on February 14, 2013
We heard from locals and other tourists alike that Prospectors Pizza was probably the best restaurant in the Denali Park entrance area. It’s a quick walk from our lodge, across to the east side of the George Parks Highway (there are two signaled crosswalks) to the Denali "village." Prospectors Pizza is located just north of the boardwalk, in the set of buildings with blue colored roofs.We entered and gave our name to the greeter at Prospectors Pizza. This was the first time we had to wait for a table in any restaurant in the Denali entrance area. After about 30 minutes, we were given a table in the dining area. Prospectors Pizza was totally packed and quite lively, but our waitress still greeted us promptly and took our drink orders. The décor is very eclectic, with reindeer antler chandeliers, lots of pine, and photos of various Denali scenes behind the bar. The back wall of Prospectors Pizza has a huge painted landscape mural of Denali with Mt. McKinley in the background.The menu has all sorts of pizzas, salads, appetizers, soups, pastas, and brick oven sandwiches. The sandwiches looked particularly interesting, so my friends chose The Big John, which is a reindeer sausage sandwich, and my other friend wasn’t too hungry, so he chose the minestrone soup. I went for the Alaskan Elk meatball sandwich. We didn’t wait overly long until our orders arrived. My friend’s Big John sandwich is an Alaskan reindeer sausage, a state favorite, with grilled onions, roasted sweet peppers, and marinara sauce, with steak fries on the side. He enjoyed the sandwich. He said the reindeer in the sausage is a distinct taste, but not too gamey. My other friend thought the minestrone soup really hit the spot. My Alaskan Elk meatball sandwich was a little disappointing at first sight. There are two large meatballs covered with mozzarella cheese and marinara in the toasted bun. I think presentation-wise, they could have sliced the meatballs in half and staggered them to give a better illusion of more meat in the bun. That being said, the sandwich was really good. You could definitely tell that there is a different meat in there, but not too gamey. Our food came out to $33 total. This is pretty typical pricing for the area, since everything needs to be trucked in. Prospectors Pizza has good food, lively atmosphere, and we’d definitely go back. In fact, we did two days later for dinner, this time for the namesake pizza.Again, Prospectors Pizza was packed, and we waited around half an hour for a table. We decided that this would be a perfect treat for us after climbing Mount Polychrome in Denali National Park. This time, we took a seat at the bar and ordered a 17 inch, Grizzly Sized, The Lower 48 It Ain’t pizza. The pizza is topped with Alaskan Reindeer sausage, ground elk, roasted peppers and red sauce, and Buffalo mozzarella. The pizza was very good, the reindeer and elk weren’t gamey at all, but quite savory. The crust was baked well, nicely browned and crispy where appropriate. The pizza and some beer equaled a very rewarding meal. Our bill was around $41. If you find yourself staying in the Denali Park entrance area as we did, I really recommend Prospectors Pizza. They have good food, good service, and a great atmosphere.
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