Last week’s column asking readers to help former Wenatchee resident Thalia Landers track down the recipe for the baked-potato butter topping the Chieftain restaurant served taught me two things: People love to help others … and they loved the Chieftain.
More than 20 people contacted me after seeing the column, some by email and the rest by phone. Several people told me they didn’t know the recipe, but would be happy to contact someone they know who worked in the Chieftain kitchen.
The first person to email me was Wenatchee World photo editor Don Seabrook, who shared the little-known fact that during high school he worked as a chef’s helper at the Chieftain before he started processing film in the darkroom at The World.
A few people told me they were more interested in knowing the recipe for the small loaf of apple bread the Chieftain served with each meal. One person wanted the recipe for the Green Feather drink the Chieftain bar served up.
Kris Whiteman Holtz Anderson of Chelan was one of those who contacted me. Her parents, Jack and Vivian Whiteman, were the original owners of the Chieftain restaurant when it opened in 1961. For the unfamiliar, the Chieftain restaurant was situated in the courtyard area of the Chieftain motel on North Wenatchee Avenue, where the GESA Credit Union is today. The restaurant, along with its Pow Wow Room bar, was a popular hotspot in the 1960s, ’70s and into the ’80s. The Midnight Raid had a legion of loyal followers who would show up for a late/early meal at a great price. The Chieftain restaurant and motel closed in the mid-1990s, although a newer hotel with the same name still operates next door.
Kris was kind enough to share the original recipe that chef Rich Kyle used when the Chieftain opened. It calls for whipping together 5 pounds of butter, 1 pound of cooked bacon bits, 2 bunches of green onions and four pints of sour cream.
Of course, that will generate enough butter to feed a restaurant full of people. You’ll have to modify to generate the right amount of butter for you and your family.
Now, here’s where it gets a little more interesting. I received emails or phone calls with several different versions of that recipe. All but one call for a combination of butter, sour cream and bacon; some substitute chives or fresh parsley in place of the green onion. One recipe, from former Chieftain chef Kim Walker, leaves out the sour cream. Here’s what Kim said:
“There’s really no recipe. We just whipped the living daylights out of real butter, and added real bacon bits and chives to the butter. That was it. We didn’t add anything else.”
Thanks to all who either phoned or emailed me with the recipe or tips on how to get ahold of the recipe. I appreciate it.
And for those interested in knowing the Chieftain’s Apple Bread recipe — I found a recipe online that claims to be the old Chieftain recipe. Email me at email@example.com and I’ll be happy to send you the link.