Since opening in May, farm-to-table restaurant and coffee shop Froth and Forage has been a hit with online reviewers. The restaurant, which is located in Indian off the Seward Highway, has almost perfect ratings on sites like Yelp, Facebook and Google.
“Where do I begin,” asked Yelp reviewer Shara E. from Anchorage. “How about with WOW!”
Nicole Nodlehs’ Facebook review echoed Shara’s sentiment.
“WOW! Little hole in the wall that is deceivingly artistic both visually and culinary,” she wrote of the 900 square foot restaurant.
The menu, which heavily features fresh ingredients, is an eclectic mix of breakfast, apps, sandwiches, salads and entrees. The breakfast has some classic options like biscuits and gravy, but there are also dishes like lemon ricotta pancakes and an udon breakfast bowl.
A reviewer favorite was the poutine appetizer which features thin house cut fries, reindeer from Indian Valley Meats, house cured bacon red-eye gravy, melted cheddar cheese curds, roasted garlic, fresh herbs and parmesan.
The entree options include a confit turkey leg, reindeer caribou tacos and an Alaskan veggie bowl.
“I make food that I want to eat,” owner and chef Zachary Reid, said.
Reid is was born in Fairbanks, but grew up in Hawaii where he learned to cook for high-end resorts. His interest in farm-to-table stems from having ready access to fresh ingredients due to Hawaii’s year-round growing season.
“The whole farm to table thing has always been a part of something I am as far as my cooking style goes,” Reid said.
“You feel better when you eat better food with better quality ingredients and you know where you food comes from,” said Michelle McIntyre, Reid’s wife of 17 years.
Reid runs the restaurant along with McIntyre. They met in high school while Reid was working at Wendy’s. McIntyre, who spent a lot of time working front of house jobs, said Reid has always worked with food. Reid comes from a line of restaurant owners. His parents had a restaurant years ago and his grandfather owned a pizza place.
“He likes to express his creativity through food and he kind of needs that outlet,” McIntyre said. “So owning his own business is a great opportunity for that.”
Froth and Forage is not the first restaurant the two have run together. They had a similar farm to table place while in Vermont with a focus on seasonal offerings.
“A lot of people say that it’s rough working with your spouse or whatever, but we have always worked really well together,” McIntyre said.
McIntyre and Reid knew they wanted to open another restaurant, but didn’t realize it would be so soon — or in Alaska. McIntyre also has roots in the state as her family is from here and she grew up spending summers in Alaska. Moving up here was also a chance for Reid and McIntyre’s two daughters to be closer to their Alaskan relatives.
The idea for Froth and Forage started out as a coffee shop but eventually expanded. They were looking for space and saw that the former location of the Turnagain Arm BBQ Pit was available. After painting and a remodel, the location was ready to go.
“I love it out there,” Reid said. “I think it has a great view and great potential, and it’s more me as a person out there versus in the city.”
At the moment, they’re looking to keep things small while they get dialed in, but have plans to get a beer license, expand and add staff. Reid said the biggest challenge so far is sourcing all of the local ingredients.
“You don’t really need to do much to good food to make it taste good,” McIntyre said.
There’s a lot of running around from suppliers to farmers markets and being based in Alaska can be somewhat limited on options. Eventually, Reid and McIntyre want to have a garden setup to grow and supply their own produce.