ANCHORAGE -

On a wall of pictures at Lucky Wishbone, there is one of Ted Stevens grinning inside the popular restaurant that once marked the far edge of Downtown.

"I don't like politics being in here," said George Brown, the restaurant's longtime owner. "Of course, Senator Stevens, he was my buddy, and he would be in here.

"I don't mind politicians being in here."

Over the years, the city has grown such that the restaurant feels more a part of downtown than its border. But time and again Alaska politicians of all leanings have done their best to stop talking politics for a moment on Election Day, at least long enough to grab lunch at Lucky Wishbone.

Brown recalls when the famous men of the day were the likes of Ted Stevens, Nick Begich, Bill Egan and Wally Hickel.

Maybe it was the lucky name that drew in some, maybe the pan-fried chicken got others, Brown suspects, but there is also a chance to talk with all types of people when in Fairview.

A block from Merrill Field, there is a steady flow of pilots, and plenty of regulars work for oil companies, the railroad and all other types of businesses.

"People of practically all walks of life come in," Brown said. "We're maybe a kind of melting pot. There's a lot to that. Obviously the politicians think maybe along that line also, so that's why they show up here."

This Tuesday, the man who replaced Brown's buddy in the Senate and one of the men who wants his job stopped by for lunch.

"Who knows what's up there," Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) said of the wall of pictures. "Could be a picture of my dad up there, meeting folks here, having lunch.

"It is an interesting kind of full circle."

Begich was flanked by a dozen or so supporters, some of whom were candidates in their own right.

Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, vying for the GOP Senate nomination, stopped by a little after Begich with a staffer and one of his sons.

"It's bad luck if you don't have lunch at the Lucky Wishbone," Treadwell told Brown. "So here I am."

While Begich and Treadwell each have stories of how long their families have enjoyed the restaurant, on Election Day, it is a place for a "great political tradition," Treadwell said.

And it was also a good enough place for a political exchange between the two.

Treadwell had a campaign poster that jabbed Begich on healthcare and called for Alaskans to "dump" the senator.

"Hand-printed," Treadwell told Begich. "You can have that for a keepsake during the election."

Begich laughed as he took the "keepsake," and he got Treadwell to autograph the poster.

"That's how politics works in Alaska," Begich said.

While it may be tempting for Brown to jump in and voice his opinion on the men there, he said it does not matter much if Begich, Treadwell, Joe Miller or Dan Sullivan end up in Washington.

"Whoever does win, it doesn't make a difference," Brown said. "The country can withstand them."