Sunday, July 31, 2011
The Chipper Fish
Holy Toledo, it's the last day of July! That's hard to fathom. I don't know where the month went. It kind of flew by on the one hand, and yet on the other hand it seems as if it's been July for ages. Don't know how to explain that. In any event, I wanted to do a blog on our newest eating establishment here in Hoonah- The Chipper Fish. For those who haven't been to Hoonah for awhile, it will be a bit of a surprise to see. The building used to be located down at the harbor, across from Tideland Tackle Co. It was called Libby's then and offered the usual hamburgers and fries and if I remember correctly, Jo Jo's and soft ice cream. It was a nice place to go and very conveniently located, close to the boats,so visitors and fishermen frequented it, as well as many of the locals. It was a real bummer when it shut down. For a number of years the building sat vacant and was moved to an empty lot behind the building that houses the laundromat and thrift store. The stainless cooking equipment was left inside and I was afraid that the building would either be vandalized or fall apart from lack of maintenance. I was pleasantly surprised one day when I saw Gus Skaflestad and his wife Chris looking the building over. They saw the potential for a business for their daughter Kristy, who I believe graduated from a culinary school. The empty lot at one time sported a large warehouse that the US Forest Service rented for storage. Eventually they moved out and the owner of the building dismantled it, leaving behind a pretty big concrete pad. Gus moved the building onto the pad and with the help of family and friends renovated the building and added a covered deck, ramp and stairs. Chris went to work on the landscape and for the first time in over thirty five years, the area that used to be a shortcut from Hill Street to Front Street with waist high grass, was manicured and made to look like a lawn. They added a gravel path to the main street and planted flowers in boxes and totally transformed the entire area. As you can see from the pictures, there is a nice dining area out on the patio, as well as under the covered porch. This has all taken place in a few short months. Frankly, I'm impressed. From what I can gather they've enjoyed a fairly successful venture so far. I would like to point out for those who may not be aware of the difficulty of getting supplies here, it's not like the lower forty-eight, where if you need something, you call the supplier and they send the delivery truck over that afternoon. There is a great deal of planning that goes into running a successful business here. I believe that most of the perishable supplies have to come from Juneau, which means a weekly shipment on the ferry or an expensive flight on the local airlines- if the weather co-operates. In any event its a challenge that most visitors most probably aren't aware of. In a supreme effort to support our local businesses, I decided to forgo my usual Sunday breakfast of eggs and sausage at the house and take Jan to breakfast at The Chipper Fish. I opted for the biscuits and gravy (homemade) and Jan got the Breakfast Burrito. The only conversation we had with each other for the duration of the meal was-"This is so good." We both had coffee which was served in paper cups that easily held twelve ounces and was just right. Next time we may opt to try the Bomb Skillet- four eggs scrambled, with sausage, bacon, potatoes, peppers, onions, cheddar and jack cheese and served with salsa and sour cream. All for ten dollars. She also serves a lunch menu which includes wild Alaskan salmon, caught by her dad, and several dishes with chicken. (To the best of my knowlege they didn't raise the chickens) You get two free sides with each meal (the broccoli salad is delightful) and there is also a soup of the day which changes daily. Oh my! I don't know how she does it. The prices are great, the food is excellent, the atmosphere is pleasant and the establishment is clean. We have a winner here. My hat is off to Kristy and to all the hard working Americans, wherever they may be, who still believe that hard work, integrity and going the extra mile to give people what they pay for can pay dividends both now and in the future. Way to go gal! If you would like to give Kristy a call and wish her well, the number is 907-945-3434. Just so you know, I'm not being compensated in any way for this blog post. I do so much complaining when something happens that I don't like, I just figured when I do like something, I should be just as emphatic. As Forrest Gump would say, "That's all I have to say about that."