Open & Shut is an ongoing series looking 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 reporter Alex DeMarban at email@example.com with “Open & Shut” in the subject line.
10/6 Rage Room: During the early part of the pandemic, Jessica McClung spent her time researching rage rooms that had cropped up across the U.S.
She wanted to give people a fun way to relieve stress. So she took out a $5,000 loan and paid contractors to fortify old office space in a downtown building.
The 10/6 Rage Room was born, at 618 Gambell St.
Participants don hard hats, face shields and coveralls. They wield hockey sticks, baseball bats and sledgehammers. They get a safety lesson, then they shatter glassware, laptops, windows and other items in a plywood-protected room.
They do it for the cathartic release and, often, for team bonding exercises, McClung said. An individual might choose the five-minute “Mood Swing.” Groups can book the room for up to two hours at $300, the “Off With Your Head” option.
It gets noisy.
“There’s definitely lots of laughter and sometimes there’s screaming,” she said. “And sometimes people feel a little weird, like ‘Oops, I broke that, but I’m supposed to break that.’ ”
Global woes like the pandemic and inflation have added to anxiety and the Rage Room is a fun outlet, McClung said.
“It releases a little bit of energy and you feel more relaxed and happy,” she said.
The room is often booked since opening earlier this year, she said. It’s hosted birthday and wedding parties, corporate gatherings and other events. She buys breakable items from secondhand stores.
McClung owns another business that comes in handy. “I clean houses,” she said. “But more so, I now clean the rage room.”
Hive Mind Meadery: Tristan Bellotti, a staff sergeant in the Alaska Air National Guard, said his friends always loved his homemade mead.
Two years ago, knowing that Anchorage has a limited mead industry, he decided to capitalize on his experience and open Hive Mind Meadery.
It launched Friday afternoon, July 15, out of its warehouse in South Anchorage, at 600 W. 58th Ave., Suite A, near Double Shovel Cider.
Opening the business has been a “bootstrap” effort, he said. He’s spent his savings, which got a boost during the pandemic partly because he saved money on gas and other items. He picked up used equipment from breweries.
The sweet beverage, sometimes called “honey wine” and made mainly with fermented honey, water and yeast, is easier to make than beer, he said. But it’s generally not as forgiving if you err, he said.
At Hive Mind he’ll focus on making traditional meads, made without too many ingredients, he said. One popular flavor has been Strawberry Buzz, flavored with strawberries. He plans to have an apple-flavored mead and other options too.
Hive Mind opens at noon on weekends and 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. It closes at 8 p.m.
Everest Restaurant: Family and friends from Nepal started this restaurant to bring Indian and Nepali flavors to Anchorage, said co-owner Bigyan Kakshapati.
“I just felt like not there’s enough eateries in Anchorage, especially for Nepalese food,” he said.
Dishes include sweet and spicy dumplings, crispy Manchurian cauliflower florets, chicken tikka masala and chicken lollipops, winglets marinated overnight with 32 different spices, he said. There’s also Hawaiian garlic shrimp made from jumbo shrimp.
Kakshapati said he moved to the U.S. as a teen about 20 years ago with his family, leaving the civil war in Nepal between Maoist communists and the royal government. His family opened Nepalese restaurants in Colorado before he moved to Hawaii and, more recently, Anchorage, he said.
A former chef, Kakshapati said he has hired former co-workers from other restaurants to open Everest. His wife, Palbi Kakshapati, is assistant manager.
Everest is located in the former Turnagain Arm Pit BBQ location in Anchorage that closed in May — across from the New Sagaya Midtown Market — at 3637 Old Seward Highway.
Daily hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Aster + Amethyst: Kristin Chandler said the lack of clothing stores in her hometown, Eagle River, prompted her to open this women’s boutique and apparel shop. It’s located in Eagle River at 12551 Old Glenn Highway, Unit C, near the Corks and Hops beer bar.
A mother of two, Chandler said too many Eagle River residents leave town to shop in Anchorage or Wasilla. She wanted to give women a chance to get what they need locally, from a nice dress to jeans and a T-shirt, without ordering online or driving elsewhere.
She also wanted to bring variety to the fashion landscape.
“Even in Anchorage in general, everyone is wearing clothes from Costco and Target and we all show up in the same things,” she said. “I love my Costco clothing, but when we all the have same Costco jackets, I’m like, ‘Well, we all look real original.’ ”
Chandler said she tries to serve a relatively young demographic. She’s Eagle River’s only authorized dealer for the popular Pit Viper sunglasses, she said. She sells jewelry, hats and other items too.
The store has a large floor space. As soon as outdoor markets close, Chandler plans to also sell locally made items, from clothing to stickers to cookies, she said.
Chandler said her husband’s garage-renovation business did well during the pandemic as people made household improvements. The income helped her open the boutique. Aster + Amethyst is named for her kids’ birth flower and birth stone.
“Growing up here, I knew clothing stores were something we always needed more of, and this kind of just fell into place,” she said.
Palmeira Tropical Fusion: This colorful brunch-and-lunch spot in downtown Anchorage adds a tropical twist to soups, salads and sandwiches, said co-owner Diego Romo.
Seafood and mango mix in a ceviche. Chicken tortilla soup comes garnished with avocado. Spicy pork chilaquiles feature tortilla chips in a chorizo-bacon tomato sauce. Smoothies might include coconut milk and pineapple.
Romo said he and several other employees at the diner are longtime workers in Anchorage’s food-service industry. They lost hours and income amid pandemic-related restrictions for restaurants, prompting them to start Palmeira, at 323 Barrow St.
Romo had tended bar at Tequila 61. His co-owner and wife, Andrea Cuevas, served at Pangea.
“After COVID, we decided to start our new place,” Romo said. “We invited a whole bunch of friends to work here.”
The small diner feels like a cool Caribbean cafe. Servers wear island-patterned shirts. Warm-weather plants drape the walls. Fruits fill baskets, waiting to be juiced.
“We wanted to give it a tropical vibe,” Romo said.
Palmeira, which means palm tree in Portuguese, is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., sometimes later. It’s closed Mondays.
Cold Stone Creamery: The ice cream parlor, an international chain, opened a third location in Anchorage, in the Northern Lights Center at 1300 W. Northern Lights Blvd. It’s located near Middle Way Cafe.