Sequestered at the junction where Whittier Street terminates at Willoughby Avenue, a large black trailer is backed up against the Southeast Alaska Native Veterans Monument building. Inside, Julio and Hector Guerra are serving some of the freshest food in an area that is quickly becoming a point of rejuvenation in downtown.
In what might seem like a world removed from other local food stands and pop-up corner grills, the Guerras, a father and son team, are hoping to bring something unique to the Southeast: Mexican-American cuisine.
Having originally set up their stand near Aurora Harbor, they moved farther into the heart of downtown to be closer to the larger, demanding lunch crowd that comes with the state buildings in that area.
“I kind of consider this as the business district,” Hector, 24, said. “So we saw it and weighed the options and moved downtown.”
Among their menu items such as fajita sandwiches, chicken and beef burritos, burgers and cod, there’s something very Alaskan: reindeer sausages.
And they assure customers it’s not from Costco or the like.
“We try to ship it up here every two days,” Julio said. “We’ve got to pay freight, so that’s why we charge a little more.”
The family moved from Anchorage last year where they worked for five years at an open-flame barbecue restaurant and hope to one day leverage that experience here in Juneau at a place of their own.
“It’s hard work. We might want to build it up and sell it later or open a restaurant. I don’t know which way it’s going to go,” Julio said. “There’s not many places for people to have reindeer sausage. We need more places like this for tourists. Even a little place likes this. People need more businesses here.”
Until then, they’ve got their stand where lines 20-deep gather on any given weekday around lunchtime.
“The times I’ve been here, I’ve heard people say ‘there’s no good food here, there’s no heart, no quality,’” Hector said. “Here you have quality, you have experience.”
• Contact reporter Kenneth Rosen at 523-2250 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Price: $5 – $13
Hours: 11 a.m. ‘til “late,” daily