‘It’s been not easy’: Three popular Anchorage restaurants announce closures

Snow City on April 3, 2020 (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)

Three popular Anchorage restaurants announced they’re temporarily closing their doors, the latest casualty of an economy upended by coronavirus restrictions. 

Snow City Cafe, South Restaurant, and Spenard Roadhouse, which are all owned by the company Locally Grown Restaurants, say they’ll no longer be serving take-out after the end of the day on Friday. Lana Ramos, director of marketing for Locally Grown said that while sales were declining, the decision was made out of concern for employees and customer safety. 

RELATED: Listen to our podcast, Hunker Down Alaska, about how people are coping around the state.

“With all of the health recommendations coming out, we just realized it was in our employees’ best interests and their best physical interest and mental interest as well as for that of our guests if we were to suspend operations until we know that the climate is safe and things are turning around,” said Ramos.

The company laid off about 80% of its 300-employee workforce after the city ordered restaurants to stop serving dine-in meals, said Ramos. The rest of the employees will be laid off at the end of the workday Friday, except for a small administrative staff. She said the company is hoping to help employees navigate various unemployment options. 

Catch up on the latest news about coronavirus in Alaska

“We’ll be checking in with each of our employees every once in a while with a phone call with one of our managers, just to see how people are doing, see if they need help, you know, accessing any of that information because it’s gonna be really – it’s complex and each individual’s gonna have to do some work in order to get those resources to them,” said Ramos.

The group said it hopes to reopen the restaurants as soon as possible. 

Several other restaurants and cafes around town have announced closures in the last few weeks. Kaladi Brothers Coffee closed its coffee shops on March 25, also citing safety concerns. SteamDot made the same decision on March 23. Many other restaurants have also limited pickup hours in response to lower customer demand.

RELATED: Anchorage restaurants adapt to COVID