Kenai River Raven has new owners, new Chef, & new taste delights

Posted: Tuesday, July 05, 2005


  Chef Garry Hanley cooks up Alaska cuisine at the River Raven in Soldotna.

Chef Garry Hanley cooks up Alaska cuisine at the River Raven in Soldotna.

Some people refer to the Kenai River Raven Bed & Breakfast as the Princess Lodge of Soldotna. The River Raven shares a similar setting on the mighty Kenai River and similar rustic log architecture with elegant furnishings. The difference is it's closer to the fish and you don't have to drive to Cooper Landing to enjoy the experience.

In 1998 Dick and Stephanie Erkeneff of Baltimore, Maryland were enjoying the River Raven while fishing in the Kenai River Classic. At that time Dick was the CEO for AAI and United Industries Corp. Having been introduced to the wonders of the Kenai Peninsula, when Dick retired last June he and Stephanie decided to buy the Kenai River Raven and move to Alaska. In the interest of preserving the unique River Raven experience Dick and Stephanie have brought professional chef Garry Hanley to enhance their dining quality and create a new menu. Chef Garry has been cooking professionally for nearly 18 years. He hails originally from Wisconsin and did his culinary training in Baltimore, Maryland. Hanley's first Alaskan experience was in 1994 when he came to work in a fish cannery, "It was something to do as a summertime job and I fell in love with Alaska instantly, especially the seafood around here. Being a chef, I started working with the local catches and totally enjoy cooking with it," said Hanley.

That is exactly where Chef Gary went in creating a new menu for the River Raven, "We wanted an alternative to the usual local dinning in the area so we are specializing in the wild, never frozen, local seafood that is hand picked for us from Homer and Ninilchik exclusively by Deep Creek Custom Packing so we get the freshest and highest quality fish for my specialty recipes," says Hanley. While the River Raven is maintaining their image of a fine dining restaurant another change has been in the prices of their menu selections, "We did a lot of research not only for our new menu, but selections that are competitively priced. We are a very nice fine dining restaurant with top quality food, but our prices are comparable to what you'll find elsewhere on the Peninsula," added Hanley. The River Raven also offers a handpicked selection of wines to accompany Chef Garry's delicacies. Hanley says he enjoys the atmosphere and limited seating at the River Raven which allows him the chance to come out and visit with the guests.

Located just two tenths of a mile down Funny River Road from the K-Beach Road intersection, the Kenai River Raven is the perfect spot for nearby romantic getaways, corporate retreats or fishing vacations, and is open for fine dining Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 6:00pm to 8:00pm through July. Dinner reservations are recommended. For more information about Kenai River Raven Lodge call


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