Talkeetna  has turned into quite the spot for good inexpensive food, a definite rarity on the Alaska road system. Most places are downtown, so you can just walk a block or so to see what appeals.
At Talkeetna Roadhouse (907/733-1351, www.talkeetnaroadhouse.com , $8–12) excellent breakfasts start at 7 a.m., and late risers can still get breakfast until 3 p.m. when the restaurant closes. The chalkboard menu lists lasagna, sandwiches on homemade bread, salads, and soups, or choose one of their Paul Bunyan–size cinnamon rolls. Long tables make for fun family-style dining with crowds of locals and visitors.
New, and already gaining a big reputation, Twister Creek Restaurant (907/733-2537, www.denalibrewingcompany.com , daily 7 a.m.–midnight summer, reduced winter hours, entrées $14–22) has a big front deck in the heart of town, Talkeetna’s best espresso, plus a dinner menu ranging from flatiron steaks and seared ahi tuna to vegetarian Thai coconut curry. The restaurant is also open for breakfast and lunch, and several beers are brewed on the premises, including a “Big Mama” black and tan; there is also free Wi-Fi.
Nagley’s Store (907/733-3663, www.nagleysstore.com ) opened in the 1920s and is still the main place for (limited) groceries in town, but it has also added such staples of 21st-century life as an ATM and lattes. A newer and larger grocery store, Cubby’s Marketplace (907/733-5050, Mon.–Sat. 8 a.m.–8 p.m., Sun. 8 a.m.–10 p.m.) is 14 miles south of town at the junction with the Parks Highway.
Behind Nagley’s is West Rib Deli and Pub (907/733-3663, www.westribpub.info , daily 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m., $9–28), with seafood, sandwiches, salads, burgers, and Alaskan brews on tap. Everyone raves about the caribou chiliburger. Best deal? Meet the locals at the Friday-night burger-and-beer for just $7. There’s an outside deck for sunny days.
Housed in a modern log building, Wildflower Café (907/733-1275, www.talkeetnasuites.com , daily 11:30 a.m.–9 p.m. May–Sept., $13–30) is popular for a cheeseburger and fries, Philly steak sandwich, tenderloin Madeira, or veggie stir-fry wrap, but don’t miss the Caesar salads. Wildflower also has nightly dinner specials.
Mt. High Pizza Pie (907/733-1234, www.mhpp.biz , daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m., most pizzas $14–23), in the purple log cabin, is a busy spot for pizzas, calzones, flatbreads, salads, and subs. They have all the standard pizzas plus a “mountain high” version ($32), piled with all the ingredients. In summer, the side deck is a great spot to enjoy your pizza with a beer (there are eight Alaskan brews on tap); it erupts with live music six nights a week.
One place really stands out in Talkeetna , Café Michele (907/733-5300, www.cafemichele.com , daily 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5:30–10 p.m. May–Sept., dinner entrées $26–34), where the bistro atmosphere is decidedly classy. Chef Michele Camera-Faurot’s menu includes such treats as Thai-style flank steak, soy-ginger king salmon, and substantial salads. Open for lunch (try the Philly cheesesteak) and dinner, with wonderful desserts, including the Madagascar bourbon vanilla cheesecake.