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Couple opens a bigger Hot Bite

Posted: Monday, June 16, 2003

Lynette Anderson and her longtime partner, Mitch Falk, were content to let The Hot Bite, the Auke Bay hamburger stand they bought last July, run as it had for the rest of the summer.

This year, though, they're opening a year-round restaurant in a new location with the old Hot Bite favorites and some additions. The couple hoped to open the restaurant Sunday.

"We'll have fresh, local deep-fried halibut and french fries," Anderson said.

The restaurant also will serve half-pound buffalo burgers made from hay-fed, free-range buffalo in Montana; a halibut-cheek sandwich; a Thai chicken breast sandwich; and a portobello grilled mushroom sandwich; as well as espresso and breakfast sandwiches in the morning.

The new restaurant won't have the ribeye sandwich that drew people to the stand when it was owned by Bill and Kim Luedke, and it won't have shakes made with Haagen Dazs brand ice cream.

"It was just too expensive for us," she said.

But the food isn't the only thing changing at The Hot Bite. The restaurant will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. year-round, and can seat 27 people indoors. The restaurant is across the parking lot from the old stand, in a coral-colored building formerly used by the Coast Guard.

Anderson and Falk bought the property of the new Hot Bite location from George and Frances Pierce in May 2002. At the same time, the Luedkes were trying to sell their stand.

"I thought about it one night ... and I thought that if somebody's going to rent the building from us to run (The Hot Bite), we might as well buy it," said Falk.

Once the couple bought the hamburger stand, they began developing plans to move The Hot Bite into the Coast Guard office and move the Coast Guard office into the Pierce house on Glacier Highway, which the couple remodeled. When the new Hot Bite location was empty, its make-over began.

"We've been remodeling 24/7 since February," Anderson said.

The building has a kitchen with new equipment, new, larger bathrooms, and a new paint job.

The couple kept their day jobs throughout the remodeling. He runs a business that delivers marine freight in Southeast Alaska, and she works for Alaska Airlines. They plan to continue to work full time when the restaurant opens.

The Luedkes owned The Hot Bite for 12 years.

"It got much busier over the years," said Kim Luedke from her home in Port Alexander, on the southern tip of Baranof Island, where her family moved last July. "We were just ready to move on."

The Luedkes record the weather in Port Alexander for the National Weather Service and the Federal Aviation Administration.

"I wish them well," Luedke said of the new owners. "It's a really good business. We had the local summer customers every year - they'd come back every year, and I know that they'll keep going back."

Christine Schmid can be reached at cschmid@juneauempire.com.



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