Pioneer Potluck: About Hunger Hut Bar and Elsie's Flaco's

Nikiski, Alaska



A long time ago when Nikiski was called North Kenai in the 60s the Hunger Hut Bar was owned by Frank and Elsie Moore. It was two trailer houses, put together, one for the bar and one for the “backroom” where Elsie cooked on a big stove. It also had sleeping quarters.

The bar was a gathering place for young families just arriving from the “lower 48” who came to socialize and make new friends and meet the old-timers, listen to their stories and advice about living on homesteads, big gardens and living through the winter months. The old timers were glad for the company and the new comers were glad for the advice.

In addition to the barbershop, the tax accountant office, the bar and Elsie’s good food, we learned of the news from “outside” or the “states below.” Single men, dads, brothers, uncles and cousins, learned of work in the area and most of the time they were hired at the Hunger Hut. The kids played outside in the sun and dirt and inside in the rain, and after the rain, in the mud.

They all ate Elsie’s great tasting soups, stews and dinners. You usually ate whatever Elsie cooked that day. When it was time to go home everybody was happy, full of hot food, made a new friend and had a new job. This meeting place for everyone on the North Road, we Nikiski-ites are called North Roaders and very proud of it. We are still called North Roaders.

This is the recipe for Flaco’s because I am often asked for it. I did at one time have Elsie’s recipe written down on a napkin, now forever lost in my treasures! So it is not Elsie’s recipe but I hope close. Linda Laughridge has a different “Elsie’s Recipe” and so do many other people. I suspect that Elsie varied it slightly every time she gave it out! By the way — that is how she spelled FLACO’S — I have seen it spelled many ways.

I helped Elsie fix the flaco’s many times, mostly to help her in the hot kitchen,but I also wanted to learn how to make her famous and most requested meal! She made them by the dozens and dozens and froze them for requests to take home. I am sure most of the friends I have of the late 60s and into the early 70s have taken home a dozen or so of Elsie’s flaco’s just to munch on. I compare them to French fries — you cannot eat just one!

(See recipes:ELSIE’S FLACO’S.)

Hunger Hut, Nikiski, Alaska - 2013

Linda and Gary Superman own the Hunger Hut now. What a nice clean, pretty place it is. They have built a motel, remodeled the bar inside and out and repainted everything. In talking with Linda, I learned that the Hunger Hut was the starting point for the Old-Timers Club, to raise money for Kiddie Day, held at Bishop Creek Bar, owned by Earle Robinson and Jack Nichols.

There were semi-trucks of donated wagons, bicycles and tons of toys and prizes each year donated by various businesses and oil companies on the North Road and in Kenai.

There were shows put on by the ladies dressed in various hilarious outfits, headed by Mary Bonell. At Bishop Creek during Kiddie Days there were egg toss, tug-of-war, obstacle courses, and the ever so funny sack races. Kids had straw in their hair from diving into a stack of straw for hidden money, and wet, usually from being tossed or falling into Bishop Creek. They were also greasy from trying to climb the greased pole or trying to catch the greased pig. Everyone in the community looked forward to Kiddie Days, sadly ending when it got too big to manage and strangers from outlying areas came in crashed and trashed the party.

Frank Moore applied for a liquor license about 1965. Thelma McConnell and Iris Duncan bought it from Frank in 1973, when Frank wanted to move to Big Lake, Alaska and purchased the Playbuoy Lounge on Big Lake, outside of Wasilla. Thelma and Iris sold it to Cuchalk, who ended up shooting his wife and a customer and wounding another. It was closed for several months, then Thelma re-opened it. She bought out Iris and ran the place with delightful tales and sassy wit until her death in 1993. Her daughter Linda and son-in-law Gary and Thelma’s son Tim Stoltz took over and remodeled and built the hotel-motel. It is a very nice improvement to our community.

Elsie's Flaco's

The day before in a large pot:

A large pork roast trimmed of fat

1 onion

1 stalk of celery

Cover with water and simmer until very tender – several hours. Cool in the liquid. Take out meat and save liquid. Dice or (shred) roast into small pieces. Discard onion and celery- return meat to the liquid. Linda dices and browns pork before simmering.

Dice 2 potatoes and add to liquid-meat in pot. (This is an extender and can be omitted)

1 onion small diced

1 to 2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 to 2 tablespoons jalapeno’s diced (optional) do not leave out – use a small amount as this gives it flavor.

1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon garlic salt – and adjust at the end of cooking

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 to 2 tablespoons ground cumin – depends on your taste-but do use it

The liquid in the pot should be about 1 inch above the mixture-add water if necessary. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes until potatoes are tender, adjust garlic salt to taste.


Thicken with either of the following two:

Flour and water or cornstarch and water-it takes different amounts to thicken. Use your own judgment. Start with 2 tablespoons of flour or cornstarch and mix with water to make a pourable liquid into the meat-vegetable mixture. Simmer slowly until thick and clear. Stir often. This has to be chilled completely or over night.


Elsie’s Dipping Sauce

In a large class serving bowl:

1 large can tomato sauce-(28 oz or thereabouts).

Garlic salt to taste start with 1/2 teaspoon

1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon ground cumin-depends on the strength of the cumin and your taste

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

A pinch of oregano

1 teaspoon grated onion

1 teaspoon of lime or lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

A pinch of sugar

1 tablespoon olive oil-I use olive oil – Elsie used vegetable oil.

Stir, cover and chill. This will thicken as it stands. Adjust salt if necessary.


To make the flaco’s

Warm 2 to 4 dozen flour tortillas- 8 inch round-in microwave or on top of the stove as Elsie did. Spread in a row across the tortilla, 1 inch from the top of edge, 1 tablespoon of the cold meat mixture. Roll tightly. Do not tuck end in. These are supposed to be about thumb sized round. Place on a griddle, (I use an electric frying pan) or cast-iron skillet with a slight amount of oil at medium heat. Brown, rolling tortilla so it will be browned all over. You can do several of at once, lining them up in the pan as you make them. Take out of skillet and keep warm. You will have to replace oil in the pan periodically. Sprinkle with a small amount of salt and serve with dipping sauce. Better make a bunch!


The flaco’s freeze very well in one dozen packages. The dipping sauce keeps about two weeks in refrigerator. The instructions are long but by making the filling the day before and cooling and preparing the flaco’s the next day it is not that time-consuming.

Enjoy as much as all of the North Roaders have enjoyed.

Crab Enchiladas

In a mixing bowl combine

2-8 ounce packages of cream cheese

One envelope Ranch salad dressing mix-dry

3 tablespoons milk

Stir until smooth. Take out 3/4 cup and set aside for the topping


In a skillet sauté in 1 tablespoon of butter

I onion diced fine

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 pound imitation crab, cut and shredded

Sauté 1 min. and add:

2 cans sliced black olives-drain

14 ounce can green diced chilies

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

Take off heat and fold in

1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Fold in remaining sour cream mixture. Warm 8 tortillas (8 inch size). Spoon 2/3 cup crab cheese mix down the center of each tortilla. Rollup, place in a oiled 13 x 9 baking dish seam down.


In the 1 1/2 cup of cream cheese mixture stirring and 1/4 cup of milk. Pour over rolled tortillas. Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded cheese. Cover and bake for 25 min. at 350°. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes. Serve topped with green onions diced tomatoes lettuce and sour cream.

Great Easter dish!


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