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.