Talkeetna Roadhouse

Talkeetna's View
Talkeetna Roadhouse on Main Street in 'beautiful Downtown Talkeetna'
Bakery Counter
Breakfast Deck
Historic Lodging
Roadhouse & Talkeetna Winter Scene... in wood!
Roadhouse Summer Day
Staff Pie Making Training
Winter Pie Making Class

Be part of Talkeetna's History

Over 100 years on Main Street and operating as a roadhouse since 1944, we're famous for breakfast served at big family-style tables, hearty soups, chili, home-baked breads and genuine frontier hospitality. Our scratch bakery produces daily pies, a variety of cinnamon rolls, cookies, fruit and savory pastries. Nightly lodging in private rooms, hostel-style bunks, cabins and other historic homes.

Talkeetna is located about two-and-a-half hours north of Anchorage by road (60 air miles) and halfway between Anchorage and Denali National Park by road and the Alaska Railroad.

About Talkeetna Roadhouse

The Roadhouse, built around 1917, is one of the oldest establishments still in operation on Main Street in "beautiful downtown Talkeetna."  Our kitchen is open to the public and we've become famous for breakfast (close to 300 covers a day), hearty soups, chili, home-baked breads and genuine frontier hospitality.  Our bakery produces all sorts of treats each day such as pies, a variety of cinnamon rolls (200+ per day), pastries, cookies, cakes, and brownies.  The guest rooms range from private to hostel-style to rustic cabin to the Museum Apartment.  Bathrooms are "down the hall" in typical Roadhouse fashion.  Our tables are big and diners sit family-style, ordering off our Breakfast or Not Breakfast menu.  Our eggs only come scrambled and most portions are offered in Full or Half sizes.  We are truly a ‘home-cooking’ kind of place and the more crowded and louder it gets the more it resembles an honest-to-goodness roadhouse.  And that’s why we do it!

In the peak of the season (May - September) we employ around 45 folks, although we gear up for our summer season by the end of April when the climbers begin coming into town.  Summer schedule runs until the train stops daily service toward the end of September.  Our positions range from line and prep cooks to bussers, dishwashers to bakers, cashiers to innkeepers, housekeepers to waitstaff.  Over the winter we scale back to about 20 folks with average work weeks of 32 hours and cross duties that hit on all the positions.  

The Roadhouse is not a typical restaurant.  We are a Fair Wage/Tip Free establishment, meaning that we've adjusted our prices so we can pay all our staff - Front and Back of the House - a fair, equitable year round wage.  We start folks at an introductory $10 per hour for the first 40 hours.  Based on skill and experience, the Base Wage for any job title is then adjusted to $12.56 - $14.56 per hour.  For every 'year' worked, the wage bumps up $.50, with a four year cap.  Supervisors get a $2 per hour bump and full managers get a $4 bump in wage.  We truly believe that every single position is worth what that person brings in skill, attitude and motivation... whether that person serves a table or washes dishes, bakes cinnamon rolls, cleans toilets or answers phones.  Job assignment alone does not determine rate compensation; skill, length of time with the Roadhouse and willingness to accept more responsibility determines wage.

The Employee Experience

"Come on in... grab a seat, any chair will do!"   

The Roadhouse is not a typical restaurant.  In fact, even though we believe in the quality (and quantity!) of our food, the roadhouse is really about bringing folks together.  Travelers gather from all the world over to squeeze in at our big tables. Sometimes they start off uneasy - sitting next to strangers - then someone on staff asks of someone at the table "Where are you from?"  Next thing you know the roar of the dining room is so loud that it's a challenge to take the food orders. Job well done! Sharing stories with other travelers/locals is the soul of a roadhouse and it's our main job to nurture that relationship. We share a Mark Twain quote on table tents and we really believe in its truth:

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.

"Do people actually STAY here?"   

Our private guest rooms are past and above the dining room and the bathrooms 'down the hall,' all have showers, which many of our diners find amusing.  We also have a cabin just out the back door, one historic home and the old teacher's apartment over the old one-room schoolhouse... all in the core downtown area.  The bulk of our business comes in the form of food and bakery sales, as opposed to room sales, and it's not unusual to hear "do people actually STAY here?" from those who come only to eat.  We pride ourselves on providing year-round roadhouse services (food, lodging, showers, laundry, community gathering space etc) for nearly 75 years running, born out of the original two-story log structure that is over 100 years old and very much part of a disappearing tradition of Alaska roadhouses.   

"This is what I thought Alaska would be like!'    

We hear that comment quite a bit as folks filter past the bakery, into the main log dining room then make their way into the Back Room in search of the bathrooms.  Our walls are full of climbing flags, local artwork, and newspaper clippings; plenty of reading material.   At the end of a long, busy and loud day it is really rewarding to be part of a pretty authentic experience for someone.  For those who have known the Talkeetna Roadhouse their whole lives, it's even more rewarding to be the keeper of the source of their family traditions and memories.  It's never been just about the scrambled eggs.  It's been about people coming together, interacting with each other as they are eating their scrambled eggs. 

Ideal Candidate

Our community is small and our business stature in the community is big.  We're well respected for the work we do and service we provide year round and we expect staff to be great ambassadors of 'frontier hospitality' both on and off the clock in the community.  

We expect you to be friendly, honest, interested, team-oriented, clean, dependable, drug-free, able to take direction, willing to be challenged and fun to be around.  We, in turn, promise to be the same, aiming to be a better version of ourselves with every new day.  Checks will go out on time, the work environment will be safe and stable, you’ll be supported by every position.

We understand how intoxicating our little community can be.  There's that big mountain looming over town with all its magical power (climbers come from all over the world to climb).  Three salmon filled glacial rivers run past the end of Main Street.  The sun does not really set for most of the summer. Crowds of young folks from all over the world come to either visit or stay to work, bringing an opportunity to make new friends and have loads of fun.  Operating a roadhouse - feeding a few hundred folks breakfast each morning, flipping 28 beds a day, servicing four public bathrooms that are in constant use, baking-frosting-plating-bagging 200+ cinnamon rolls (and all the other bakery goodies) each day, maintaining a 100+-year-old log building  - well...there's lots of work. Over the years it's been easy to see the summer pace overwhelm people.  Staff are encouraged to be realistic about workloads/commitments versus what they want to accomplish as seasonal residents of such a beautiful area.  We strongly believe in consecutive days off and set schedules so staff can plan ahead for their weekends.  Tired and sick staff make for a stressful work environment.  Iron immune systems, good eating/sleeping habits, comfortable footwear and a really delightful outlook on life are some qualities that will benefit you... either at the Roadhouse or wherever you go.  For many reasons we prefer non-smokers.  

We recently received an email from a past summer staffer, a fellow from Bulgaria who - despite his shaky handle on the English language - we put into the challenging Expo position:

"... I am extremely grateful for everything you gave me, like the way you guys treat me, experience, chance to work for you and be one of your team.  During the summer you have become a priority for me.  I wish you to develop and grow more and more and also every season to be more successful than the previous one.  Wherever I go, with whom I speak for Roadhouse it will be only compliments for you and your place.  I appreciate everything you guys have done for me. Thank you!"

The gratitude is really ours.  Truly.

Room and Board

Housing in Talkeetna can be very difficult to secure.  We have limited housing in the form of a two-room mobile home and additional trailers, located about four blocks from the Roadhouse.  Rent amounts for our spaces vary depending on occupancy. 

Staff is offered free use of the shower facilities at the Roadhouse, daily 2pm - 7pm in the summer and 8am - 8pm in the winter.

We do recommend  Talkeetna Hideaway as a long-term rental option and it is within walking/biking distance of downtown.  KTNA often has a current listing of available rentals within the area and it is possible to post a Classified on their page if you are looking for housing. 

We do not recommend camping due to bear activity, security and lack of shower and trash services.

Employee Perks

  • Family & Friends Discount - If family or friends of Roadhouse staff are coming to Talkeetna for a visit and they will need a place to stay, the Roadhouse offers these folks a 20% discount on the normal room rates, taxes still apply.
  • Showers - free of charge. From May through September the hours are limited to pre-opening and post-closing time as well as the ‘public’ hours: 2pm - 7pm.  
  • FAM (Familiarization Tour) Activities - Flightseeing, dog kennel tours, hiking, rafting, zip-lining, and jet boat tours are just some activities offered complimentary or for a discounted fee to staff on a space available basis by our many local outfitters.  As an employee of the Roadhouse you are encouraged to take advantage of these exciting tours early in the season - on your time off - so you will be able to share your thrilling experiences with the guests you come in contact with over the summer.  
  • Food & Retail Purchase - Staff may purchase food or retail items such as canned goods, fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, grains, mugs, books, magnets etc. at a rate 3% over Roadhouse cost.  Staff may purchase prepared meals and most bakery items for themselves at 40% off.  Coffee/Tea/Soda is complimentary on or off the clock.
  • Bicycle Loans - The Roadhouse has a small inventory of bicycles for summer use by staff, first come/first served basis.  We collect - then reimburse - a $100 deposit on the bikes and we provide locks.

Getting Here and Getting Around

Talkeetna is a very walkable community.  In the core downtown area (about three by four blocks) there is...

  • Post Office
  • Pizza Place
  • Brewery/Brewpub
  • Museum
  • Nagley's Store
  • Two ATM machines
  • a handful of shops and eateries

A little further out, 1 - 5 miles...

  • Public Library
  • State airport
  • Talkeetna Lakes Park

And 14 miles away out at the junction of the Spur Road and Parks Highway (Hwy. 3)...

  • Health Clinic
  • Credit Union
  • Hardware Store
  • Grocery Store
  • Senior Center (Senior Lunch on Tuesdays)
  • Payo's Thai Food Trailer
  • Denali Brewery Tasting Room

There is a shuttle service operated by Sunshine Transit that provides service all along the Talkeetna Spur Road nearly hourly, 6 days a week.  They also offer service all the way down to Wasilla, a community of approximately 30,000 with plenty of box stores and franchise businesses to fill the need from time to time (and movie theater).

Anchorage is a 2.5-hour drive from Talkeetna, about a 3.5-hour train ride.  Employees of the Roadhouse can benefit from discounted train tickets.  We encourage staff to arrive and depart via train and we offer to pick up and drop off at the Talkeetna Depot.

We have a small inventory of bicycles for free summer loan to Roadhouse staff, on a first come/first served basis.  Bikes are a great way to navigate through the community; there is a paved bike path along the entire length of the Talkeetna Spur Road.

A private vehicle would come in handy for the occasional trip to Anchorage or weekend trips to Denali State or National Park as well as other communities.  Please note that most destinations are quite a ways away and necessitate long weekends in order to fully explore and enjoy.  

For Fun

The town of Talkeetna itself is considered one of the most popular communities in Alaska.  We're small - about 900 year round residents - and the town is at the very end of a 14 mile spur road off the main highway. Our three block Main Street can be a lazy, walkable stroll in the summer...great to ski on in winter... and ends where three rivers meet.  The town is a popular destination for flight seeing tours of Denali, fishing, jet boat/raft/kayak adventures on the local rivers, zip lining, mountain biking and guided hiking.  In addition:

  • KTNA 88.9 is our local downtown radio station, volunteer DJs and Newsreaders always welcome
  • Sunshine Transit offers regular shuttle service up and down the Spur Road to the grocery/bank
  • The Alaska Range is visible from the end of Main Street... one of the most spectacular views!  Both K2 Aviation and Talkeetna Air Taxi have WebCams trained on the mountain.
  • Sunshine Community Health Center is our local health clinic 
  • Denali Arts Council hosts a variety of arts events and has many volunteer opportunities 
  • Alaska Railroad comes through Talkeetna with daily stops in the summer
  • Talkeetna Lakes Park has a 5 kilometer dedicated hiking/biking trail for summer and more kilometers of groomed ski trails in winter
  • Live music scene: weekly outdoor concert in the Village park in the summer; bands year round at the Fairview Inn
  • Alaska Mountaineering School offers courses on glacier trekking and other mountaineering courses.
  • Talkeetna Historical Society maintains a museum, offers interpretive programs and volunteer opportunities.
  • Birch Creek Ranch offers a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) opportunity and there are two farmers markets that run through the summer
  • People come to learn to fly ski and float planes at Alaska Floats and Skis
  • Some people come and make it their home for years.

We post a Note on our Talkeetna Roadhouse Facebook page every week that lists a complete Calendar of Events  both at the Roadhouse and within the community.  We also have that list up on our website.

How to Apply

If you are in Talkeetna please stop by the Desk and introduce yourself.  Any of us can introduce you around and start the process of potential employment. Otherwise, please apply online.

Contact Talkeetna Roadhouse