907-456-1086. In my book I refer to this place as the Noodle/Bulgogi House, and yes, as often happens in Alaska, the name has changed. But wow. It was great before, but it’s super-great, now. Small, cozy, and decidedly authentic Vietnamese in style and mannerism, this Alaska restaurant shines with locals and should with visitors, too. My shrimp fried rice was fresh, attractive, and full of plump prawns that filled me up. So, so good. Kids will like the noodle bowls and terriyaki dishes, and mom and dad will appreciate the friendly service and cooked-to-order items for picky eaters (we wouldn’t know anything about that).
HooDoo Brewing Company, 1951 Fox Avenue, Fairbanks. 907-459-2337 (BEER, of course). Right, this is a brewery, and I’m talking about family-friendly Alaska restaurants. But while AKontheGO does strive to be completely kid-pleasing, we all know happy parents are often more indulgent parents during a vacation, so kids, bear with me and they ask mom or dad for something at the next gift shop you visit. One of the most recent microbreweries to spring up in Alaska, HooDoo offers freshly-brewed beer, tours, and a pretty great atmosphere for sampling and visiting. Now, the biggest drawback is, of course, their lack of food indoors, but during the summer months, food trucks and tents seem to appear in the parking lot, offering items that appeal to most palates, like tacos. MMMMMM. So bear wtih the winter slump of no food; it’ll get there. Patrons can bring in whatever food they want, and it gets to be quite fun to watch everyone’s own particular style of brew sampling. Give it a whirl, and take a tour some Saturday at 4 p.m. It’s fun.
Do you have a new spot for noshing or sipping? We’d love to hear from you.