Roadtrippin’ 2022: The Potato restaurant in McCarthy
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - It’s not an Alaskan road trip until you venture to the end of the Edgerton Highway, cross the Copper River, and drive to what seems to be the middle of nowhere.
But as it turns out, the middle of nowhere offers some creative culinary experiences. McCarthy, Alaska is a quaint little town where the mosquitoes eat the people, and the people — well, they like to eat potatoes. Rebecca Bard is co-owner of a McCarthy restaurant called The Potato.
“I really love seeing smiling faces,” Bard said. “I love people being so surprised that they’re out here in the middle of nowhere and getting creative cuisine.”
The Potato is an aptly named restaurant that started as a food truck in 1995 and has since grown into a McCarthy town staple. Don’t let the name fool you, potatoes aren’t the only thing served at this rustic restaurant, but they are incorporated into almost every dish.
“We work with what we have because sometimes getting supplies in here, they out us when our freight truck picks up, and then we can’t do anything about it, and then we have some local gardeners that produce some really beautiful vegetables and greens for us,” Bard said.
The restaurant is a safe place for visitors and locals alike to come and enjoy themselves. In the kitchen, lead chef Scott Whitus has full creative freedom to make his masterpieces.
“A lot of inspiration and creativity comes from necessity out here. It’s not like I have this plethora of product that I can choose from. It’s kind of like whatever we can get, and I’m like rummaging through our stock and like ‘what can I make? What do we have? How can I put this together and piece it together using my past experiences?’ and it’s really fun. That’s why I like the challenge.”
“It’s fun, it’s exciting, every day is new. You never know what you’re going to get into in the next day, like with the dogs, is there going to be a dog fight in the kitchen? I don’t know,” laughs Whitus.
So it’s at the Potato, surrounded by the Wrangell St. Elias mountains, that you can experience good food with good people.
“Through the years, the community is part of the reason why we built because we were a little nervous, but they wanted a place to hang out,” Bard said, “We call this the living room, you know. It’s got a sunny porch, and you know, it’s at the end of the road, and everybody is so happy to be here.”
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