Nothing represents fun Alaska cuisine like a fish taco. Stationed in the heart of downtown Juneau, a well-known food truck, Deckhand Dave’s, offers a taste of unique Alaska flavors using familiar riches from the sea in the form of a taco. David McCasland’s menu specializes in wild Alaskan fish tacos: battered halibut, blackened rockfish, shrimp, and breaded salmon served on soft corn tortillas and topped with red cabbage slaw, fresh pico de gallo, and a choice of a mild or spicy Mexican crema.
Working with the Alaska Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Juneau since 2016, McCasland’s fierce motivation and strategic planning has kept the Alaska SBDC advisors focused on his goals. The Alaska SBDC advised on the original business plan starting with a food truck and later with building success, on hiring employees. Deckhand Dave’s was parked behind the Juneau Public Library or other small leased properties, serving food to those who passed by. After years of focusing on strategic planning, setting SMART goals, and developing benchmarks with the SBDC, last year, McCasland was able to expand Deckhand Dave’s food truck to include an oyster champagne bar and plans to run at full capacity for the entire summer.
During the pandemic, while many were ‘battening down the hatches’, McCasland came knocking on the Alaska SBDC’s virtual door, wanting to acquire a 7,000 square foot property and develop Alaska’s first food truck park, a designated location where hungry patrons could consistently find a variety of food trucks. The inspiration behind this innovative idea came from McCasland’s observations of similar food truck parks in Oregon years prior. The Alaska SBDC helped revise McCasland’s business plan to include the park, and helped him secure additional funding to acquire the property. Now, with the property purchased and the Food Truck Park launched, McCasland is giving back to his community by helping to provide the start to many new food truck businesses, building a support system, and purchasing additional lots. He is hoping to see a consistent flow of food options, including an Alaska style beer garden and future expansion of the park.