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An unapologetic generalist, I write about travel, Alaska, books, adventure, the outdoors, people, food, culture, science, business, entrepreneurship, and much more.

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Beyond the Park

Tucked away on the Parks Highway, chef and owner Laura Cole’s 229 Parks Restaurant & Tavern doesn’t exactly scream come eat here! If anything, it’s easy to drive right on by with no idea the restaurant exists. “We have a sign the size of a postage stamp,” jokes Cole. The restaurant also sits closer to seasonal businesses that cater to Denali National Park crowds than to any population of regular restaurant goers. Yet Cole and her staff don’t just pull in summer tourists (though they certainly do that). They’ve made the restaurant a destination in its own right, with plenty of fans who—once the summer crowds have disappeared—drive 131 miles from Fairbanks to eat dinner or Cole’s much-lauded brunch. She estimates that a third of her customers drive down from Fairbanks on a regular basis. “It is beyond die-hard,” she says. Now the rest of Alaska—and the country—is catching on.