Barrelling down Alaska's Parks Highway, immediately north of the Trapper Creek bridge (about halfway between Anchorage and Denali National Park), we spied a hand lettered sign reading "Great Pizza". Intrigued and hungry, we pulled into the gravel drive and refused to be intimidated by the collection of cabins, monster trucks and no parking signs.
The neon sign reading "Open" and the friendly schnauzer that came gamboling from the woods guided us to The Trapper Creek Pizza Pub aka Angela's Heaven. Angela hails from Germany and her love of food is evidenced by the white dry erase board where, next to her list of daily specials, she has written "You can get fast food or you can get good food. Here you only get good food."
The Knockwurst and Pasty platter that Travis from down the road was enjoying looked excellent but we stuck to the pizza and were glad we did. A perfectly crisp crust, thick without the slightest doughiness, topped with generous helpings of sauce, cheese, vegetables and meats, made from scratch and served on a blazing hot pan straight from the oven. As Angela put it, "The sign don't lie, eh?" Indeed.
Angela's offers a total of 4 long tables, a collection of old magazines and newspapers and a "sniveling corner" where I presume she bans anyone who isn't having enough fun. Travis and his wife were raving about the moussaka and unpronounceable greek peasant salad (orzacatta???) that Angela had served the previous week, though the wife found the Ouzo a little strong and thought it might have been better if tempered with cream "you know, like Kahlua or something." Angela was appropriately horrified and polite.
The official address is Mile 115.7 Parks Hwy, Trapper Creek AK and the hours are: 1:00 - 10:00 pm every day except Thursday in Summer and 3:00 - 8:00 pm M-Th plus 12:00 - 8:00 pm F-Sat between Labor Day and Memorial Day.
It is definitely worth skipping the restaurants in Talkeetna for a little piece of Angela's Heaven...
On our return journey, Angela's was closed so instead we stopped about 20 miles further north, just below the official south McKinley viewing turnout at Mile 134.5 where we found Mary's McKinley View Lodge. Originally founded by Mary Carey, a journalist who moved to Alaska in the 50s and whose books tell of a most amazing life, the Lodge is still run by her daughter with help from the grandchildren. When we stopped by, they were close to shutting down for the winter and had almost no food left. Even so, the home-made chicken soup had a nice peppery broth with a generous helping of vegetables and chicken. The patty melt was deliciously greasy with grilled rye bread, fried onions and plenty of cheese.
The real reasons to stop, though, are for the view and the stories. A full wall of waist to ceiling windows looks directly out at Mt. McKinley and the adventures that this family has lived through is the stuff of legends.
--Jude from Maryland
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