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America's Classics: Gustavus Inn, Gustavus, AK



June 10, 2010


America’s Classics Award–winning restaurants have timeless appeal and are beloved in their regions for quality food that reflects the character of their community. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be spotlighting the eateries that earned this prestigious distinction in 2010. Three generations of the Lesh family have welcomed guests to this farmhouse at the edge of a meadow overlooking Alaska's Icy Strait. Jack and Sally Lesh started the inn in 1965, operating it as a drop-in restaurant, grocery store, and hotel. For many years it was also the town’s weather station, airline counter, and radio and telephone contact. From 1976 to '79 their daughter Sal and husband, Tom McLaughlin, continued these services, supporting the crew building nearby Glacier Bay Lodge. Dave and JoAnn Lesh took over as innkeepers in 1980 and raised their three sons and daughter there. Over the years, the town has acquired power, phones, and city status, allowing the Gustavus Inn to rely more on serving tourists to Glacier Bay National Park during the summer months. Supper is served family style and usually features local catches like Dungeness crab, salmon, halibut, and sablefish, as well as produce from the inn’s munificent garden. Despite the challenges of a short growing season, that garden produces berries, potatoes, rhubarb, myriad greens, and edible flowers. In addition to just-caught seafood, the Inn is known for sourdough pancakes with homemade spruce tip syrup and Halibut Caddy Ganty, often called Halibut Olympia, a rich mix of fish cooked with onions, sour cream, and mayonnaise. –Providence Cicero, Restaurant Critic and Food Writer, Seattle Times Gustavus Inn PO Box 60 Gustavus, AK 907.697.2254