July 3, 2015 – Fairbanks, Alaska – Funny thing about the sun being up all day, it gets late and you find yourself chasing the closing times of businesses. I had been going all day and had only a snack, so I was getting hungry and not in the mood to cook. After a bunch of chasing around I ended up having a wonderful meal at a unique restaurant, the Pump House.
I got going fairly early today. Toured a couple of museums, accomplished lots of little errands and adventures around town and in the nearby countryside. Got so involved in the activities that I had put off worrying about food. So as the day wound down I thought to get some Mexican food. I probably would have ended up somewhere else if it hadn’t been for the time of day. So I am glad for the wild goose chase that eventually landed me where it did.
Using Android Auto’s Google maps on the in-dash radio had me doing circles around Fairbanks as time ticked onward. At first I stumbled over a couple of listings that were outdated, where the restaurant didn’t exist any longer. Then as the clock struck nine, the next couple of restaurants had hours that hadn’t been updated. So rather than a parking lot full of patrons I met up with staff heading home for the “night”. Yes it was still a nice bright evening. Finally I started thinking outside the box a little and remembered the Pump House restaurant back towards Duncan’s house where the trailer is parked.
The Pump House has both a fine dining room and a bar. But then I’ve never developed a taste for either alcohol or coffee, but if there’s a real bar they usually know what soda water is, and how to keep it full. I was thirsty as well as hungry and the draw of soda water and a heavy meal were attractive. The listing suggested they stayed open quite late, the question was how late did the kitchen stay open?
They have a rather large parking lot, it looks like it probably gets pretty busy, but it wasn’t too full this evening, the dinner hour had passed, and I guess that the bar hour may be yet to come. Further, tomorrow is fourth of July and so I imagine a lot of folks are getting ready for big activities. The sign at the door said dinner until 10pm. I had also watched as an employee flipped down the “please use saloon entrance” sign. It was almost 10pm and I really needed food, so I went in the dining room entrance and hoped for the best. I asked in my best hopeful tone if there was time for one more for dinner and I got a warm smile and was assured they’d love to help out.
The atmosphere is relaxed but refined, and strikes a nice balance between historical and modern. I recommend checking out their web site for more pictures. It was a little dark for non-flash shots, so not all my pictures turned out.
First things first, soda water with lime. The menu was worth a read, and I settled on a rib eye steak and a house mixed greens salad to start. Service was well timed, with the waitress checking in often but not overly so. The salad came with dressing on the side, and I seriously considered asking for more of the pickled beets. Pleasant sourdough bread and that refreshing soda water. The main course was both prepared well and presented well. The steak atop the potatoes and vegetables, all arranged nicely, not just tossed on the plate. Paprika dusted on the edges of the plate gave it a refined look and the steak knife tucked under it all brought back the rustic feel.
As I was eating I enjoyed the atmosphere looking around at the walls. I was noticing cases up high on the walls that had something that looked like paper containers, cylinders like the way I remember some glass bottles came wrapped way back in my childhood. I asked about this and the waitress then pointed out the phonographs mounted up high as well. They are all Edison Phonograph cylinders. What a pleasant surprise to be eating in what now felt like a museum. She said they had one the owner kept down where folks could have a look at it, and she brought it around. Quite intriguing.
So a fine meal and as it turns out one more “museum” for the day.