Lavelle’s Bistro in Fairbanks, Alaska

You know how the saying goes, “When in Fairbanks?”

Wait.. That’s not actually the saying, is it? Its “When in Rome,” isn’t it? Oh, well. For our purposes here we’re going with “When in Fairbanks.”

And when in Fairbanks, Alaska, eat at Lavelle’s!

Fifteen years has passed since Kathy Lavelle and Frank Eagle founded Lavelle’s Bistro, located in lovely downtown Fairbanks, Alaska. This spot is hoppin’ and happening inside the downtown Marriott, which is why we choose to visit the restaurant each time we are in Fairbanks for the hugely popular Ultimate Northern Lights, and Polar Bears of the Alaskan Arctic tours. Potentially more trips to come in the future!

Only a few sought after spots remain on our 2019 Ultimate Northern Lights Tours, running March 2-8, and March 11-17. We time our excursion so as to be in Alaska during the best month of the year to photograph the Aurora and we schedule it to coincide closely with the new moon for the darkest skies possible. On this trip we obviously will switch gears a bit, photographing at night while sleeping during the day. Evenings are spent at a remote cabin so we can shoot the Lights as they fire up, then quickly return to the cabin to warm up when the Northern Lights calm.

On the Polar Bears of the Alaskan Arctic tour we’ll leave from Fairbanks, traveling to a remote island in the Arctic Ocean to photograph scores of Polar Bears at eye-level from a small boat. This trip takes us to an isolated Inupiaq Eskimo Village situated on the shores of the Beaufort Sea in the heart of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Each day we will head out in our privately chartered boat to photograph Polar Bears as they swim, play, wrestle and forage for food along the icy shores. We only recently returned from the 2018 adventure, so plan early for autumn of 2019 when we’ll visit the polar bears Sept 30-Oct 5.

We’re now utilizing the fantastic Downtown Marriott Hotel as a launching point on these remarkable tours, which just so happens to house one of Fairbank’s best eateries, Lavelle’s Bistro!

Lavelle’s likes to think that “we’ve all waited 100 years for food this good,” and maybe they’re right. Even if we aren’t 100 years old quite yet!

Their restaurant offers a warm and comforting place to wine and dine, which is really nice when the Alaskan cold outside is biting particularly hard.

They have a selection of amazing eats like the Honey Apple Halibut, Wild Caught Alaskan King Crab (Oh, yum! Oh yum!! Oh yum!!!), and Lavelle’s Chicken Champignon. If you’re in the mood for steak, no worries, they have that too! And at Lavelle’s they utilize Alaskan grown and certified Angus beef. While Filet Mignon and the Empire Selection New York Strip are there to satisfy the carnivore in you, Russ says, “try the hot wings and salad, they’re some of the best in Alaska!”

But get this because it might be just the coolest part of the menu. You can add 8 ounces of Wild Caught Alaskan King Crab Legs to any entree! According to Lavelle’s, no other shellfish in the world projects a more elegant image on your plate!

As your meals are prepared to order, the wine selection should have even the most picky sommelier grinning as wines from their extensive cellar will be appropriately paired with whatever you may order.

Lavelle’s Bistro is certainly, we think, a place worthy to be called Alaskan!

We recommend looking forward to your meal while on either of these great Alaskan tours with Backcountry Journeys. Remember, we take great care with all the details of your trip so that not only your photos are leaving you smiling and satisfied upon returning from a tour.

Kenton Krueger







Kenton Krueger has spent the past several years guiding guiding backpackers, hikers and photographers into the wild places of the American West such as Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Parks as well as in the Grand Staircase Escalante in southern Utah. In addition to backpacking and camping, his adventures include rock climbing, exploring the slot canyons of southern Utah, mountain biking, and bagging 14ers in Colorado’s San Juan Mountain Mountain Range. Kenton is a trail runner, former pilot, newspaper photographer and writer. Kenton looks forward to utilizing his years of guiding experience, combined with his passion and experience behind the lens to provide memorable and unforgettable experiences at the wild places we will visit together.

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