Rika’s Roadhouse Café and Gifts is open at Big Delta State Historical Park. The Café serves homemade soups, sandwiches, pies and baked goods. The Smiling Moose Gift shop specializes in Alaskan-made gifts, souvenirs, food items, and locally made ulus, knives, fur items, books, photography, wall art and much more. Open May 15 to Sept. 5, 7 days a week 10am-4pm. Mile 275 Richardson Hwy. 907-895-4201(during season) or 507-884-9103

The Valdez-to-Fairbanks trail brought travelers to the banks of the Tanana River, where they crossed by ferry. John Hajdukovich, a Yugoslavian entrepreneur, bought the land along with a fur trading post in 1909 making the Roadhouse over 100 years old.

The two-story roadhouse, built of logs became a year-round oasis for hunters, trappers, prospectors and travelers as well as local Athabascans and homesteaders. However, John had many other interests, including the responsibility of US Game Commissioner. Sitting still and running a roadhouse did not appeal to him so he simply asked guests to make themselves at home and leave some money on the table. He ran it in this way until 1918, when finally a dependable, hard-working Swede named Rika Wallen was hired to take over.

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