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Who's the master?

Longtime friends cook up new business

Posted: Thursday, April 21, 2005

 

  Alexandra Robinson displays a selection of donuts from the drive-up window at Foget About It in Kenai. Photo by M. Scott Moon

Alexandra Robinson displays a selection of donuts from the drive-up window at Foget About It in Kenai.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Russ Robinson, an East Coast native, comes from a long line of doughnut makers. Ron Epperson has spent years behind his personal grill searing burgers, chicken and other foods to his liking.

For years, these longtime friends have been cooking up dreams and plans to start a business of their own.

Last week marked the grand opening of Foget About It, 419 B Frontage Road, a joint venture between two pals aimed at providing the community with squishy doughnuts, burgers and Coney Island hot dogs.

"No garbage, no games, no fooling around," Robinson said of his new venture as he scurried to the fryer to tend to some hot rolls.

He said all of their ingredients are top notch. To illustrate this point, he said a load of sample hot dogs were received that were not what they were looking for.

Because they did not meet their standards, the food destined for the mouths of hungry customers ended up somewhere else.

Robinson said he and his partner want quality food, even if it means getting tomatoes from California.

To prove he means business about quality, Robinson flaunts his East Coast origin, accentuating the accent and tastefully using loud humor to charm his clients while he smears frosting on top of cinnamon rolls.

The accent even permeates the name of the business, which is written to emulate the East Coast accent.

Epperson and Robinson have been friends for 15 years. It started when Robinson, who was having troubles with his ex-wife, packed up his truck and children to travel Outside. But the truck needed to be fixed first.

Epperson, who was an auto mechanic in his previous career, worked on Robinson's car.

When Robinson returned to Alaska he went back to Epperson with other vehicle questions and they ended up becoming friends.

Over the years they have cultivated a friendship and now enjoy operating Foget About It.

Epperson said he wanted to start the business to try something new and get out of the auto mechanic business.

Most of the baking is done by Robinson, whose father — and father's father — owned a wholesale doughnut shop in Boston.

"My father had the largest wholesale doughnut shop in New England," he said. "I've been baking doughnuts since I was literally a child. Nobody can make better doughnuts — end of story."

Robinson defers to Epperson, "the grill master," to handle most of the meat, although everybody can handle all of the food preparation.

"That's what he calls me," Epperson said.

Robinson responded, "hail grill master."

Everybody at Foget About It is a master of something. Russell Robinson, Russ Robinson's son, said he is the french fry master.

And his daughter Alexandra?

"I'm the master in general," she said.

Russ Robinson said he hopes the store is only one of what will become many. He said he and his partner hope to expand the business with shops in Homer, Anchorage and beyond.



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