From casual to haute cuisine and cold, locally brewed beer, Skagway is home to a vibrant culinary scene. Visitors will find unique Alaskan possibilities (especially seafood), as well as a few international options.
Here are 11 things you need to eat and drink in Skagway:
From fresh halibut and Alaskan king crab to clam chowder and crab cakes, Skagway Fish Co. (210 Congressway Avenue) is the place to head. It’s right next to the pier and tends to fill up quickly. Outside seating is a treat in itself because you’ll have beautiful views of the pier with local fishing boats and your cruise ship. The locals say the tasty halibut tacos are a don’t miss!
A former brothel, the historic Red Onion Saloon (205 Broadway Street) has a full menu featuring sandwiches, Gold Rush Chili and more, but it’s the pizza that’s both crispy and chewy that keeps first-timers and veteran visitors coming back for another bite. Our favorites include Plain Jane (marinara sauce and mozzarella), Shady Lady (BBQ sauce, chicken, red onions, cheddar and mozzarella) and Klondike Kate (pesto, red onions, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, caramelized onions, mozzarella and feta). There's typically a long line for lunch so try to get there early. Tour the museum upstairs while you are waiting for your table.
Wash down your personal pizza with one of the draft beers from Juneau’s Alaskan Brewing Company or a specialty cocktail like Northern Lights, made with Anchorage’s Truuli Peak vodka.
Bonus: Save time for one of the regularly scheduled tours with a Red Onion “Madame.” At 10 dollars for 20 minutes, she’s only gonna talk to you, but you do get a souvenir garter.
Klondike Doughboy (326 Third Avenue) is the hotspot for Alaska fry bread. It’s similar to what you would get at a local fair and probably call it elephant ears or fried dough (depending on where you grew up). The freshly fried dough rounds sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar are top-sellers at Klondike Doughboy. They also carry other Alaskan items, from caribou and reindeer jerky to potholders and cookbooks.
If you’re looking for creative Thai fare with unique Alaskan ingredients and influences, head to Starfire (Fourth and Spring Street) for lunch. It might seem odd to have Thai food on a must-eat list in Skagway, but it would be a shame not to include it. Their mouthwatering lunch menu includes their popular pad Thai with shrimp. It’s really a treat for your taste buds and nothing feels better after a long day of exploring in misty and chilly weather than having something warm (in temperature and spice), flavorful and filling. If you want to try something made with local fish, order the red curry sockeye salmon.
Skagway Brewing Co. (Seventh and Broadway) was originally established way back in 1897 to brew beer for thirsty prospectors during the Klondike Gold Rush. It eventually closed its doors in 1904 due to the decline of the gold rush fervor and the support of prohibition. The brewery has now been running since 2007, serving fresh beer to thirsty locals and visitors in the know.
The award-winning ales are unfiltered and are made with pure, untreated Alaska water. Five staple ales are always on tap: Spruce Tip Ale (using handpicked Sitka spruce tip buds), Prospector Pale, Chilkoot Trail IPA, Boom Town Brown and Blue Top Porter; seasonals such as Oosik Stout and Klondike Gold are available on occasion. There’s also elevated pub grub, with Brew Co. beer chili, halibut fish and chips, and popular Alaska sockeye salmon or halibut sandwiches.
Located in the historic Skagway Inn, Olivia’s Bistro (655 Broadway) focuses on authentic Alaskan cuisine, with lots of local fare from the land and the sea, including various preparations of halibut, Bering Sea crab legs and more. The caribou medallions are a must-try — and not just because they’re wrapped in bacon. Two free-range caribou medallions from Alaska’s Indian Valley are wrapped in bacon, topped with blue-cheese butter and served with a Yukon gold potato-parsnip purée and steamed seasonal vegetables.
Ice-cold smoothies in Alaska? Why not! Glacial Smoothies and Espresso (336 Third Avenue) serves up delicious fresh-blended signature smoothies, including Summer Solstice (banana, strawberry and orange juice); Cabin Fever (peanut butter, chocolate and banana); and the Tanner Special (raspberry, mango and banana). The menu also includes breakfast favorites, specialty sandwiches, fresh baked goods, and lots of hot and cold caffeinated and decaf beverages. Sometimes it can be difficult to find healthy food options while on vacation and this place is exactly that.
Lil Log Cabin Bakery & Delicatessen (2017 State Street) has sweet treats, fresh breads and creative sandwiches, but the house specialty is the AK crab roll. It’s fresh, seasonal Alaskan crab chopped up and tossed with mayo, celery, onion and spices, served with lettuce on a scratch-made hoagie roll. Lil Log Cabin also serves Laughing Raven Roasters coffee, the only coffee roasted in Skagway.
The lines at Lemon Rosfe Bakery (Fifth and State Street) can sometimes be long, but the huge cinnamon rolls with “glaciers” of icing are definitely worth the wait. It’s a fully stocked bakery so you can pick up any kind of baked goods, from bagels and pies to fresh breads and sandwiches. And you can’t help but the love the sign that’s above the door reading, “Lord, please bless the buns that pass through these doors.”
BBQ Shack is a hidden gem (literally and figuratively). Located inside the Skagway Bazaar building (off Broadway between Fifth and Sixth avenues), it’s not the type of cuisine you would expect to find in Skagway. Order the barbecue pork sandwich and let the pork almost melt in your mouth. The flavors are unique, with a bit of spicy, a bit of smoked and a bit of sweet. If you’re not sure what to order, the owner, Bob Gibson, is always thrilled to explain what the meats are and what they taste like (no matter what kind of line there is). This place is far from fancy, and that adds to its authentic, laid-back feeling. Grab a seat in the rustic courtyard or the old-time dining room and Bob will bring your food out to you. If you’re looking for something Alaskan-specific to try, consider something with elk or caribou, like caribou chili.
Poppies Restaurant (1.5 Mile Klondike Highway) at Jewell Gardens and Garden City Glassworks (where you can learn about glassblowing and try it out), has a lunch menu featuring organic ingredients. The plates are beautifully prepared and there’s always a fresh vegetarian soup of the day. But if there's one thing you have to try it's their delicious rhubarb chili. It will definitely warm you up on those cold Alaska days.
What's extra impressive is it looks just like a little cafe no different from any other you'd see but when you walk in, it's like you're walking into a secret garden with the most amazing views.