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Gustavus Inn 'American Classic'


Gustavus, Alaska

Gustavus Inn at Glacier Bay has been chosen an “America’s Classic” by the James Beard Foundation of New York.

In announcing the award the Foundation said “the America’s Classic Award is given to restaurants with timeless appeal, beloved for quality food that reflects the character of their community – from small, regional restaurants, watering holes and shacks, to lunch counters and down-home eateries that have carved out a special place on the American culinary landscape”.

“Gustavus, Alaska is home to 400 citizens who all have one thing in common: their love for the Gustavus Inn. A part of the Lesh family for three generations the Gustavus Inn, a red-roofed farmhouse inn and restaurant, has welcomed locals and visitors alike for years. At supper, the family-style meal often features a menu full of fresh-caught seafood straight from the chilly Alaskan waters. Dungeness crab, salmon, sablefish and a dish called Halibut Caddy Ganty – a quintessential Alaskan dish of fish cooked with onion, mayo and sour cream – all share pride of place on the menu with fresh produce from the Inn’s garden, which thrives despite the limited growing season.”

The James Beard Awards shine a spotlight on the best and brightest talent in the food and beverage industry and have been called the “Oscar” of foods by Time Magazine. The award given to Gustavus Inn, a first for the state, covers the Northwest states region. Nominations and a judging process go on behind the scenes, catching Innkeepers Dave and JoAnn Lesh by surprise. In accepting the honor, they said “"Family is the heart of Gustavus Inn, and we are happy to see that the award honors multigenerational businesses as well as our careful preparation of Southeast Alaska's bounty.  Gustavus Inn is firmly rooted in family traditon as well as our place here in Southeast Alaska.  Dave and I try to share our homestead life and bring the dynamic forces of nature to our table, from the sea, the forest, and ancient glacier ice because that is what makes sense here on the edge of the wild Pacific." They go on to thank their family and the community of Gustavus for supporting them over their 30 year ownership of Gustavus Inn.

The Leshes have been invited to accept the award at Avery Fischer Hall at the Lincoln Center in May. Winners are feted at a weekend of gala events in New York that have become the social and gastronomical highlight of the year.

Gustavus Inn at Glacier Bay has been in operation since 1965, founded by Dave’s parents Jack and Sally Lesh and JoAnn and Dave Lesh have owned the Inn since 1980. The Inn hosts visitors to Glacier Bay National Park in a renovated historic homestead, serving 30 house guests three meals daily in the summer.
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