A new food truck park is coming to downtown Ketchikan in the spring. The owner hopes the Dock Street Yard will provide a home for food trucks stymied by a lack of space.
Dock Street Yard owner Amber Adams says her passion for good food comes from her roots.
“Being from Louisiana, I say we don’t eat to live — we live to eat,” she said in an interview Wednesday. “We definitely love cooking, we love eating, and anything that’s going to bring more food choices up here, I think is awesome.”
Adams says she moved from New Orleans in July 2019 with her husband, a psychiatrist at Ketchikan’s hospital. She says at first, she dreamed of opening a standalone restaurant serving southern and Cajun food. But she says she wanted to start a little smaller.
“And finally we were like, OK, let’s just start with a food truck. Let’s start small. Let’s start with something that we can handle, a cuisine we can handle in a small space,” she said.
Street tacos came to mind. She bought a trailer. But finding a place to park it was difficult.
“Obviously, they allow food trucks up here, but you cannot be on a public street more than two hours at a time. So it’s a challenge,” she said. “Where do you park your food truck, if you want to serve all day? You don’t want to be moving every two hours.”
That’s when she thought back to a property she’d noticed shortly after arriving in town. The downtown lot, nestled between a sandwich chain and a Chinese restaurant on Dock Street, was up for sale. She started thinking a little bigger than a taco trailer.
“And when we started talking about the food truck and realizing that having a spot was kind of the golden egg more than having the truck, the price had dropped on us again. And I felt like it was just kind of serendipitous. So there we went,” Adams said. “And so we started going, OK, let’s make a big leap, and we can get more than just our truck on here.”
Now, she’s envisioning space for three trucks or trailers on the lot, each with their own menu. She’ll provide utility hookups, plus some seating — covered, of course, here in rainy Ketchikan. The idea is to rent space to other food truck vendors looking for a semi-permanent place to set up year-round.
“We’re going to put the three rental spots down here. It’ll be a small lot, hopefully cute, nice fencing, nice lighting — just a nice, fun place for people to come and eat. And then, at the top, our ultimate goal is we’ll be putting in our own cafe up there,” she said.
Adams says she plans to build a standalone building overlooking the lot to house the cafe. That’ll allow her to serve beer and wine along with things like shrimp and grits, crawfish etouffee, and other southern and Cajun standbys.
“Fried chicken — good, spicy fried chicken. That’s my favorite. With crispy skin,” she said. “Basically, anything that’ll give you diabetes and get you fat, pretty much, we’re very excited to serve.”
That’s a ways off. Adams says she’s currently aiming to open the cafe in late 2023.
In the meantime, she’s planning to rent out the trailer stalls and start serving customers. Nothing is set in stone just yet, but Adams says there’s been some interest.
“We have someone interested in doing poke on the lot, which I think would be fantastic, because we don’t have any of that at any of the restaurants here. So I’m thrilled for that,” she said. “Cheesesteaks, pizza, tacos — we’ve had a lot of people reach out to us, so I’m hoping that we’ll have no problem getting people on here. I mean, it’s a good spot.”
“You want it to become a little local family food lot. So that’s what we’re hoping it’ll be,” she said.
Adams says she’s hoping to have the food truck park open for business on May 1.