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Reindeer Hut owners open treat truck

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Sabine Poux/KDLL
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A local food truck is expanding into a new market on old wheels. 

“We had been telling people for years, literally since we opened — Kenai needs ice cream. Period," said Aaron Conradt.

Conradt and Benjamin Peterson run Reindeer Hut, a Kenai-based food truck in its third season. They've just moved it a new trailer and opened a dessert truck, called Caribou Caboose, in the old one.

Both trucks are on Kalifornsky Beach Road, by Panama Reds. But Peterson said they’ll move Caribou Caboose over to Old Town Kenai soon and will frequent the local markets, where there’s a scant ice cream presence. 

“There’s nobody doing the event circuit at all, that we’ve seen," he said. "At least not in this area.”

Conradt and Peterson are buying Umpqua-brand ice cream through IGA and root beer from Moose’s Tooth. They’ve also got milkshakes and have plans to bring in more baked goods.

Reindeer Hut, on the other hand, is known for its savory snacks. Peterson and Conradt had a really busy season last summer, dishing out reindeer meat gyros and lunch specials from their spot next to Alaska Cab on K-Beach Road.

But they didn’t have the space to keep up with the demand in their old trailer. The kitchen was too small to multitask and they’d run out of food quickly.

So this year, they bought a bigger food truck, from a seller in the Lower 48.

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Credit Sabine Poux/KDLL
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The new Reindeer Hut is much larger than its previous trailer, with room for more kitchen equipment.

“They literally built this trailer from the ground up, for us, to our specifications, from the axle to the frame to everything," Peterson said.

They drove the truck up from Outside this winter. It was cold and windy and the trailer was whipping around behind the truck as they ventured north.

“The winds in North Dakota were just awful," Peterson said. "And it’s just open plains. It’s flat.”

The journey took six days.

“The second we hit Alaska, we had caribou after caribou after caribou," Conradt said.

It was worth it, though, because their new truck is much larger. They’ll be able to make more of their specials, like their Philly cheese steaks. And they now have a separate meat station, to construct their large cones of reindeer meat.

The trucks will migrate next week — Reindeer Hut to its previous spot on K-Beach Road and Caribou Caboose to Old Town Kenai.

Sabine Poux is the news director at KDLL. Originally from New York, she's lived and reported in Argentina and Vermont, where she fell in love with local news. She covers all things central peninsula but is especially interested in stories related to energy and fishing. She'd love to hear your ideas at spoux@kdll.org.
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