Gustavus Inn wins national award

Family-owned inn first in Alaska to win 'America's Classic' by the James Beard Foundation

Posted: Sunday, February 14, 2010

GUSTAVUS - Gustavus Inn at Glacier Bay was recently chosen an "America's Classic" in the Northwest region by the James Beard Foundation of New York.

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Courtesy Of Joann Lesh
Courtesy Of Joann Lesh

The award, a first for the state, is given to restaurants with timeless appeal, beloved for quality food that reflects the character of their community.

"This is quite an honor," said owners Dave and JoAnn Lesh. "It will make a nice compliment to our Inn, since it has been in (our family) three generations.

"We are happy to see that the award honors multigenerational businesses as well as our careful preparation of Southeast Alaska's bounty."

The couple thanks their family and the community of Gustavus for supporting them over their 30-year ownership.

"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," JoAnn Lesh said.

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

In announcing the award, the Foundation writes: "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 ... all share pride of place on the menu with fresh produce from the Inn's garden, which thrives despite the limited growing season."

The Leshs were invited to accept the award in May at the Lincoln Center in New York. Winners are feted at a weekend of gala events in New York.

For more information about Gustavus Inn at Glacier Bay, visit or call 800-649-5220.

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