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Craggy snowy peaks over a forest of green.

Denali National Park.

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Where to Eat Around Denali National Park

From an acclaimed chef in a log cabin eatery to a cozy room serving moussaka and schnitzel, these are the essential restaurants for any parkgoer

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Denali National Park.

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Denali National Park is the third-largest national park in the United States, more than 7,400 square miles of spruce forests, glaciers, grizzly bears and caribou, and what happens to be the tallest peak in all of North America. For all intents and purposes, though, the eating around Denali shouldn’t be good.

It’s challenging and time-consuming getting ingredients from the Lower 48 to this secluded part of Alaska, making certain dishes (typically those calling upon fresh fruits and vegetables) automatic no-goes. The kitchens are only open from mid-May to mid-September, usually with a freshman staff each summer. And if the law of supply and demand holds (there aren’t many tables to choose from, but droves of travelers each season), there should be little incentive for restaurants and bars to push boundaries — they’ll get plenty of guests either way.

And yet, the restaurants here are either plating meals with freewheeling creativity or creating community in an unlikely place. Consider this a guide for navigating the small, but delightful food and drink scene around Denali National Park.

Bailey Berg is a travel writer who spent seven years living in Alaska.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Rose's Cafe

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Rose’s Cafe is very much a local’s spot — largely because out-of-towners don’t venture this far from the park (it’s about 11 miles from the entrance to Denali). This no-frills space in Healy delivers supersized portions of whatever egg, breakfast meat, and carb comfort food combination your heart desires. Rose’s also serves a variety of burgers and sandwiches (they close at 2 p.m.). It’s fast, it’s easy. Come and get it.

Denali Totem Inn

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Anywhere else in America, Totem would be just another diner. But in Denali, it’s a community gathering place. The food isn’t fancy (the three menu columns are just burgers, pasta, and pizza), but after a long day working as a wilderness guide in the country’s third-largest national park, it hits the Goldilocks zone of a high number of calories per dollar spent. And next door in the pub, the drinks are cheap, and there are oodles of games —  from darts to Wii — to while the night away. At the very least, it’s great people-watching and an opportunity to chat with locals about what it’s like living around Denali National Park.

A curved wood bridge in front of a wooden building beneath blue sky with green grass.

The outside of Denali Totem Inn.

Denali Totem Inn/Facebook

49th State Brewing

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One of the main reasons people come to 49th State Brewing Company is to take a picture with the infamous “Into the Wild” bus. It’s not the real bus used by doomed adventurer Christopher McCandless but rather the prop used in the movie. It’s also not the only reason to come here. 49th has a ridiculously extensive menu, without a dud to be found. Do yourself a favor and get the King Crabby Grilled Cheese. It comes with chowder for dipping and pub fries and is outrageously decadent. It pairs well with the Solstice IPA.

Prospectors Pizzeria and Alehouse

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Sure, you can get the typical Hawaiian pizza or deluxe pie here. Or you can get one topped with a giant pair of king crab legs. What makes Prospector’s ‘zas so tasty is the fact that they let the dough ferment for three days, which gives the crust a more complex flavor and, some say, make it easier to digest. Prospectors also has roughly 50 beers on tap, many of them hard to get elsewhere in the state (if not in the U.S.). Those who drink one of each (which should only be attempted over the course of an entire season, if you’re staying for a while) get a T-shirt.

Moose-AKa's

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Though its name might suggest otherwise, you won’t find classic Alaska-fied dishes here. You will, however, find the homestyle cooking of one of Alaska’s largest immigrant populations.

When Moose-AKa’s owners came to Alaska from Serbia as seasonal workers over a decade ago, they fell in love, both with the state and each other. They decided to stay and open an Eastern European spot that serves meze platters, moussaka, schnitzel, and sarma, as well as an extensive imported beer selection. To an area better known for pizzas, seafood, and burgers, it’s a welcome addition. 

The Black Bear

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It’s easy to stay up too late when exploring the Land of the Midnight Sun. For the mornings after, head to the Black Bear for a cup of rocket-fuel coffee. They use Steam Dot beans — which, for those uninitiated, if a cult favorite Alaska-based roastery. The cozy log cabin shop also has a full brunch menu — the biscuits and gravy and breakfast bearito (see what they did there?) will set you right.

Denali Doghouse

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There are two main food groups at this casual eatery: hot dogs and burgers. While the latter are reliably standard, all of the former are (partially) made with reindeer meat and are sourced from the locally popular Indian Valley Meats just south of Anchorage.

Fannie Q's Saloon - Denali Princess Lodge

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The name may be an homage to Fannie Quigley, a famous prospector and trapper who came to Alaska during the gold-rush era, but the dishes you’ll find at this restaurant within the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge are far from camp food. Expect entrees like lime chipotle-crusted Alaska rockfish served with a crispy corn cake and Salisbury steak made with bison and beef. 

moose antlers hang over an industrial modern looking empty dining room with long tables.
The interior of Fannie Q’s.
Princess Lodges

Alpenglow Restaurant

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If you hang out here long enough, you’ll see why this restaurant got its moniker. Named for the rose-gold light the setting sun paints upon the nearby mountains, this mountaintop establishment, housed within the Grande Denali Lodge, has views that are nothing short of spectacular. They also run one of the more innovative cocktail programs in the area and boast the most upscale menu options, so it’s a lovely place for a special occasion. Start with the grilled corn salsa-topped salmon cakes, followed by the sweet potato gnocchi served with root vegetables and a birch syrup cream sauce.

229 Parks Restaurant and Tavern

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Laura Cole, the two-time James Beard-nominated chef who helms this log cabin eatery, does something most other restaurants in Alaska can’t. She prepares a nightly menu that consists of nearly all locally grown, harvested, or foraged ingredients. The menu constantly changes, depending on what is available, and might include dishes like reindeer liver pate with lingonberry shrub or Alaskan octopus with squid ink noodles, tomatoes, flat-leaf parsley, smoked ham broth, fresh watercress, and jalapenos. It’s a popular spot, so book in advance (though, if you forget, the bar seats are first-come, first-served).

Rose's Cafe

Rose’s Cafe is very much a local’s spot — largely because out-of-towners don’t venture this far from the park (it’s about 11 miles from the entrance to Denali). This no-frills space in Healy delivers supersized portions of whatever egg, breakfast meat, and carb comfort food combination your heart desires. Rose’s also serves a variety of burgers and sandwiches (they close at 2 p.m.). It’s fast, it’s easy. Come and get it.

Denali Totem Inn

A curved wood bridge in front of a wooden building beneath blue sky with green grass.

The outside of Denali Totem Inn.

Denali Totem Inn/Facebook

Anywhere else in America, Totem would be just another diner. But in Denali, it’s a community gathering place. The food isn’t fancy (the three menu columns are just burgers, pasta, and pizza), but after a long day working as a wilderness guide in the country’s third-largest national park, it hits the Goldilocks zone of a high number of calories per dollar spent. And next door in the pub, the drinks are cheap, and there are oodles of games —  from darts to Wii — to while the night away. At the very least, it’s great people-watching and an opportunity to chat with locals about what it’s like living around Denali National Park.

A curved wood bridge in front of a wooden building beneath blue sky with green grass.

The outside of Denali Totem Inn.

Denali Totem Inn/Facebook

49th State Brewing

One of the main reasons people come to 49th State Brewing Company is to take a picture with the infamous “Into the Wild” bus. It’s not the real bus used by doomed adventurer Christopher McCandless but rather the prop used in the movie. It’s also not the only reason to come here. 49th has a ridiculously extensive menu, without a dud to be found. Do yourself a favor and get the King Crabby Grilled Cheese. It comes with chowder for dipping and pub fries and is outrageously decadent. It pairs well with the Solstice IPA.

Prospectors Pizzeria and Alehouse

Sure, you can get the typical Hawaiian pizza or deluxe pie here. Or you can get one topped with a giant pair of king crab legs. What makes Prospector’s ‘zas so tasty is the fact that they let the dough ferment for three days, which gives the crust a more complex flavor and, some say, make it easier to digest. Prospectors also has roughly 50 beers on tap, many of them hard to get elsewhere in the state (if not in the U.S.). Those who drink one of each (which should only be attempted over the course of an entire season, if you’re staying for a while) get a T-shirt.

Moose-AKa's

Though its name might suggest otherwise, you won’t find classic Alaska-fied dishes here. You will, however, find the homestyle cooking of one of Alaska’s largest immigrant populations.

When Moose-AKa’s owners came to Alaska from Serbia as seasonal workers over a decade ago, they fell in love, both with the state and each other. They decided to stay and open an Eastern European spot that serves meze platters, moussaka, schnitzel, and sarma, as well as an extensive imported beer selection. To an area better known for pizzas, seafood, and burgers, it’s a welcome addition. 

The Black Bear

It’s easy to stay up too late when exploring the Land of the Midnight Sun. For the mornings after, head to the Black Bear for a cup of rocket-fuel coffee. They use Steam Dot beans — which, for those uninitiated, if a cult favorite Alaska-based roastery. The cozy log cabin shop also has a full brunch menu — the biscuits and gravy and breakfast bearito (see what they did there?) will set you right.

Denali Doghouse

There are two main food groups at this casual eatery: hot dogs and burgers. While the latter are reliably standard, all of the former are (partially) made with reindeer meat and are sourced from the locally popular Indian Valley Meats just south of Anchorage.

Fannie Q's Saloon - Denali Princess Lodge

moose antlers hang over an industrial modern looking empty dining room with long tables.
The interior of Fannie Q’s.
Princess Lodges

The name may be an homage to Fannie Quigley, a famous prospector and trapper who came to Alaska during the gold-rush era, but the dishes you’ll find at this restaurant within the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge are far from camp food. Expect entrees like lime chipotle-crusted Alaska rockfish served with a crispy corn cake and Salisbury steak made with bison and beef. 

moose antlers hang over an industrial modern looking empty dining room with long tables.
The interior of Fannie Q’s.
Princess Lodges

Alpenglow Restaurant

If you hang out here long enough, you’ll see why this restaurant got its moniker. Named for the rose-gold light the setting sun paints upon the nearby mountains, this mountaintop establishment, housed within the Grande Denali Lodge, has views that are nothing short of spectacular. They also run one of the more innovative cocktail programs in the area and boast the most upscale menu options, so it’s a lovely place for a special occasion. Start with the grilled corn salsa-topped salmon cakes, followed by the sweet potato gnocchi served with root vegetables and a birch syrup cream sauce.

229 Parks Restaurant and Tavern

Laura Cole, the two-time James Beard-nominated chef who helms this log cabin eatery, does something most other restaurants in Alaska can’t. She prepares a nightly menu that consists of nearly all locally grown, harvested, or foraged ingredients. The menu constantly changes, depending on what is available, and might include dishes like reindeer liver pate with lingonberry shrub or Alaskan octopus with squid ink noodles, tomatoes, flat-leaf parsley, smoked ham broth, fresh watercress, and jalapenos. It’s a popular spot, so book in advance (though, if you forget, the bar seats are first-come, first-served).

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