We didn’t get any photos in or around the Talkeetna Roadhouse, and I surely wish we had. Let me start out by saying that I liked this place very much. Anything below that sounds critical of it needs to be taken as kindly meant.
It wouldn’t be wrong to think of Talkeetna Roadhouse as a point of view or state of mind that just incidentally serves very good food and offers lodging, rather than a restaurant or inn. I simply have never seen anything like it, and I doubt I ever will.
The decor is the fairly standard “you’re in Alaska, so we’ll throw a whole bunch of old photos and miscellaneous stuff all over the wall.” I like this. Gives me plenty to look at while waiting for service and food. The food is worth the wait, and the service is discussed below.
It wasn’t obvious to us, but what you’re supposed to do when you go into the Roadhouse is to just find an available chair and sit down. It’s nice to ask the other people at the table if a chair is vacant, but other than that, just find a spot and plop down. At any given table you sit at, people may be at any place in their meals, all the way from nearly finished to waiting to order. If that bothers you, and I don’t see why it would, you’re in the wrong place.
Having achieved seating, you’ll look at menus, which are in a holder at each table. Figure out what you want and then grab – and you might need to actually do this physically – any one of the wandering staff of waiters who pass nearby. If the wait staff here have assigned sections, it wasn’t obvious to us. The way it looked to us is that they just floated about, taking care of customers they encountered along the way. This seems to work, and I can’t see how or why. I’m probably missing something.
A nomadic waiter passed near us, and we placed our order. We both got something called a “chili rudy” which is a reindeer sausage baked in some sort of potato dough and covered with chili after it comes out of the oven. It was good!
We followed that up with a piece of blubarb pie. A piece of pie each, not the wacky thing that restaurants seem to expect nowadays where people split desserts. I suppose we’re odd, but although we often split entrees, there’s no way we split desserts. A person has to have some standards. Okay. Back to the point. The chili rudy was good, but the blubarb pie was spectacular. It was what it sounds like – blueberry rhubarb. This is a wonderful idea that I wish I’d thought of years ago. You could taste both the blueberries and the rhubarb. It wasn’t too sweet, and it wasn’t too tart. Crust was good.
Another thing to note about the Talkeetna Roadhouse is that your waiter may or may not give you a ticket. One batch of our table-mates didn’t get one and asked a roving waiter about it. He said something to the effect that they didn’t always write one out, just tell the gal at the cash register what you had. This is another thing that must work for them since they stay in business, but again I don’t see how. We got a ticket with the items on it but no prices. That was fine. The gal at the cash register knew what to charge us.
I would definitely go back there again, and I would recommend it to anybody who doesn’t mind sitting with strangers and who’s able to capture the attention of a roving waiter to place their order.