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 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 offsite cabins, two historic homes 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.
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.
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.
- 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 - October - April showers are available 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 free summer use by staff, first come/first served basis.
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
- 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.
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.
First & Foremost All staff of the Roadhouse have the official title Roadhouse Worker and may be called upon to assist in the following ways, regardless of job title: wash dishes, answer the phone, tell an unsupervised child not to run in the house, unplug a toilet, fold laundry, vacuum, haul guest luggage, refresh Guest Beverage Area, fill out inventory sheets, check in a food delivery, bus a table, pick up cigarette butts, water flower boxes, peel potatoes, shovel snow from the doorways, greet folks coming in the door, lug the garbage out to the dumpster, pick up guests at the train station, run the hotcake side of the grill, etc. It's simply a roadhouse and we all get a chance to shine in every department.
Expectations We expect you to be: friendly, honest, clean, dependable, sober, self-motivated, good-humored and team focused. You must also be able to: prioritize and organize, maintain a knowledge of all Roadhouse information (menus, policies etc.), follow directions and instructions thoroughly, be a clear thinker, remain calm and be able to resolve problems using rational judgement, work with co-workers as part of a cohesive team with a positive “can do!” attitude.
Responsibilities of a Baker: Basic job duties consist of measuring, mixing, molding, proofing & baking food items (breads, bagels, muffins, cakes, pies, bars, quick breads, quiche, pasties, scones, cinnamon rolls etc.), for the shop as well as for special orders going out the door. Bakers are responsible for quality assurance checks, Daily Production Log entries, recipe development, weekly inventory of bakery supplies as well as implementation of health and safety standards and guidelines. Bakers are also responsible for safely maintaining (and, in an emergency, saving) the Sourdough Bucket. Other tasks: making gravy, hotcake batter, building soups and casseroles, light prep work, assisting the Counter and assist in the training of baker/prep./counter workers as they join the crew. The ability to ‘knee-jerk’ bake (we bake, they buy, we bake more) so that we meet, yet not exceed, demand is very important. Bakers also educate both front-of-the-house staff as well as customers as to what ingredients are used in our baked goods as well as how to care for them.
Requirements: Must be at least 18 years old and in possession of current Food Worker card. Must have working knowledge of stove tops, ranges, ovens, and grills as well as knives, small appliances, and other tools used to prepare food. Must be able to lift 50 pounds. Bakers must work quickly and efficiently and pay extreme attention to health standards and personal hygiene.
Working Conditions: Summers are hot (we're a bakery), winters are cold (it's Alaska). Tight quarters, large and small machinery, hot ovens, cold freezers, coolers, burners, microwaves. Job involves on-the-job training, including visual demonstration and hands-on instruction. Shifts from 6 - 8 hours/day, max. of 5 days/week, overtime upon approval, consecutive days off. Bakers must schedule their own breaks around production schedule.
Breakfast Cook Job Duties: Preparing food orders in timely and accurate manner; operating/cleaning line grill, burners, exhaust hood and screens, line coolers; cleaning work stations; ensuring the use of quality ingredients with first in/first out stock rotation procedures. Responsible for organizing breakfast prep.
Requirements: Must be at least 18 years old and in possession of current Food Worker card. Must have working knowledge of stove tops, ranges, ovens, and grills as well as knives, small appliances, and other tools used to prepare food. Cooks must work quickly and efficiently and pay extreme attention to health standards and personal hygiene.
Working Conditions: Summers are hot (we're a bakery), winters are cold (it's Alaska). Tight quarters, high heat, small and large machinery (commercial dishwasher, commercial toaster, microwave), chemicals (sanitizer, dish machine detergent, rinse additive, Liquid Joy, Orange Force degreaser, Lime-Away). Job involves on-the-job training, including visual demonstration and hands-on instruction. Shifts can be from 8 to 10 hours a day, a maximum of 5 days a week (10 hour days being a flex 4/10 schedule) with overtime upon approval and consecutive days off. Cooks must schedule their own breaks around work load demands.
Cashier Job Duties: Cashier job duties consist of running the front registers and stocking/selling goods out of the bakery cases. Specific duties: greeting guests (“Welcome to the Roadhouse! Have a seat, any empty chair will do, it’s family-style seating. Who would like some coffee?....”); making coffee; assisting bakers in keeping the bakery case items rotated and stocked (icing rolls, scones, transferring casseroles/pasties for service, etc.); filling Not Breakfast orders of soup/quiche/pasty meals; stocking all bakery related paper goods; assisting guests with questions they may have about the community, local events/activities and history of the Roadhouse; answering phones; recording telephone room reservations; complete weekly inventory sheet of Bakery/Waitstaff supplies.
Requirements: Must be at least 16 years old and in possession of current Food Worker card. If 21+ years old must also have a current TAPS card. Cashiers must work quickly and efficiently and exude friendliness and politeness. Working knowledge of managing cash drawers and answering telephones is very important.
Working Conditions: Summers are hot (we're a bakery), winters are cold (it's Alaska). Tight quarters, small and large machinery (commercial dishwasher, coffee grinder, electric sweeper, coffee maker, microwave, toaster), chemicals (sanitizer, dish machine detergent, rinse additive, Liquid Joy, Orange Force degreaser, Lime-Away). Job involves on-the-job training, including visual demonstration and hands-on instruction. Shifts can be from 8 to 10 hours a day, a maximum of 5 days a week (10 hour days being a flex 4/10 schedule) with overtime upon approval and consecutive days off. Cashiers must schedule their own breaks around work load demands.
Responsibilities of a Dishwasher: Basic job duties consist of maintaining a clean and organized dishwashing station, utilizing a commercial chemical dish machine, pre-spray and rinse sink, and triple sink. Used dishes from both front and back of the house come in, are given a quick pre-wash/soak, then sent through the dish machine. Clean and dry items are then restocked into the various places they are stored. The Dishwasher must work quickly, have excellent organizational skills and be graceful with the equipment. The Dishwasher must also be able to pay attention to the pace of the business and be responsive to the needs of the cooks/servers/bakers when items need to be processed.
We often say that the Dishwasher the heart of the whole operation.
Requirements: Must be at least 18 years old and in possession of current Food Worker card. Must have working knowledge of stove tops, ranges, ovens, and grills as well as knives, small appliances, and other tools used to prepare food. Must be able to lift 50 pounds. Dishwashers must work quickly and efficiently and pay extreme attention to health standards and personal hygiene.
Working Conditions: Summers are hot (we're a bakery), winters are cold (it's Alaska). The Dishpit can be loud and wet. Commercial chemical dishwasher, triple sink. Job involves on-the-job training, including visual demonstration and hands-on instruction. Shifts from 6 - 8 hours/day, max. of 5 days/week, overtime upon approval, consecutive days off. Dishwashers must schedule their own breaks around production schedule.
Job Duties & Responsibilities: Expo job duties consist of filling drink and Not Breakfast food orders. Specific duties: keeping coffee and hot water pots filled; greeting guests (“Welcome to the Roadhouse! Have a seat, any empty chair will do, it’s family-style seating. Who would like some coffee?....”); monitoring water levels in soup warmers, stocking cups, glasses (room and cold storage), plates, bowls, filling Not Breakfast orders of soup/quiche/pasty meals; assisting busers with side work (butters/jams/applebutter/syrups); rotating juice and Square Bun ingredients as needed; watering cooks.
Requirements: Must be 21+ years old and have a current TAPS card as well as a FoodWorker card. Must be able to lift up to 40 pounds. Must work quickly and efficiently and pay extreme attention to health standards, personal hygiene the needs of the restaurant.
Working Conditions: Summers are hot (we're a bakery), winters are cold (it's Alaska). Tight quarters, small and large machinery (commercial dishwasher, coffee grinder, electric sweeper, coffee maker, microwave, toaster), chemicals (sanitizer, dish machine detergent, rinse additive, Liquid Joy, Orange Force degreaser, Lime-Away). Job involves on-the-job training, including visual demonstration and hands-on instruction. Shifts can be from 8 to 10 hours a day, a maximum of 5 days a week (10 hour days being a flex 4/10 schedule) with overtime upon approval and consecutive days off. Expos must schedule their own breaks around work load demands.
Job Duties: Housekeepers are responsible for cleaning and maintaining guest rooms, common areas, bathroom facilities and laundry room. Specific duties: cleaning guest rooms (changing sheets, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning mirrors, sanitizing sinks, door knobs and light switches, emptying waste baskets, restocking towels, maps & Event Calendars); tidying up hallways, lounge areas, and other public areas inside and outside of the Roadhouse; cleaning public bathrooms (multiple ‘quick’ sanitize swipes a day includes emptying garbages and sanitizing sinks, door knobs and light switches then a more thorough ‘deep clean’ to include scrubbing showers, toilets, wiping down doors and mopping floors); survey rooms after checkout and take note of any damages or missing items; reconnect left items with the guest to whom they belong; stock shower towels and ‘for sale’ laundry soaps at front register; complete weekly inventory of Housekeeping supplies; launder kitchen rags, bakery napkins and aprons and assuring the kitchen has adequate supplies to start each day.
Requirements: Must be at least 16 years old. Must have working knowledge of the operation of washing machines, dryers, how to unplug a toilet, change a lightbulb and use a vacuum. Must be able to lift up to 50 pounds. Housekeepers must work quickly and efficiently and pay extreme attention to health standards, personal hygiene the needs of our guests.
Working Conditions: Summers are hot (we're a bakery), winters are cold (it's Alaska). Tight quarters, stairs, large and small machinery (commercial washers and dryers and vacuum cleaner), chemicals (sanitizer, laundry detergent, all purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, dryer sheets, Bon Ami). Two of our overnight accommodations are located off-site, requiring the ability to use the three-wheel bike or walk. Must have the ability to lift up to 50 pounds. Job involves on-the-job training, including visual demonstration and hands-on instruction. Shifts can be from 8 to 10 hours a day, a maximum of 5 days a week (10 hour days being a flex 4/10 schedule) with overtime upon approval and consecutive days off. Housekeepers must schedule their own breaks around work load demands.
Responsibilities of a Innkeeper Innkeeper job duties consist of managing the Reservation Desk. Specifically: answering telephone, directing calls for Bakery or Kitchen to those places, handling lodging reservation calls according to procedures; monitoring email and reservation system activity to properly record incoming reservations/cancellations; build room check-out tickets in MICROS system upon guest check-out and check-out departing guests accurately, using the check-out process as a positive marketing tool to create a repeat guest and spread the word of the Roadhouse. Check in guests and provide complete and professional greeting and orientation as outlined in procedures; coordinate with Housekeeping staff to ensure complete and timely flipping of rooms, encouraging team spirit with a positive motivating manner; perform light bookkeeping functions; assist with Family-Style breakfasts, retail sales and other Cashier needs when they arise.
Requirements: Must posses FoodWorker Card and current TAPS (Alcohol Server card). Must have the ability to organize information, communicate directions and direct the housekeeping and kitchen staff to meet the demands of the business. Basic computer skills (working with email, spreadsheets and word documents, both in PC and Mac capacities) is required. Must be self-motivated and able to prioritize set list of daily tasks. Hospitality must be at the core of every action.
How to Apply
If you are in Talkeetna please stop by the Desk and introduce yourself to Trisha, Adrianna or Bobbi. Any of us can introduce you around and start the process of potential employment. Otherwise, please apply online.