Little Taste of Texas

A drive-through area is seen finished and ready for customers on Tuesday at Little Taste of Texas, which will be open for business on Wednesday. Staff photo by Dustin Safranek

Having been open for about a month, the A Little Taste of Texas BBQ eatery aims to combine Ketchikan charm with classic southern barbecue recipes.

With a menu of meals named for places around the Ketchikan area — such as the Harriet Hunt, Ward Lake, Carlanna Lake and Revilla dishes  — A Little Taste of Texas opened in October.

The eatery is located at 4401 Don King Road, across the road from Walmart.

Co-owners Rebecca Thelen and Victor Martinez decided to open the business as a way to contribute to Ketchikan after being seasonal workers in the community for a few years.

"We were tour guides for three years, working for Holland America Princess and fell in love with Ketchikan," Thelen said during a Monday afternoon interview with the Daily News.

When Thelen and Martinez decided to make the First City their year-round home, the search was on for a way to contribute to the community.

Thelen explained that Martinez is "a Texan and all about barbecue," and they both were missing the barbecue that they enjoyed in the Texas area where they'd worked as truck drivers.

They believed they could provide a service in Ketchikan by introducing some well-loved barbecue recipes.

Thus, the menu for A Little Taste of Texas includes items like brisket, pulled pork and ribs, along with sides such as coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, and potato salad.

Thelen said that the business is open year-round and is focused on providing an authentic barbecue experience in a style that allows for easy eating.

"We haven't gotten quite there yet, but we want to be fast," Thelen said. "We want people to be able to go to lunch and get a good lunch. We're getting there."

The goal, Thelen explained, was to be a one-stop shop for customers to grab a full meal on their lunch breaks or on their way home from work.

As of now, A Little Taste of Texas isn't a sit-down restaurant — transactions are conducted through contactless, drive-up service.

Customers text or call the restaurant ahead of time with an order and can pick it up from the drive-through.

During its first couple of days being operational, Thelen recalled that the business was "flooded" with 100 orders in two hours.

She said that she and Martinez had prepared for "an underestimation of how much Ketchikan loved barbecue."

Thelen also hopes that A Little Taste of Texas is affordable.

"We tried really hard to stay economical," Thelen said.

"Everything's fresh. Literally," she said. "Our meat is never frozen. We do not deep fry anything ... everything is fresh."

In terms of the COVID-19 pandemic, Thelen said she and her staff of about five regular employees are thankful that they have been able to open safely.

"It's definitely been a struggle, but we're very lucky in the way that we designed it kind of matched COVID (mitigation measures)," Thelen said. "We lucked out in that phase."

In the future, Thelen hopes that the business grows and can support a sit-down, family-style service model.

"We want to get involved in the community," Thelen said. "It's tough now, but we're here year-round, we want feedback. We want to be very much (a) positive addition to the community."

A Little Taste of Texas is open Wednesday through Saturday unless otherwise noted.