229 Parks Restaurant and Tavern
There’s got to be something wrong with the judges of the James Beard Awards. They keep getting the chance to give the top nod to 229 Parks’ chef, Laura Cole (she’s been nominated for Best Chef: Northwest twice), but they haven’t done it yet. Here’s your warning to get in there before they wise up and it becomes even harder to snag a reservation (definitely make a reservation). The restaurant sits just 11 miles south of Denali National Park, where there are loads of cabins and other touristy this and that in the area. There’s no reason why a restaurant this damn good should be exactly where this damn good restaurant sits. But chef Cole’s husband built it for her (with the help of a lot of friends) so she could have the kitchen of her dreams in the state he grew up in. It’s quite the Alaska love story. And though Cole grew up near Chicago
, she is now one of the most devoted Alaskans around. And her food? Day-um!