Wednesday, March 4, 2009

General Scene-Part III


Anchorage has a plethora of places to feast on steak, so many that there may be more of this kind of restaurant than any other single category. Mr EA's coworkers call C street "meat street" after the scores of steak joints along this major north-south street.

A good percentage of these are chains. Outback, The Cattle Company, Lone Star, and Sullivan's. They are pretty much exactly what they are everyplace else, so if you are curious about them, go to your nearest example. One of the best local examples is Club Paris, which boasts a 50 year history. The local steakhouses also feature Alaskan seafood, especially those enormous terrifying crabs and the ubiquitous and beloved salmon.


There is a smaller-than-normal selection of this style of restaurant. Chains in the area include Applebee's and TGIF. There is some talk that an Olive Garden is scheduled to show up sometime in the next year, but I have not been able to verify this. Local independents in this category include Kinley's, Glacier Brewhouse, Orso's, and quite a few others. Restaurants up here tend to fit more into a specialized niche than the carefully generalized chains. In general, chains like to have a good variety of options to fit the largest number of people. The independents want to get as many people in as possible as well, of course, but they seem like to have more of a ... well, I don't want to call it a gimmick, but I guess that's one way to put it. They tend to be more focused.


While Anchorage doesn't have any "diners" in the classic coastal sense of diners in the diner type buildings. However, there are a lot of places that fit the diner classification in tone and the type of food they serve. The chains that have ventured up here to the last frontier are IHOP, Denny's and Village Inn, which I have only ever seen in Florida, but which is a chain nonetheless. Local examples include Lily's, the White Spot, and the City Diner. This last is an upscale retro creation, in which Anchorage's top chefs are involved. The locals serve the basics - BLTs, burgers, Reubens, toasted cheese sandwiches, etc. They all have something they specialize in - for example, the White Spot has the best fries ever.

Next installment: Ethnic restaurants!

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