Alaska Crepe Co. seeks to become Ketchikan staple

Hannah Marr preps a nutella and banana crepe on Friday at Alaska Crepe Company on Mission Street. The company's grand opening was last week. Staff photo by Dustin Safranek

Just as tourists and cruise ship passengers begin to visit Ketchikan, the Alaska Crepe Company has opened its doors at 625 Mission St. for the first time.

The menu includes sweet options – such as the Nutella and banana crepe – and savory choices, such as the prime rib crepe.

The proprietor of the company, Jeremy Yoder, was a marketing executive in Denver before moving to Ketchikan last August. His interest in food began by cooking for his family of six children.

 "It all began, basically, when I wanted to get my family out of the big city life," Yoder said. "Since I got here, I wanted to put down roots." The Alaska Crepe Company has used the idea as a goal for their business.

According to Yoder, the goal of the company is to put down roots in town.

"I've lived in lots of places, and Ketchikan is a great town," Yoder said, "We wanted to be open year-round to be a part of that."

Johnny Bruce, the company's manager, who has settled in Ketchikan after travelling much of the country, said that cooking was a personal passion of his.

Yoder said that the company got a late start, but the business took only four months to become operational.

"It's tough to get a restaurant off the ground as quickly as we did," Yoder said, while Bruce referred to the beginnings of the business as a sprint.

Bruce commented that much of the quick progress made by the Alaska Crepe Company came from Yoder working 12-13 hours a day.

When the shop opened on April 29, the company experienced an overwhelming demand. While Bruce said they "had the supply" to meet the demand, the company's new equipment struggled to quickly produce the number of crepes that were being ordered. They had to turn people away in order to address the issue, which Bruce said was a challenge.

"Those are great problems to have," Bruce said in reference to the volume of customers. "I don't think I've heard anything bad about the crepes."

The Alaska Crepe Company received new equipment and began installing the machines on Tuesday.  

Yoder said the company sources some of its ingredients locally.

The fish that the Alaska Crepe Company uses comes from Fish from Trish, and much of the produce is from local distributers.

The Alaska Crepe Company wants to be accessible and enjoyable to both tourists and locals, giving the crepes a "unique Ketchikan twist."

"Yes, we want to benefit from the tourists. But the tourists aren't the people that we live with day in and day out. We want something that the community enjoys," Yoder said.

The new business has many ambitious goals. The Alaska Crepe Company wants to "keep it interesting," according to Yoder, and "provide a new environment," according to Bruce.

The company plans on adding to its menu. Ideas for events such as crepe contests and open mic nights are already being discussed for local customers in the visitor off-season. Yoder said that the company opened its doors without seating, because they are striving to quickly serve both tourists and locals. He said that by the winter, the restaurant will add stools at the tables to provide a space to "hang out."

The business feels that its crepes and environment are what makes the Alaska Crepe Company unique.

"Crispy and flakiness, that's what I think is a big difference (from other businesses in Ketchikan)," Bruce said. "And of course, the environment. Having a place that's really warm and welcoming."

Yoder said that the business puts its employees first. He cited the "incredible community support" of Ketchikan for much of the business' success.

"There's just no place like it (Ketchikan), in my opinion," Yoder commented. "I (want Ketchikan) to know that we're going to be here. We're going to keep it exciting."