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Don’t confuse it with the national park: the small, Southeast Alaskan community of Wrangell is a very different place than the largest area of protected land in the U.S. (Wrangell-St. Elias National Park). And that’s a good thing! Wrangell, originally called Ḵaachx̱ana.áakʼw by the Tlingit people and later renamed Врангель (“Vrangel'”) by Russian settlers, is a unique spot that doesn’t make the list for most Alaskan travelers – even those on cruises in the Inside Passage.
I’ve been fortunate to visit Wrangell three times during my many Alaska travels: first in 2017 while sailing with Uncruise, then in 2021 with Alaskan Dream Cruises, and finally in 2022 while sailing with Windstar. While I’ve always found myself in Wrangell as part of a cruise itinerary, you can certainly fly there and spend more time – that’s what I’d love to do for my next visit, as there’s lots more to do in Wrangell than I’ve ever seen during just a few hours in port.
Even if you only have a few hours though, you might find yourself a bit hungry while exploring – whether that’s admiring the quirky murals, hitting a hiking trail, or learning about Native Culture at the Wrangell Museum and Shakes Island. Knowing where to eat in Wrangell gives you a chance to get a good taste of the local flavor (literally!).
Below you’ll find a list of all the restaurants in Wrangell, plus bars, bakeries, and coffee spots too. Admittedly, there aren’t many, which is why I went for a comprehensive list instead of a subset of my favorites. I want you to have all the info so you can choose where to go in your own plans – or maybe visit them all if you’re staying a few days (can I come too??). Let’s dive into all your options for where to eat in Wrangell.
In this post, I promote travel to a destination that is the Lingít Aaní (traditional lands) of the Tlingit people. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.
Stikine Inn & Restaurant/Stik Cafe
As mentioned, Wrangell is small – and the list of places to eat in Wrangell is correspondingly small – but there’s one place I feel confident mentioning year-round: the Stik Restaurant & Lounge and the Stik Cafe, both inside the Stikine Inn. I’m pretty sure that while I stood in line to order, there were local chamber of commerce members, families, and visitors all in line too – it draws everyone!
The restaurant menu covers all the bases: soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, etc., as well as a full dinner menu that puts it at the top of my list if you’re looking for somewhere “nice” to go. (I put “nice” in quotes not because it isn’t nice, but because it’s by small-town Alaska standards: you’ll probably still see Carhartts and Xtratufs here even on Valentine’s Day!)
The cafe, on the other hand, covers quicker options, including a full coffee bar, hot and cold breakfast options, and an impressive panini menu for lunch. As you can see, Mr. V and I split an order of biscuits and gravy to accompany our morning coffee. Speaking of that…
Alaskans love their coffee – and that’s how you know I’m still an Alaskan at heart, even if I don’t call The Last Frontier home anymore! My first stop in Wrangell on any trip is the coffee shop; the one closest to the boat dock is Java Junkies, and they have awesome seasonal specialty syrups to make your morning caffeine fix taste uniquely Alaskan.
They also have grab-and-go pastries available to accompany; I’m pretty sure these are made by Sweet Tides Bakery (more on them below!).
As far as opening hours, they’re open most summer days, and then only on cruise ship days after around Labor Day each year (here’s the cruise ship calendar to bookmark if you’re planning a late-season visit).
During our most recent visit (2022), Mr. V and I heard a lot of buzz about one place to eat in Wrangell – Nic’s Place – and it required some logistics to make it happen since they’re so popular during the summer months that they tend to sell out of their pizzas most days!
In the end, I went on an excursion while Mr. V walked around town; he then lined up and brought back a few slices of pizza for me to try once I was back – hence them looking a bit cold in the photo above. I’m pretty sure that’s a half-slice of The Shad (chicken, bacon, red onion, and Asiago-mozzarella mix) and a half-slice of Hawaiian (pineapple and Canadian bacon).
Even if they weren’t fresh from the oven, I can say that Nic’s makes a great pie and I’d love to come back to try a fresh one on our next visit. (You can custom order but they make some specials each day and that’s what I recommend trying!)
Sweet Tides Bakery
I’ll be honest: I was so bummed that Sweet Tides Bakery wasn’t open during my most recent visit; I heard about it after my 2021 visit and wanted to swing in for a sweet treat – but 2022 was still a bit wonky for restaurants and other similar establishments, so their opening hours didn’t overlap with my time in town.
In any case, Sweet Tides is widely regarded as the place for any and all baked goods, whether that’s morning pastries (cinnamon rolls, waffles, scones, oh my!), freshly baked bread (including a killer sourdough), and breakfast/lunch sandwiches (on their own breads, muffins, etc, of course!) for heartier fare. They’ve also done bowls on occasion, which look great but don’t give you the chance to try their specialty baked breads!
Sweet Tides is definitely at the top of my list for early-day fare on my next Wrangell visit.
Hungry Beaver Pizza/Marine Bar
As mentioned, I’ve been to Wrangell thrice: in 2017, in 2021, and again in 2022; on that first trip, the only spot my friend Marissa and I could find open during our downtime to explore was Marine Bar, which is also (now) home to Hungry Beaver Pizza… Yes, there are two pizza places in Wrangell, and they’re both popular!
This is also an essential stop if you’re looking for a local watering hole; as the name suggests, this is a popular hangout for the guys who work in the shipyard and you can probably have a few interesting conversations if you visit at a busier time than when we did.
Michelle’s Taste of Asia
I’ve gotta admit, I’m so proud of Wrangell for being home to a resaturant like Michelle’s Taste of Asia. For such a small community, it’s heartening to see that there’s variety beyond the American classics.
If you’re looking for far flung flavors, Michelle’s is the place: despite Google classifying the restauarnt as Malaysian, the menu is Pan-Asian and features everything from poke bowls to Thai-style curry to sesame chicken to hand-rolled sushi. I even spotted bao as one of the recent specials, which is one of my favorite dim sum dishes. (There are also more traditional options like burgers, hot dogs, and chili from time to time.)
There is a set menu, though I can’t find it online so just roll the dice to head in and try something new instead.
Other Places to Eat in Wrangell
Going a bit further down the list of options for where to eat in Wrangell, there are a few eating and drinking establishments I want to mention – but I haven’t personally been to these three spots and am less certain about them. Nevertheless, I want to include them so you have a full picture of every option you have:
- Zak’s Cafe – While it wasn’t open during my last visit due to the operating hours they had that year, Zak’s Cafe has a loyal following of locals and offers what is probably the widest variety of options on their menu. They offer soups, salads, wraps, sandwiches, and burgers for lunch, plus a dinner menu of finer fare; it’s where a decent alternative to the Stikine Inn for a nicer meal or special occasion.
- J&W’s Fast Food – Open only for lunch, J&W’s Fast Food does what its name suggests: quick and easy options for a midday meal, including burgers and sandwiches, plus a few side and salad options.
- Totem Bar & Liquor Store – While your options for local watering holes are limited, you do have options for local bars in Wrangell. I’ve already covered Marine Bar, and Totem Bar is your other option. They haven’t updated their Facebook page since 2013 and don’t have a website, but don’t let that deter you from peeking behind the windowless facade; inside you’ll probably find a colorful spot where locals warm up after long days of work in the shipyard or being out on the water.
Have any questions about where to eat in Wrangell or which of these restaurants will best fit your travel plans? Let me know in the comments below!
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