Glacier Bowl and Poke – A Taste of the Islands
By Sue Todd
If you live in Girdwood, Indian, Bird, Hope or beyond, you must occasionally find yourself in Anchorage. Perhaps you’re making a Costco run, or maybe you’re picking up a friend at the airport. Regardless of the reason, one of these days you’ll hit Anchorage when you are hungry. When that happens, there is a place you should check out – Glacier Bowl and Poke.
Located on Old Seward Highway, between Huffman and O’Malley, this tiny little food stand has both walkup and drive-through windows. Either way, you will be greeted with a smile and a choice of some of the tastiest island food in town.
Alaskan partners North Backus and Morgan Wynne opened Glacier Bowl and Poke on December 21, 2016. Their mission for this restaurant/food delivery service was to provide “hearty, healthy, honest foods.”
My first experience of the food was at an outdoor concert held at the Arctic Valley Ski Area in May. Working out of a van, Backus was frantically filling orders as fast as he could, but it was inevitable that he would run out of food in short order. The line was unending, and the van held only so many servings.
I was fortunate to get my order made before the inevitable happened and he had to pack up. I literally got the last piece of poke. It was not your typical festival food. The bright flavors and varying textures were beautifully constructed, and rivaled what I would expect in a high-end restaurant.
At the Old Seward location, the menu board prompts one to pick a protein: Ahi Poke, Calamari Salad, Roasted Chicken, Brown Sugar Steak or Red Crab. The next decision is whether it will be a rice bowl or pokerito (think burrito stuffed with poke.) For me, it was a steaming mound of rice covered with exquisite cubes of ahi tuna, drizzled with a delicious house-made teriyaki sauce, along with a seaweed salad and a generous mound of guacamole.
Like icing on the cake, the dish was finished with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Glacier Bowl is a takeout stand, so the sheer beauty of this dish is impressive. Recalling my previous encounter, I could not wait to dig in. After bite one, all I could say was, “Oh my, mmmhmm (gibberish.) That’s so good!” Wynne beamed and said it was what he lives to hear. My guess is it is a common occurrence.
Business is going swimmingly, and there is now a second location on Tudor at Lake Otis in Anchorage. So, if you find yourself further into Anchor town, you have options. Both locations carry the same menu. Wynne indicated the partners are looking at opening in Girdwood as well. As a part-time Girdwoodian, I support that effort.
While I was interviewing Wynne, Backus was busy getting the paperwork done for their new food truck. Being mobile will allow the business to make appearances at more venues. There is currently food delivery, but the food truck will allow them to make the food onsite. I made a few suggestions for where I hoped to see the food truck – Girdwood Brewing Company and Forest Fair.
Last summer patrons were treated to a few music events at the south location, and the duo are working to make it happen again. Fingers crossed it all works out.
Looking even further ahead, there are dreams of an actual restaurant. It makes sense, though, to test the market first, build a loyal following, and expand as needed before making the investment in brick and mortar. And build a following they have done. If you have not checked out Glacier Bowl and Poke yet, I suggest you do. In the cold months of winter, it is nice to get the island feel, not to mention fresh seafood.
You will find them open Mon. through Sat., 10:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and on Sundays from 12-7 p.m. Locations are 11760 Old Seward Highway and 2518 E. Tudor. Contact them by phone at 907-444-4946. Visit their website www.glacierbowls.com or find them on Facebook (Glacier Bowl.)
Purchase a Glacier Bowl hat for $20 and wear it to G-Bowl to participate in various promotions and discounts, and the proceeds from the sale of hats and other merchandise go to an Alaskan Charity/homeless outreach. These guys are all about community and support of small businesses. Good food, good guys, good ideas: Glacier Bowl and Poke does not disappoint.