Friday, October 3, 2014

Down with the old, up with the new

The Woodlot Tavern and Café sign has been replaced with a Northfork Café sign atop the Ahsahka building. Photo by Tabby Haskett

A bright new sign atop the old Woodlot Café and Tavern went up last Thursday, depicting the new name that will soon be on everyone’s tongue for the place serving the famous Lumberjack and Lumberjill hamburgers. That name is the Northfork Café.

The Northfork Café will fill the void that everyone has felt since the old Woodlot closed last February. Deb Brown, the sole owner of the café, has been working tirelessly since Aug. 1, with the help of several friends, completely refurbishing and bringing the old café up to code, and making it a state of the art family gathering place.

Not only will Deb be serving the varieties of hamburgers which patrons have been used to for years, but will be adding her own personal touch to the menu, featuring her homemade pies, cinnamon rolls, apple fritters, and scones. Deb has a lot of experience in cooking and baking to back her up, having trained in Culinary Arts as well as working in delis which specialize in made-from-scratch bakery items.

Opening the Northfork Café fulfills a life-long dream of Deb’s, to own a place of her own, and to make use of her many creative talents. To those who have driven up and down North Fork Road in Ahsahka, it is evident that Deb has been hard at work these last two months, doing much of her own heavy moving, stripping and painting, in tandem with different plumbing, electrical, and cooling/heating contractors, and especially the Health Department, to bring the entire establishment up to code.

She has also done her own re-upholstering of all the chairs and stools, sanded and refinished the wood tables to make them look like new, refinished walls, ceilings, and the walk-in cooler. There are new counters, new ceiling fans, and a bright and sparkling clean feel to the café, including color-coordinated curtains and plants to add to the friendly environment.

Many old photos of life as it was on the old North Fork of the Clearwater River will adorn the walls, and stenciled fish inside as well as on the outside walls of the building will pay homage to the theme of this being the Steelhead Capital of the World. Anglers will be especially welcome, as Deb is a dedicated angler herself, and can keep up with the best of them with her fish tales.

A beautiful addition to the “new” café is a Bistro table with eight tall chairs to match, which will be where the old pool table was. This table can be reserved for groups of six to eight, and will be in use a lot, Deb is sure. The table and chairs were a surprise gift from friends Dave and Donna Clifford, and the set matches the dark trim of the beams in the ceiling.

A newly-upholstered padded bar edge and carpeted kickpad at the bottom of the bar will welcome those stopping in for a beer, and Deb is working with both beer distributors to ensure that favorite brews will be carried. Good quality wines will also be available for those with discerning taste for another beverage.

In addition to anglers, everyone will be welcome including hunters, bikers, families and groups, and according to Deb, special attention will be paid to those who are on short lunch hours and wish to put in a telephone order and have their food ready on their arrival for pick-up.

Watch for the grand opening

It is hoped that the grand opening will happen the first week of November. Deb will be serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week, and in getting ready to open, not everything will be available all at once, until Deb sees that each segment of the business is running smoothly.

Everyone is asked to be patient with both the availability of all menu items as well as the parking situation near and around the Northfork Café, which remains limited at the present time, as it was when the old Woodlot was open.

Deb hopes that everyone is as excited as she is to see that the Northfork Café becomes the “new” tradition!


  1. Love to hear all of this!
    Phone in orders for those that work at nearby facilities - excellent! Please make sure to drop off a few lunch menues at the dam, and both hatcheries.
    I have also heard from fishermen on the bridge that they would love phone in service and carry out, possibly even delivery out to the bridge or wall so as to not lose their place.

  2. We will pass your suggestions on to the owner. Thank you!