If any of you have ventured into Palmer looking for a bite to eat, you may have noticed the slim pickens. The standard fare until about a month ago was a plethora of eateries offering plenty of foods fried, processed, smothered in cheese, and doused in MSG. Not that a nice greasy breakfast once in a while is not good for a lot of things but…
Both Restaurants, Turkey Red and the Red Beet are housed in remodeled/restored landmark buildings in the center of Palmer and both offer an atmosphere of community combined with daily offerings of nourishing whole foods.
Turkey Red, is located just off South Alaska Street across from the Valley Hotel. The building also offers Palmer residents and visitors a new shopping experience, a must see next time you are in town.
The name Turkey Red was chosen because of the first variety of wheat brought to America. Alex Papasavis, owner and head chef shared that early migrators from Eastern Europe did not carry personal possessions, clothing, or family heirlooms with them as they made the journey across the Atlantic, but toted suitcases bursting at the seams with seeds. On seed they brought was Turkey Red, a variety of winter wheat, planted in the late summer and harvested in early summer of the next year.
Our first meal at Turkey Red was like attending a community meeting with all our favorite people. The restaurant was full of friends, happily enjoying their yummy dinners. We had to force ourselves to sit down because at every table sat someone to visit with and celebrate how lucky we are to have such a terrific new restaurant in town.
If you manage to pass through Palmer and are looking for a good meal Turkey Red will not let you down. The lunch and dinner menu changes daily but you can always expect fresh sourdough breads, organic coffees, specialty teas blended by a local herbalist, yummy homemade broth soups, crisp salads, local wild harvested fish. When the summer harvest hits you can also expect local foods to grace the menu. If you are vegan or vegetarian no worries, Alex always offers options for you, too. Lunch and dinner prices are super fair given that nothing is processed and always made from fresh whole ingredients; entrees range from $6 to $22.
The Red Beet, located on Dahlia Street near the Borough building, is the other new restaurant in Palmer. Our first visit to The Red Beet was to hear the Carolina Chocolate Drops, an Old Time southern Bluegrass band. The show was fantastic. The Red Beet's open floor plan, beautiful hardwood floors, and windows that open to a grassy lawn offered a great space to listen to the music. We have since been there for lunch, the atmosphere was cozy and relaxed, yet sophisticated and elegant and the food was equally matched.
Sally Coppenberg the owner and chef of the Red Beet, said for now they are specializing in catered events but are also open for lunch daily. They, like Turkey Red, are committed to whole foods and bold flavors. They offer one $11 lunch item daily, with a vegetarian option, too. In addition to the main dining area, they also have a private dining area on the main floor, and upstairs offers additional dining space for larger parties.
Both restaurants are committed to offering seasonal, local, and wild harvested foods and a dining experience much different from other eateries in Palmer.
As a Palmer resident who likes someone else to make dinner and do the dishes once in a while, I am very thankful that Alex and Sally have created two dynamic dining experiences in Palmer. I applaud them both for their commitment to preparing “real” and healthy foods that taste great.