I'm new to the "board" here, but no stranger to Brown's or Paradise. Food is excellent...it's a little shabby around the edges but service is generally friendly. Sometimes the place is closed unexpectedly, as a result of either not catching any fish that day, too much wind to go out, etc. etc. This can be frustrating on the one hand, after driving 30-40 miles to get there, but is at once comforting in that we know they're not pulling that whitefish out of a freezer like other places might. Onion rings are first class!
Good that you found the Yukon...an almost iconic part of Newberry. You chose wisely with the Buffalo burger!
We spent the whole of August in the area, in a tent site along the river, tucked back from the road a few miles. Did venture into Newberry past the 18,000+ acre Sleeper Lake fire. The impact viewed from the road is fairly minimal--- some back burning visible for a bit, but this was even beginning to "green up" again by the first of September. There were a few smaller fires during August in the State Park, north of the Falls that made it smoky a bit, and a couple near Hulbert and other areas, but these were contained rather quickly and all was well again.
The Wild Blueberry Festival was another event we attended. On the day we were there, blustery cold winds were buffeting the vendor's tents, and many were closing early, but I know the weather cooperated a bit more for the next couple of days. Wild blueberries were virtually non-existent, but the blueberry buckle and blueberry pie were flowing and were delicious.
PARADISE IN GENERAL-- I have been visiting the area for about 45 years and have seen ups and downs. The reviews posted here for Curley's motel are not surprising, nor does it surprise me that the owners of the one gas station in town have a "family emergency" and can't have anyone fill propane tanks, coincidentally on Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekends when people might really need it. I have made numerous bargains with myself, pulling out of my camp, "I'm sure I could find SOMETHING to cook at the IGA", only to drive the 20 miles to Paradise, and see the same literally rotten melons and corn in the produce cooler that were there 3 days prior when I stopped for a loaf of bread. The only hope then, is to get in the car (as in the case of a propane fill-up) and drive an hour back to Newberry, where there is at least some level of choice.
There are some terrific merchants in Paradise-- Brown's, as I said, seem very friendly. Some of the gift shop owners are pleasant, and certainly the woman who owns the quilt shop goes out of her way to present a welcoming image. The folks at the Yukon hustle the food out, and we have enjoyed BOTH the ice cream places, the one west of town, and the other attached to the red flannel saloon, as we have the service (if not the food) at the Little Falls Restaurant. If you enjoy soap operas on the TV during the mid-day, go into the IGA to catch up, but PLEASE don't interrupt the cashier by waiting in line!
But there has seemed to be a classic "love-hate" relationship between many Paradise merchants and what they perceive as their enemy, the tourist. I've been in retail in a small town, and can understand this. There is often a perception by the shopper he/she has to explain to this unsophisticated rube how the 21st century world works-- that plastic cards can access money, that there is this "thing" called the internet, and that there are places in the world with hot and cold running water and incandescent light bulbs. Meanwhile, the shop owner lives quietly and simply in this beautiful area, probably with a much lower cost of living than the big-city home that the tourist is trying to forget about, (but keeps bringing up as a comparison), and I suppose the merchant sees us "trolls" and our "backwards' ways of thinking as a frustration.
Having said that, please note that I am an EX shop owner. I had the good sense to get out of a line of work that featured this dynamic. More Paradise shop keepers should consider retirement, where they could spend their time avoiding people and getting away with it instead of putting an "Open" sign out and hoping (secretly) that people would just toss money in the door without any further interaction.