Open & Shut: A new ‘nanobrewery,' Pier 1 stores closing and P.F. Chang’s will come to Alaska — with a catch

This is an installment of an occasional series in the Anchorage Daily News taking a quick look at the comings and goings of businesses in Southcentral Alaska. If you know of a business opening or closing in the area, send a note to with “Open & Shut” in the subject line.


Amber Jackson, Onsite Brewery, Onsite Brewing, beer, brewery, brewing

Onsite Brewing Co.: Billing itself as the tiniest brewery in Anchorage, a short hop west of the Alaska Rock Gym, this “nanobrewery” opened this week.

Owners Amber Jackson and Tom Chambers are serving up four unique beers at 3211 Denali St., and they plan to offer more. It’s the first Midtown Anchorage brewery, they said.

Jackson describes what they offer as “American style ales with an Alaskan twist.”

So far they’re selling a Sitka spruce pale ale brewed with spruce tips, a coffee India pale ale brewed with locally roasted beans, a jalapeno beer and a brut beer.

They plan to add a few more flavors for their grand opening on Jan. 18.


The couple, engaged to be married, said they’re starting small to minimize costs and experiment with different types of beer. They brew their beer on-site in smaller batches than microbreweries. They raised about $15,000 through Kickstarter, an online fundraising platform, to help with costs.

Both climbers, they wanted a spot close to the rock gym. They named their company Onsite after a term used by climbers to describe a climb completed successfully on the first try.

The brewery is open at 3 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, and noon on Saturdays. It closes at 8 p.m.

Roti Malaysian Bakery and Cafe: Lai Lee Ho missed the flavorful food of her home country, so she started a bakery featuring the Southeast Asian cuisine popular in Malaysia.

“We’re always looking for something that tastes of home, but I could not find it," said Ho, who moved to Anchorage from Malaysia a few years ago.

Roti, Roti Bakery, bakery

The restaurant opened in October at 5011 Arctic Blvd., Suite I, at the spot formerly occupied by Pho Jula and Thai Cuisine. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Roti means “bread” in the Malay language. On the menu are pastries such as egg tarts, coconut buns, red bean buns and a Japanese cheesecake that’s lighter than the dense cheesecake commonly sold in the U.S.

A variety of entrees include sweet and spicy chicken and spicy soy sauce chicken. Those and other dishes are served with sides like coconut rice, fried egg and vegetables. Beverages include milk tea, chocolate malt drinks and espresso coffee.

P.F. Chang’s: The Asian-themed restaurant chain confirmed Thursday that it’s coming to Alaska — though in a hard-to-reach spot for many people.

The company will open its first Alaska-based P.F. Chang’s by spring 2021 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The move comes following the “great success” of one of the chain’s restaurants at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, said P.F. Chang’s spokesman Genaro Perez.

JBER, north of Anchorage, supports more than 30,000 military personnel, families and civilian workers. It’s home to chains including Subway, Burger King and Starbucks. But access is limited to Department of Defense ID cardholders and their guests.

Go! Calendars, Games & Toys: The gift chain offering games, calendars, puzzles and toys opened on the second level at the Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall, Paige Barker, the mall’s marketing director, announced in November. The store is near J.C. Penney, next to Apricot Lane.

Excalibur Alaska: The Anchorage sports merchandise retailer opened a shop at the 5th Avenue Mall, next to J.C. Penney, Barker announced in October. Excalibur also operates a second store at the Northway Mall.

The new location is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The store sells officially licensed clothing and other items featuring professional sports and college teams.


Pier 1 Imports: The struggling Texas-based home decor chain is leaving Alaska after several decades, part of the company’s plans to shutter dozens of stores nationwide amid declining sales.


The company’s two stores in Anchorage and the one in Fairbanks will close early next year, said Pier 1 spokeswoman Jennifer Reeder.

The "exact timing will vary for each location,” she said. “Our stores are currently undergoing a store closing sale that will continue while merchandise is sold.”

The company has had a presence in Alaska since at least 1976, as the trans-Alaska pipeline neared completion during an oil-fueled economic boom. That year, a new Pier 1 in Midtown Anchorage offered shell necklaces for $1.49, Japanese sandals for $3.49 and “all sorts” of wicker furniture and baskets, according to newspaper ads.

Reeder declined to say how many jobs will be lost in Alaska. A Pier 1 in Fairbanks opened in 2012 with close to 30 employees, mostly part-time.

“Anytime we make decisions about our business, we carefully consider the impact to our associates,” Reeder said. “We are working with them privately as part of the store closing process.”

"We deeply value the support of the communities in which we operate and are grateful to the Anchorage and Fairbanks communities for their loyalty to Pier 1 over the years,” she said.

Alex DeMarban

Alex DeMarban is a longtime Alaska journalist who covers business, the oil and gas industries and general assignments. Reach him at 907-257-4317 or