The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Heidi Zemach
For The LOG 

Bakery to open in historic train depot


Heidi Zemach | For The LOG

Judy Odhner with some of her delicious cakes and pies at a recent Seward festival.

Seward is getting a new bakery downtown inside the old Alaska Railroad Depot, a national historic landmark near the Alaska SeaLife Center, with unobstructed scenic views of Resurrection Bay and the distant mountains. The depot was recently vacated by the city electric department, which moved into the former library building.

Judy Odhner of Moose Pass is opening Zudi's Bakery there, having leased the facility from the ASLC. She's well known for her delicious cakes and rich deserts, which she bakes for festivals and private occasions, her catering and for teaching culinary arts at Seward High School over the past few years.

The bakery will be open April through December, and at the height of the tourist season will employ about eight people, including Odhner and her friend from Montana, formerly of Moose Pass, who is returning to Alaska and has offered to help manage it. The bakery will offer delicious soups, hot Paninis and cold deli-style sandwiches along with the cakes, pies and other baked goods she is best known for.

The views available of the bay from the countertop will be "just beautiful," Odhner said. Veronica Wilde, a talented Seward High School student, is making all of the ceramic soup bowls and lunch plates for the bakery. Seward Elementary School student Naomi Ifflander is donating art work she created for the walls.

Meanwhile, Odhner and her husband Jan, a carpenter, have been hard at work renovating the inside of the building. As the old train depot, built in 1917, is classified as a historic building its outside will remain just the same, with the addition of storm windows to improve efficiency and signage located off of the building where a sign for the SeaLife Center now stands. The Odhners have pulled up the old carpet. They're painting the walls, putting in new flooring and converting the office space into a kitchen, which will have two double ovens and plenty of refrigeration. Their plan is to retain the antique classic look of the old depot, with 15- to 16-foot high ceilings, walls painted a warm green olive tree color and dark fir wainscoting. There will be nine tables and enough seats to accommodate 36 people, with additional outdoor seating available.

The bakery will also offer Wi-Fi, which is a frequent request of visitors and Alaska SeaLife Center workers who want a place nearby where they can eat and work on their laptops. She, and her husband musician Jan, also hope to offer local live music and he may host music jams there, or on the lawn next to the building.

In the fall, when things are not as busy, Odhner plans to do her catering from there. She hopes to hire Chef Jeffory McLean from the New York Finger Lakes region to teach cooking classes. He might teach a mothers and daughters brunch, or couples cooking during the time he is visiting, while staying at the Odhner's cabin in Moose Pass.

The Odhners have been overwhelmed by unsolicited offers of help and support from friends and neighbors in getting the bakery up and running. In addition to Veronica and Naomi's help with the crockery and artwork, Jim Doepkin, pastor of the Methodist Church has offered assistance in designing a web page. Leigh Ray has offered to help them lay in their new floor and organize the new kitchen, Juan at Chinooks also has offered to help organize the kitchen, or help in whatever way he can, and other friends have offered to create the flower boxes and do a deep cleaning prior to its opening.

"It's funny how people just have been so supportive," Odhner said. "I think they want to be part of something that is new. They know that we're trying to make a go of this, and they just want to be part of it. Anyway, it's been really great."


Reader Comments


Our Family of Publications Includes:

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2017

Rendered 03/16/2018 16:50