SEARCY, Ark. – Slader’s Alaskan Dumplings Co., locally known as “Slader’s” or “SADco”, is not your average food joint. The hole-in-the-wall dumpling shop opened in January 2014. Now, it remains a hidden gem in town and one of Searcy’s unique eats.
As you step through the entrance of the tin-roof building — which sports Christmas lights year-round — you will be immediately transported from Central Arkansas to Southeastern Alaska. The wood-panel walls are covered by shelves stacked with vinyl records and sporty knick-knacks. They help to set the tone for the laid-back, log cabin vibe of the shop.
“I wanted to create a space that I thought was genuine for the rough-around-the-edges feel of Alaska,” says owner and founder, Slader Marshall. “I hope that when you walk in here, it’s unlike any other place in Searcy.”
Marshall grew up in Juneau, Alaska. After graduating from Harding in 2013, he wanted to bring a piece of his hometown to Searcy. That’s when he decided to open the restaurant and make it a unique place that resembles what Marshall would experience back home.
“I think that I wanted to make a genuine place that I would go to back home and I think that that’s what this is,” Marshall said.
Marshall likes to keep the menu simple with three fillings: chicken, beef, and potato & cheese.
“I’ve always really appreciated simplicity with any restaurant,” Marshall said. “You go anywhere, and you flip through twelve pages of a menu, I always think there’s no way in the world they can do all those things well.”
The golf ball-sized dumplings, also known as pelmeni, are common to Marshall’s Southeast Alaska hometown. Pelmeni is a Russian cuisine consisting of a meat filling encased in a thin pasta shell, dusted with spicy ground curry and topped with cilantro.
After a bowl of hot dumplings, you can cool your taste buds off with a scoop of Loblolly ice cream. Or great a plate of beautiful and delicious macarons.
Popular among many college students and locals, Marshall’s business continues to build on a word-of-mouth basis.
“I like that people have to have heard of us to come here,” Marshall explained. “I think that word-of-mouth, organic feel really permeates through our crowd, through the people that come to the restaurant.”
Slader’s relaxing atmosphere is inviting for anyone looking for a place to munch on delicious food without feeling like they’re being rushed out the door. As Marshall puts it, “You can hang out here for an hour, you can hang out here for a few hours.”
Harding students make up a large portion of their customer base. That’s why Slader likes to focus on the needs of the students.
“When I was a student, I wanted student’s voices to be heard,” said Marshall.
From time to time, local students will host events, such as trivia nights or mini-concerts inside the restaurant. The shop also sells t-shirts and other SADco merchandise designed by Harding students.
Whether you’re looking to satisfy your appetite with authentic Alaskan cuisine, or simply find a place to relax with friends, Slader’s Alaskan Dumplings can meet your needs. You can find Slader’s at 301 E Center Avenue. Swing by today and grab a bowl of deliciousness or reach them at 501-203-4070! You can also follow them on Facebook which is a great way to keep track of where the Slader’s food truck is going to be.