Behind the Wheels: Slader’s Alaskan Dumpling Company

“A taste of The Last Frontier”

That’s how Slader’s Alaskan Dumpling Company describes itself. The restaurant, lovingly known as SADCo., has been turning heads and winning over hearts since it opened its doors in Searcy a year ago this month. 

It has such a following, in fact, that SADCo. is hitting the road with a brand new food truck, and its sights are set on Little Rock. 

But first, let’s back up. We know what you’re thinking: Alaskan dumplings? Oh, yes. The dish is actually a Russian recipe called pel’meni. While you might not be able to see it from Southeast Alaska, Russia has a huge impact on the area, particularly in Juneau. 

Slader Marshall hails from Juneau, so his love for pel’meni is no surprise. He grew up surrounded by these odd little dumplings, with recipes passed down through family members. After attending Harding University, he started SADCo. (partially because he got tired of waiting to go home to get his fill of pel’meni) and the rest was history.

The shop is small and simple. It serves beef, chicken and potato pel’meni dumplings topped with cilantro, curry and sriracha, with a side of toasted bread and a drink. And that’s the whole menu. 

“For some, that is very odd and confusing, but for us, it’s what we know… I guess if we only serve one thing, that one thing better be pretty good for us to keep our lights on,” Marshall said. 

If the steady stream of customers is any indication, SADCo. is “pretty good” at this whole dumpling thing. With a food truck in the works, this couldn’t be better news. We got to ask Marshall a few questions about the expansion, which was every bit as refreshing as the idea of Alaskan dumplings. Read on.

Credit: Patricio Felix

Why a food truck?

I decided to open a food truck because it was kind of slapping me in the face to do so. I enjoyed our first year at the shop, so I decided to push my chips to the middle. Opening a food truck gives myself, my family and my staff an opportunity to have new experiences and make new memories wherever we choose. 

My parents, who were both teachers, took me out of school when I was in 6th grade, bought an RV and we traveled the U.S. for an entire year, making it to every state in the country along the way. That amazing experience has shaped my view of travel, and one that, I view, is invaluable. 

So to make a long story short, most of the reason I wanted to open the food truck is to give others who can’t come see us in Searcy an opportunity to have the food show up on their doorstep, and to also have the opportunity to travel around the state and make new friends and memories. 

Credit: Patricio Felix

What can customers expect from the mobile SADCo.?

Customers can expect the same thing we do every day in Searcy: We’ll serve food with a smile and a genuine interest in our customers’ lives and experiences. 

I think at the end of the day, food is food. You have to have it to live, and whether it’s pizza, pasta or pel’meni, you are going to eat it. How you differentiate yourself is by the feeling you leave your customers with when they see you working behind the counter, or when they leave your shop to go back to their everyday lives. 

We serve good food, and we enjoy doing it; that’s all I can promise. We aren’t trying to be something we aren’t. It’s not a 5-star, white tablecloth-type of truck. It’s a truck run by a bunch of college-aged kids who know how to cook one thing really, really well.

Credit: Patricio Felix

What are you hoping this means for SADCo.?

Honestly, I don’t have any monetary goals, or hopes that we serve 150 people a day, or plans to open 15 more shops or something like that. All I hope for is that people will see that we are trying to do something a little bit different because we believe in it, and that at the end of the day, we would rather be serving weird dumplings than working a 9-5. I think if people see that and try the food, they will come back. 


And there you have it: fresh faces in the Metro and a unique dish you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere in The Natural State. Right now, the SADCo. truck is looking at a March/April debut. It will be based in Little Rock, but with plans to visit Conway, Fayetteville, Jonesboro and wherever the road takes them.

“There will be problems and days where things don’t go to plan, but we are excited and can’t wait to start serving the people of Little Rock!”

For more updates on SADCo. and the new wheels, follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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