Open and Close (current value) an ongoing series Looking at the way things are going in Southcentral Alaska. If you know of a business opening or closing in the area, send a note to reporter Alex DeMarban at: [email protected] with “Open and Close” in the subject line.
Whiskey and Ramen: The owners of this restaurant in downtown Anchorage say they want to create something special for the city.
In recent years, co-owner Nicole Cusack has traveled to Japan to study and learn how to make ramen, working under the tutelage of ramen masters.
In 2016, Cusack and her husband, Jon McNeil, purchased a historic building at 436 W. 4th Ave, near the corner of 4th and E Street.
The building dates back to the city’s early days a century ago, and records show it was once the photography studio of famous Alaskan painter Sydney Laurence.
An extensive renovation of the building has been delayed by the disrupted supply chain of the pandemic. But since at least 2020, proud contractors have been posting images of their work on social media on the site. This helped increase the public’s expectation for the new restaurant.
The result is an elegant space where customers can grab a bowl of ramen made in minutes with noodles made daily.
Those looking for a cozy place can sit at a long counter and watch the chefs working in the open kitchen.
For a more formal experience, customers can book a table and descend the stairs to an underground yet open concept dining area. The full bar features a variety of Japanese whiskeys.
Cusack said the extra time it takes to start the restaurant is well worth the wait.
“We have many years to open, but only so much time to put it together,” he said.
Among other dishes, the menu features wagyu steaks imported from Japan and Australia, Japanese whiskey-miso pulled-pork buns, tebasaki chicken wings and a sashimi made from hamachi crudo, thinly sliced yellowtail tuna, and other ingredients.
Whiskey & Ramen opens Wednesday to Sunday at 5 pm. Cusack said it’s a good idea to make a reservation, as it gets busy, especially for customers who want to sit in the downstairs main dining area.
Mexican Lindo Cafe: Mini market Mexico Lindo plans to open a cafe adjacent to the old Granny B’s Cafe, a longtime popular breakfast spot.
Mexico Lindo’s owner, David Guzman, said Mexico Lindo will keep the menu for Granny B’s, which has fed its fans for generations.
Mexico Lindo at 1201 W. Tudor Road sells Latin American food, as well as homemade Mexican pastries and tamales.
Guzman said the move will happen next month. The new cafe will offer new dishes such as huevos rancheros and pupusa, an El Salvador staple of thick bread stuffed with meat, cheese or beans and other fillings.
“We’re going to put some Latin spice on the expanded menu,” Guzman said.
Guzman said Granny B closed months ago after its owners retired.
Gift Gallery: A one-year closure during the pandemic has allowed the Anchorage Senior Activity Center to undergo a $3 million renovation.
Among other updates, the center in Fairview now houses a newly developed gift shop.
The Gift Gallery sells a variety of items made by seniors such as quilts, baby booties, and winter hats. It also sells handmade puppets.
“They’re made with extra love,” said Ashlyn Dye, the center’s volunteer coordinator, about the handmade items on Thursday.
The gift shop also sells items, some of which are donated from estate sales. Gift shop coordinator Brianna McKibben said only the best “gentle used” items are sold.
The assortment includes wallets, vintage jewelry, tea towels, crockery, cashmere scarves and other items.
McKibben said all of the store’s earnings went to support the senior center.
The store is on 20th Ave of the Seward Highway. It is located at 1300 E. 19th Ave, east of its intersection with. It is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 to 14:00. McKibben said opening hours will soon expand in preparations for the holiday.
Little Caesars: Also known for its chicken wings, the pizzeria opened in early September at 500 E. Benson Avenue, just south of the Midtown Mall. It is open every day.
Close (and move)
Pangea Restaurant and Lounge: The downtown Anchorage restaurant closed earlier this month after nearly six years of operation. Pangea owner Abraham Gallo could not be reached for comment.
The area across from Town Square Park at 508 W. 6th Ave. shouldn’t be empty for long.
Gumbo House manager Gustavo Del Real Figueroa said Gumbo House plans to move there in the coming weeks.
Gumbo House has been serving hearty Cajun cuisine for close to 20 years from the historic pink house just north of the Delaney Park Strip near F Street.
Figueroa said the move to Pangea’s ancient excavations would give the family-run Gumbo House much more space, with a full bar and space for community events.
Figueroa said Gumbo House tried to buy the tiny house in which it operates, but ultimately it’s not for sale. The house has been around since at least 1924, when the parking lane was an airstrip, he said.
Figueroa said House Gumbo started looking for a new site and learned that Pangea was available. Gumbo House said he hopes to one day buy the old Pangea building.
Figueroa said it will keep its menu but add some dishes, including blackened shrimp macaroni and cheese.
The old Pangea building is orange. Figueroa said she might paint the House of Gumbo pink one day.
Side Street Espresso: The beloved city cafe near 4th and G Street will close on September 30 after thirty years in business. Husband and wife owners George Gee and Deb Seaton are retiring.
[After 30 years in downtown Anchorage, a beloved coffee shop is closing]
The closure will open up a location for two longtime businesses across the street.
Owners Jana Hayenga said Cabin Fever and Quilted Raven, the gift shop selling Alaska-themed quilt fabric, will close on October 1.
That’s because homeowners Peach Holdings plans to build a large building on the block. Peach Holdings has already begun demolition of the historic 4th Avenue Theater for the project after deciding it was too costly to restore due to code compliance and security issues.
Cabin Fever and Quilted Raven are on Side Street’s 412 G St.
Hayenga said it will be a narrower space where the two businesses share one location. But keeping them alive is important, he said.
“A lot of people come to Cabin Fever and they don’t want it to go away, and a lot of quilters come to fabric stores and they don’t want it to go,” Hayenga said.
Sears Home & Life Anchorage: The appliance, tool, and household goods store at 901 E. Dimond Avenue is closing on October 30, and a salesman there said over the phone that he was liquidating the items. The once-leading chain declared bankruptcy in 2018 as shoppers increasingly purchased items online from other stores. Bankruptcy led to the closure and sale of Sears’ properties in Anchorage.