A ramen and whiskey bar opens after years of planning, a gift shop at a senior center gets a makeover, and a new cafe is coming to Midtown.


Open and close is an ongoing series watching the comings and goings of businesses in south-central 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 & Shut” in the subject line.


Whiskey & Ramen: The owners of this downtown Anchorage restaurant 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, she said.

In 2016, Cusack and her husband, Jon McNeil, purchased a historic building near the corner of 4th and E streets at 436 W. 4th Ave.

The building dates back to the city’s earliest days a century ago, and records indicate it was once the photography studio of famed Alaskan painter Sydney Laurence.

An extensive remodeling of the building has been delayed by the pandemic’s broken supply chain. But since at least 2020, proud entrepreneurs have been posting images of their work on the site on social media. This helped to boost public anticipation for the new restaurant.

The end result is an elegant space where customers can have a bowl of ramen, prepared in minutes, with noodles prepared daily.

For those looking for a casual spot, they can sit at a long counter and watch the chefs work in the open kitchen.

For a more formal experience, guests can reserve a table and descend the stairs to an underground but open-plan dining room. The full bar includes a variety of Japanese whiskeys.

Whiskey & Ramen, Whiskey and Ramen

The extra time needed to launch the restaurant has been worth the wait, Cusack said.

“We have many years to be open, but we only have a short time to put everything in place,” she said.

Among other dishes, the menu includes wagyu steaks imported from Japan and Australia, Japanese rolls with whiskey-miso pulled pork, tebasaki chicken wings and hamachi crudo, a sashimi made from thinly sliced ​​tail tuna. yolk and other ingredients.

Whiskey & Ramen opens at 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. It got busy, so it’s a good idea to make reservations, especially for customers who want to sit in the main dining room downstairs, Cusack said.

Mexico Lindo Cafe: Mexico Lindo mini-market plans to open a cafe next door in the former Granny B’s Cafe, a longtime popular breakfast spot.

Mexico Lindo will retain the Granny B menu that has nurtured generations of fans, said Mexico Lindo owner David Guzman.

Mexico Lindo sells Latin American groceries, as well as homemade Mexican pastries and tamales, at 1201 W. Tudor Road.

Mexico Lindo, Mexico Lindo Mini Market, tamale, tamales

The move will take place next month, Guzman said. The new café will serve new dishes, such as huevos rancheros and pupusa, a Salvadoran staple consisting of thick tortillas stuffed with meat, cheese or beans and other fillings.

“We’re going to put some Latin seasoning” on the expanded menu, Guzman said.

Guzman said Granny B’s closed several months ago after the owners retired.

The Gift Gallery: A year-long closure during the pandemic allowed the Anchorage Senior Activity Center to undergo a $3 million renovation.

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Among other updates, the Fairview center now houses a newly upgraded gift shop.

The Gift Gallery sells a variety of products made by seniors, such as quilts, baby booties and winter hats. He also sells handmade kuspuks.

“They’re made with extra love,” Ashlyn Dye, the center’s volunteer coordinator, said of the handmade items Thursday.

The gift shop also sells donated items, some from estate sales. Only the best “gently used” products are sold, said Brianna McKibben, gift shop coordinator.

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The assortment includes handbags, vintage jewelry, tea towels, tableware, cashmere scarves and other items.

All proceeds from the store go to support the senior center, McKibben said.

The store is located east of the Seward Highway intersection with 20th Ave. at 1300 E. 19th Ave. It is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday. The hours will soon get longer in anticipation of the holidays, McKibben said.

Little Caesars: The pizzeria, also known for its chicken wings, opened in early September at 500 E. Benson Blvd., just south of the Midtown Mall. It’s open every day.

Close (and move)

Pangea restaurant and lounge: The restaurant in downtown Anchorage closed earlier this month after about six years in business. Pangea owner Abraham Gallo could not be reached for comment.

The space, across from Town Square Park at 508 W. 6th Ave. shouldn’t stay empty for long.

The Gumbo house plans to move there in the coming weeks, said Gustavo Del Real Figueroa, director of the Gumbo house.

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The Gumbo House has been serving hearty Cajun cuisine for nearly 20 years in the historic pink house just north of the Delaney Park Strip near F Street.

The move to the old Pangea excavations will provide much more space for the Gumbo family home, with room for a full bar and community events, Figueroa said.

Gumbo House had sought to buy the tiny house where it operates, but it was ultimately not for sale, Figueroa said. The house has existed since at least 1924, when the park strip was an airstrip, he said.

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The Gumbo house began looking for a new site and learned that Pangea was available, Figueroa said. Gumbo House hopes to buy the old Pangea building one day, he said.

It will keep its menu but add a few dishes, including blackened shrimp and cheese macaroni, Figueroa said.

The old Pangea building is orange. One day the Gumbo house might paint it pink, Figueroa said.

Espresso Side Street: The beloved downtown cafe near 4th and G Street will close Sept. 30 after three decades 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]

Side Street Espresso, George Gee, Deb Seaton, cafe, business closing, downtown Anchorage

The closure will make room for two long-standing businesses across the street.

Cabin Fever and Quilted Raven gift shops, which sell Alaska-themed quilt fabric, will close Oct. 1, owner Jana Hayenga said.

That’s because their owner, Peach Holdings, plans to build a large building on the block. Peach Holdings has already begun demolishing the historic 4th Avenue Theater for the project after deciding it was too expensive to restore due to code compliance and safety issues.

Cabin Fever and Quilted Raven plan to reopen in February at the former Side Street spot at 412 G St.

It will be a smaller space with two businesses sharing one location, Hayenga said. But it’s important to keep them alive, she said.

“A lot of people come into Cabin Fever and don’t want it to go away, and a lot of quilts come into the fabric store and don’t want it to go away,” Hayenga said.

Sears Home & Life Anchorage: The appliance, tool and home goods store at 901 E. Dimond Blvd is closing Oct. 30 and liquidating products, a salesperson said over the phone. The once-large chain filed for bankruptcy in 2018 as shoppers increasingly purchased products from other online stores. The bankruptcy resulted in the closure and sale of properties owned by Sears in Anchorage.


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