By Morgan Smith
One definition of the word house is shelter or refuge. I can’t think of a more perfect definition to explain Java Haus. Although the definition for the German word haus varies slightly from our English version, this family owned and run business serves this community with that very goal in mind.
The place is shelter and refuge not only for people out enjoying the mountain, but the crew that keeps it all going. Java Haus gets them back out there with exemplary food at an affordable price.
The story of Java Haus starts with owners Kurtis and Emma Kramer meeting and falling in love in Girdwood. After deciding to make Girdwood her home, Emma got a job at Java Haus, owned then by Heidi Isernhagen. Emma worked and help run the company from 2000-2003.
In 2005, Heidi approached Emma about purchasing the business from her. Although is would be a new venture for her, she decided to try her hand at running Java Haus. With Kurtis by her side, they made some renovations to their old location, and after making the space suitable to their needs, they opened their doors in May of 2005. Java Haus took off. With new items on the menu, including food, it soon became a staple for locals to eat.
Fast forward to 2007. Alyeska Day Lodge offers Java Haus a new space to reside and after some renovations, they reopen their doors in August of that year. Now over eleven years later they are still feeding us.
The only difference is that they are now occasionally accompanied by their two children, daughter Naya and son Rowan. That plus a hardworking staff of five, make it so Java Haus is flourishing. Emma reiterated to me how grateful to her staff and the community she was for supporting them and helping to make their dreams come true.
Their wide range of hours makes anytime a good one to stop in for food. Espresso drinks areavailable, made from Kbay Espresso out of Homer, Alaska. Java Haus has been using them for 14 years. Kbay Espresso uses all organic and fair trade beans. Their blend is roasted with 6-8 different beans each from a different coffee producing region of the world.
Smoothies are also available. Breakfast is served all day with options including traditional style breakfast, croissant sandwich, burritos and more. Looking up for lunch options? Wraps, including the Alaska BLT made from fish caught by the Kramer’s is a big hit. Also there are sandwiches including one called the Pacific Northwest, also made from fish that the Kramer’s company Straight To The Plate caught. There are also hot sandwiches and soup for those cold days where you need some help warming up.
Straight To The Plate is owned and operated by the Kramer’s and run during the summer in the months of June and July. For the past six years, the Kramer’s have been taking out their boat harvesting salmon, then bringing them to Girdwood. They sell them two days a week during the afternoon and evening to try and accommodate anyone desiring fish.
The fish is different size filets or you can buy fish whole you can take home fresh and cook up. With the salmon sold at a fair price, it is easy to eat a fresh, healthy, locally caught meal. Using the fish in Java Haus helps offer the community a healthy option for eating, even in the winter.
Looking to the future, the Java Haus has one goal in mind, to continue to combine their two passions, fishing and a place of their own for people to eat that offers a wide range of healthy food options to satisfy your taste buds. Checkout the Java Haus website for more information, including their. So as their motto says, “Wake up and Live”.
Alyeska Daylodge, Girdwood
104 Arlberg Ave.
Mon.-Sun., 7 a.m.-5 p.m., food service stops at 4 p.m.
Straight to the Plate’s website is alaskafishmarket.com.