Pub pizza comforts a weary traveller

Posted: Monday, February 23, 2009

Even by Juneau standards, it was downright nasty. Little sleep due to multiple flyovers of Juneau and two hours sleep in Sitka on the flight down from Anchorage, and by the following evening, after trudging the sloppy streets of Juneau, created a monumental hunger as well as a desire to avoid the blaring music and crowded venues often found in downtown Juneau.

Within five minutes of crossing the Douglas Island bridge, I arrived at the Island Pub, rain-soaked and ready to eat.

It was the perfect spot for a solitary meal, and provides the warm and casual, yet stylish setting to wonderful experience with, of all food types - pizza.

The Island Pub is the inviting type that welcomes a mix of 20-somethings conversing with graying yuppies, blended with a mellow James Taylor tune in the background.

Make no mistake; this is no sports bar with greasy fries and chicken wings. The fare is not exquisite in name, but this doesn't stop its proprietors from tantalizing the palate with gourmet pizza as well as other offerings.

While the menu won't need a great deal of study, they have a great offering of salads, appetizers, sandwiches, wraps and, of course, gourmet pizza.

I began with the Spunakopita, which was a delightful combination of buttered phyllo dough stuffed with spinach, onions, feta and Parmesan cheese, served with a cucumber dill sauce. While I couldn't testify this was made on site, it was still very tasty.

I am not a big pizza person, but in a weak moment, I launched into a 13-inch Bear Creek Blast. The foundation was a scrumptious pub marinara, but it didn't stop there. Piled atop was asiago and feta cheese, red onion, sun-dried tomatoes, pepperoni, Italian sausage, shaved raw garlic and green peppers.

While I would stop short of using the word "exquisite" in connection with pizza, this was classic gourmet.

The first bite screamed fresh and quality. The crust was absolutely perfect, crunchy with no soggy or tough spots. And it wasn't greasy at all. If it had any downfall at all, the sun-dried tomatoes, while a great addition to the color explosion, had a tendency to overpower the other ingredients.

To round things off with a vibe, the Island Pub has a wonderful selection of quality wines available by the glass as well as a great selection of beer, both bottled and draft, including several microbrew options.

I tasted a pint of Flying Dog IPA from Maryland, finding it an excellent draft. Their drinks were moderately priced. In fact the appetizer, pizza and beer came to around $30. Best of all, you still have a nice breakfast, as a 13-inch pizza measured in pounds rather than ounces would be hard to complete in a single sitting.

Bottom line: If you want a break from the downtown crowd and want nice ambiance and excellent, yet simple fair, the Island Pub on Douglas Island will not disappoint.

• Jeff Jones is publisher of the Alaska Journal of Commerce.

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