Just days before Thanksgiving, a new restaurant opened in the Carlin Air building at 1249 Tongass Avenue.
“Skylar’s Table” serves paninis, soups, chowders and deli salads, all prepared by the business’ sole chef, Skylar Hudson.
Hudson and Aretha Hayward opened and manage the restaurant together.
Hudson has years of experience working as a commercial chef with the Alaska Marine Highway system, and Hayward works for Stephen Peters Architects.
Hayward told the Daily News that she hopes the space can be both an eatery and a venue for business meetings and trainings, holiday bazaars, parties, karaoke events, trivia nights and other special occasions. Hayward also plans to sell tours from the building during the visitor season.
In the kitchen, Hudson focuses on preparing food for all types of events.
“I do all the roasts myself,” Hudson said. “Sauces, soups and chowders – they’re all mine.”
Hayward and Hudson want to make “Skylar’s Table” a comfortable place for gatherings of all kinds.
“We don’t want to hold people to such high standards that they’re afraid to enter the door,” Hayward said.
Their decision to open a restaurant together had been a long time in the making.
“I think what it culminated to was we enjoy shopping together, we enjoy eating out together, cooking together – we discovered that our tastes were so similar,” Hayward told the Daily News about the opening.
Hayward was in search for a space to start a different business idea – which did not feature a restaurant – when she heard that the building was becoming available after “The Hangar Café” closed in September.
“This (space) was vacant for not even a month,” Hayward said of the opportunity. “Our restaurant idea jumped in line.”
Hayward and Hudson inspected the space and together began leasing the building, with the intent to possibly purchase the space later on.
“Everything was all in place because it was still quite new,” Hayward said..
Hayward said that everything “aligned” for “Skylar’s Table.”
The leasing of the building fell during the time that Hayward had planned a two-week vacation away from Ketchikan. Unable to cancel her plans, Hayward coordinated from afar with Hudson to develop a business plan and menu ideas.
“We luckily had been thinking about all this in advance, because it fell in our laps,” Hayward explained of the menu’s development, which changed from being focused on breakfast to featuring sandwiches and soups.
The process of getting the venue open was fairly simple, according to Hayward and Hudson.
“Overall, like, in hearing everybody else’s stories, ours was pretty easy compared to what everybody else has to go through,” Hudson said about the opening process.
The only problems that they encountered were small setbacks that required pushing the opening date back by a few days at a time.
“We kept wanting to open but there was the little red tape,” Hayward said.
For now, “Skylar’s Table” will be open year-round, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
“We’re just trying to figure out what the community wants from us,” Hayward said. “Then we’re going to re-evaluate.”