There, under the guidance of Friend and cook Fay Carrol, they spent four hard-working years mastering the ever-elusive art of home-style cooking, while learning the idiosyncrasies of catering to the public. (An undertaking not for the weak minded or faint of heart) They worked eighteen hour days, seven days a week, often sleeping on the basement floor of the restaurant, except of course whenever it was flooded, and walked 40 miles uphill in the snow to get to work everyday. Or so the story grows…In all truth, they lived and breathed their business into existence.
Maintenance problems were common in those days, but always addressed as quickly and efficiently as possible. When the heat quit working, employee would wear bunny boots. When the roof leaked, string was used to draw the water into buckets. (To the delight of the younger diners, you could often find a goldfish swimming in one of these buckets) Duct tape was an essential tool. It could be used to hold furniture together, cover broken windows and patch damaged walls. There was rarely a problem that couldn’t be fixed with a little ingenuity and couple rolls of tape!
Bills background in heavy equipment made him the obvious choice for kitchen duty. (Well, where else could we have put him??) There he grappled with all sorts of complicated gadgets from bread dough mixers to meat slicers! Amazingly enough, with minimal injury to himself and others, he eventually conquered this unfamiliar venue. Before long he was basking in praise for his wonderful pies, gravies, soups and other such kitchen creations that the Noisy Goose is still known for today.
With Glenda’s twenty years of experience waiting tables, she was a natural at bringing the customers. Intuitively, she knew how to create a fun, friendly environment with great service and what she hoped to be good food. (With Bill behind the window, she could never be too sure!” Eventually, she had her hand in all aspects of the business, and soon established herself a master at turning nothing special into something wonderful.
During those years, they somehow managed to evade the ever-present promise of calamity. This due, in part, to their own perseverance and in greater part to the faithful locals who would often correct, criticize and complain, but who always came back for more.
After four years of exhaustive training, on the frontier, they began to earn the respect and love of the community. Though they earned no certificates or degrees to hang on the wall you will more often, than not, find yourself waiting in the long lines that still, to this day, attest to their hard work and dedication.
So finally, at risk to all they had accomplished, they packed up their business, employees, duct tape and string and moved to their new and present location. Here they opened their doors on February 14, 1989 as the Colony Kitchen. It was a leap of faith without a parachute. This time thought, they came with experience and more importantly a following of customers! The community had not forgotten them and the faithful locals remained just that; faithful.
Today we call them our “bad boys”. Many are still with us from the original frontier days, some have gone on ahead and others have come along since. All are loved and appreciated if not just a little bit spoiled. They’re on their own time, like things their own way and pretty much get what they want. They’re also the first to come running in times of trouble and the last ones still laughing at their own silly jokes. Without them the Noise Goose would be a whole lot less noisy and not nearly so much fun.
Customers have always been the heart of the business; whether it is the bad boys and their exploits, drop-ins from out of town, busloads of hungry teenagers, droves of tourists with all their maps, cameras and complicated questions, or our local regulars who keep us sane and never let things get too serious. They are the rhythm of the restaurant and we have enjoyed getting to know them all.
Employees at the Goose are a high-spirited, fun-loving group. You can always expect quality service and excellent food, but remember to allow for a little playfulness too. Occasionally you may see them falling up the stairs, dropping plate-loads of food or having head-on collisions with one another. This, of course, is done solely for the entertainment of our guests and suitable applause would be greatly appreciated.
On rare occasions at the Goose, you may find your food to be taking a little longer than you’d like or perhaps your waitress to be less than prompt. At this time, it would be appropriate to launch the customer distress signal. Choose someone in your group to stand on the table, flap their arms like a goose and make loud honking noises. This will alert the staff to your situation and bring immediate response. We can at that point, bring your food to you half-cooked, or let you choose something else from one of the tables nearest you. If you opt not to use the customer distress signal, please remember that all our food is cooked to order and mistakes are always intentional.
Of course there are other ways to communicate your needs at the Goose. For example; if you wave your coffee cup in the air, we will know that it is in your way and send a hostess right over to remove it. If your children are wandering freely about the restaurant, we will know you’ve decided to put them up for adoption and promptly enter them in our work study program. If you are using a cell phone when the waitress comes to take your order, we will know you are a very important person who does not wish to be bothered and will move on to our other less-important customers who do want our attention.
Please note also, that should you choose to sit at a dirty table, we may not recognize you as a new customer, under which circumstances you will need to launch into the customer distress signal mentioned above. If after several minutes of arm flapping and loud honking your needs are not met, you should immediately evacuate the area, allowing staff members time to suitably prepare the table for you.
The menu at the Noisy Goose Café consists mostly of traditional home-style meals that are always available any time of the day. Our cooks also create many different enticing specials to mix things up a bit. If you visit us on Sunday, you can enjoy prime rib for breakfast, lunch or dinner, cooked just the way you like it. Be prepared for a bit a wait though, as the after church crowds can create quite a waiting line! If you can wait patiently, it will be well worth your while.
Our lines are usually managed quite efficiently by one of our lovely hostesses. You may notice they seem young and easily intimidated. Please do not be fooled. These girls are all black belts in chi chou chun!! Intimidation will not get you seated any sooner, so please be considerate of their feelings and remember, its not to our benefit to leave you standing in the doorway.
If you feel you have been left standing unfairly and for too long, once again this would be the appropriate time to launch the customer distress signal. In this case though, you will want to hover closely over the table of your choice, begin flapping your arms wildly like a goose and making loud honking noises. At this time a staff member will quickly come to remove the occupants, and you may seat yourselves, and enjoy the remainder of the meals.
In recent years the Colony Kitchen has come to be known as The Noisy Goose Café. This byline was added to help eliminate confusion caused by other similarly named restaurants in the area. It has also proven to be a much more fitting name. You need only come once to find out why. The Goose has become a gathering place for many people in the community, and the chatting is never reserved to individual groups. Many people talk across the room and move from table to table visiting with each other. Of course never to be outdone, the employees contribute their fair share to the noise too. Most of our customers enjoy the relaxed, comfortable, family atmosphere. However, for those who find the noise level to excessive, earmuffs can be made available.
As you may well guess, our years at the Goose have been fraught with laughter, disaster and all kinds of craziness. One incident thought, has a place all its own in our history; The case of the missing toilet. It was a day like any other, until someone noticed water coming from the men’s room. On closer inspection it was discovered that one of the toilets had been stolen!! The entire toilet had been disconnected, removed and carried out of the restaurant in the middle of our afternoon rush. Strangely enough no-one saw a thing. To this day it remains a mystery, and we are always on the look out for suspicious looking, toilet taking, suspects. If anyone has any information regarding this incident, we would ask you not to come forward at this time, as it is way more fun coming up with our own conclusions.
We hope that you have enjoyed your visit with us, and will join us again soon. Take time to look around before you go and you will probably find a sign that either fits you or someone you know. If not, just as one of the waitresses, she will undoubtedly be able to assign one to you.
It has been our privilege and honor to serve the people of the Matanuska Valley as well as the many visitors who come here. We greatly look forward to all the years and stories yet to come and friendships yet to be made.
On behalf of Bill and Glenda Nafus and all of us here at The Noisy Goose; Thank you!!
A little about Noisy Goose Cafe
The legacy of the “Noisy Goose Café” is one born under the threat of imminent disaster. It began in 1985 when aspiring entrepreneurs, Bill and Glenda Nafus, leased out the Frontier Café in downtown Palmer.