This journey wasn’t born out of a desire to cook something, it was born out of the desire to EAT something. Living on the Kenai Peninsula comes with limited options for dining to say the least. While painstakingly searching the peninsula for a good gyro, it became apparent that although many establishments offered the traditional greek “sandwich”on their menu, no one was dedicated to producing a great gyro. If you’re as enamored by this savory street food as we are, you’ll understand why this was unacceptable.
So there we were. No options. No gyros. No prospects. No choice.
The Reindeer Hut began in the kitchen. An appropriate location, given our yet unrealized trajectory. It was the day after we first met. We were relaxing in Aarons’ kitchen talking about our thoughts, ideas and plans for the future. I explained my dismay with the current gyro situation and my desire to produce a great gyro for the people of our community. He, being brand new to Alaska, was obsessed with reindeer. He looked me straight in the eye and said ” why don’t you make a reindeer gyro?” I looked at him, told him what a ridiculous idea that was and that it would never work. I then told him that we needed to start working on the recipe immediately.
As the winter raged on, transformed into spring and onwards to summer and fall, we were still tossing this reindeer gyro idea around. We were growing ever more serious about the formation of the establishment. We found a source for reindeer meat and we were regularly making small batches trying to get the seasoning right. While our friends and family were apprehensive, they were also fully supportive. When the opportunity came along to purchase an existing food truck, we took the leap. We found it in Wasilla. It was well built. Nice looking and sturdy. We took it home and gutted it. While we were thrilled that we had the main component of the business, we now had to figure out how to put together a commercial kitchen. Piece of cake.
Price tag sticker shock, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) regulations, DOT, Fire Marshal ordinances, Insurance and business incorporation. Good times.
Buy a food truck they said. It will be fun they said. Okay, nobody said that. Never the less, we were in it. Fully. In It. Neither of us had embarked on such an adventure before, but each of us possessing a very different set of skills was about to pay off. Paperwork in order, we began the “build”. After months of shopping we ordered what we needed and waited patiently for the equipment to make the long journey north. Then we waited some more. Then a little more. Ahhh…. Alaska.
With the formation of the”Hut” a few things needed to be in place. Local Alaskan farmers and organic products. For us, this was key, as we planned to make almost everything from scratch. During the development of our menu, along came the idea of using Alaska Native fry bread instead of flat bread. A dear friend of ours, Josi Hudson, was kind enough to share her family recipe with us. We love you Josi, and you are truly missed! Your family recipe lives on.
We had an incredible second season, and we are grateful to be a part of our local food community. The Reindeer Hut is currently open seasonally from the anticipated dates of April 15th till the end of September. You’ll find us at most local events or at one of our “pop up” locations around the Kenai and Soldotna Area. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates.
We want to thank each our of customers for the amazing support we have received during our second season. We cannot thank you enough! We look forward to seeing and serving you again in 2021. Until then, we hope that you buy local, eat well, and “Get Out of Your Rut”!