Old Town Copper Center Restaurant offers fine dining for travelers and visitors to the area. Our good food and friendly atmosphere also make us a year-round favorite hang-out for local residents. Our dining room is nicknamed “Nummy’s” for Tom’s Grandmother, Kathryn, who presided over the Copper Center Lodge dining room and kitchen for so many years. George Ashby’s tavern, Club 96, was transformed into the restaurant and kitchen after the 2012 fire.
The building was a historic log communications station brought down from Thompson Pass. The fireplace was built by George with colorful rocks from Chitina. We updated the space with warm wooden walls and flooring, dining tables that encourage people to linger and visit. In this cozy space, we host family and local business parties throughout the year. For added pleasure enjoy your meal on our outdoor deck.
Restaurant patrons choose delicious meals from a robust breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu. Most of our foods, including our hamburger buns, wheat bread and baguettes, are made right here in our kitchen. We offer fresh vegetables from local growers when these are available. A full beer and wine selection includes hand-crafted beers from Alaskan micro-breweries! Fresh local and Bristol Bay salmon are served in season as specialties of our chef and on our Amigo Burger, where a Copper River Red Salmon filet goes very well with lime aioli on a homemade bun.
One of our famous specialties is Sourdough Pancakes. George Ashby and daughter Jean had a long debate over who could make the best sourdough pancakes, using a starter that reportedly came from “some miner in Pennsylvania in 1865.” This venerable ferment was passed on to George and Kathy Ashby by Vince Joy, a family friend who became locally famous as founder of Central Alaska Missions in the 1950s. George was proprietary over his ability to make light and delicious pancakes from that sourdough crock. When a customer would request breakfast cook Jean’s pancakes, he would remind everyone that they were actually “George’s Sourdoughs.”
Our special rhubarb sauce for sourdough pancakes is a recipe Kim learned by cooking alongside her grandmother, Phyllis McGinley. Phyllis was a renowned local cook who ran the Nelchina Café on the Glenn Highway during the 1960s and 70s. Frank and Phyllis’s sturdy commercial Wolf range is still in use in the Old Town Copper Center Inn kitchen. Rhubarb is one of the first plants to burst out of the ground in the Copper Valley summer. We cultivate rhubarb all around the Inn, for sauce and for Kim’s special crisp. Don’t ask your server which desserts are specialties, because they are all homemade right here in the kitchen and all of them are special: Pecan Sticky Buns, Carrot Cake, Fruit of the Forest (triple-berry) Crisp, or Key Lime Pie.