SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Best burger of the summer



September 05, 2015
Saturday PM

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - I’m not versed in all things kitchen, so I’m not really qualified to make food judgments that people would take very serious.

jpg Jeff Lund 

That said, I am an expert at figuring out what I like and one thing I do like is a good burger. Not that anyone purposely seeks out bad burgers just to switch things up, but a lot of things have to go right in crafting a burger worth writing about.

There is the light toasting of the bun. The burger to bun ratio. The quality of the bun and burger. But even if those things are in place, the burger can still fail. Some joints insist on ruining a solid foundation with a secret sauce that is publicly poor. Sure it’s perfect for someone else, but I’m not going to subject myself to something I don’t like just because someone else tells me it’s good and right. That’s for elections, right?

Anyway, once the lean ground beef is cooked but still sweating juice, the bun has been browned to prevent all-out saturation, the sauce and fixings added, it’s time for judgment. However, proceed with caution. Some hearty burgers sit like a rock and punish your internal apparatus. A truly great burger satisfies the need for caloric intake, but doesn’t incapacitate.

That all said, if you want a burger, check that, need a burger, you need to go to these places. I could eat one burger per day at these places – until a doctor ordered me to stay away. Sorry Cape Fox, Annabelle’s, Burger Queen, et. al. here are my five favorites from Ketchikan and Prince of Wales.

Feel free to email me and remark about how right I am.

5. Thorne Bay Café – Thorne Bay.

You can’t criticize an establishment run in part by local students. You also can’t criticize because the burger is good. Very good. The café has an indoor seating area and tables set up for chalk graffiti while you wait. Local art and photos line the walls. It makes you feel good to eat there. It makes you full to eat there.

4. NY Café – Ketchikan

The New York Café has an old-school feel. It feels established, comfortable, not like a frenetic factory. The sauce works, the taste is on, and nothing beats the ambiance. Yeah, you can’t taste environment, but it doesn’t hurt.

3. Knudson Cove – Ketchikan

At this point the burgers aren’t really that much better than the next. It’s a matter of location or convenience. This burger and location is dangerous for me because it’s within walking distance and you don’t just get a burger, you get a shake too. Always. I call it the Knudson Combo. I suppose the saving grace of its location is that if I do walk down and get the Knudson Combo, I can literally walk it off and feel better about myself.

2. Rose’s – Ketchikan

This is the best burger in Ketchikan, but it’s number two on the list. The variety of burgers make it impossible for visits to become stale. Not that it ever would be because the burgers are so good, but there is a burger for every mood.

1. Bait Box – Coffman Cove.

Coffman Cove was a tiny logging town when the Ketchikan pulp mill closed. Many people thought the town wouldn’t survive but Coffman Cove is as resilient as it is tenacious and you can taste it in the burger. When you’re the only joint in town or within miles, you could put on frozen burgers you bought at Costco, slap on some ketchup and play the supply and demand game, but that’s not how Coffman Cove does things. These logging-themed burgers are comprised of quality ingredients, cooked to perfection by employees who not only ask about the fishing but also give you fishing reports. As an added bonus, the shakes are thick and tasty, and the dry erase board out front is always good for comical insight.


(September 10, 2015)

Note: I was so excited about burger talk in this column that I neglected to mention the actual restaurant at which you purchase the burger and shake at Knudson Cove. It’s called the Dockside Galley. Hopefully if you found Knudson Cove, you found Dockside, a burger and a chocolate peanut butter milkshake.



Jeff Lund ©2015

Jeff Lund is a Teacher, Freelance Writer, living in Ketchikan, Alaska
Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @alaskalund
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