Open & Shut: Anchorage gets a chocolate tasting room, a reimagined Turkish restaurant and 2 gift stores

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 with “Open & Shut” in the subject line.


Turkish Delight: Two Anchorage siblings with a passion for cooking their native Turkish food purchased this restaurant late last year near the intersection of Lake Otis Parkway and Northern Lights Boulevard.

After a closure for renovations, Turkish Delight reopened this month with an expanded menu and brightened decor.

“We are food people,” Zeynep Kilic said of herself and Engin, her younger brother.

The two are originally from Turkey and wanted to showcase Turkish food, so they bought the restaurant when they heard it was for sale, she said.

The menu now includes vegan options and homemade gluten-free sourdough bread, in addition to naan bread. There are new dishes like sultan’s delight, a roasted eggplant topped with a slow-cooked stew; manti, featuring ground beef dumplings and a red-pepper sauce topped with yogurt; and a homemade ice cream recipe from a southern region of Turkey.

Other popular items include the doner entree, with rotisserie-roasted lamb and beef, and baklava.


To open the restaurant, Zeynep left her longtime job as a sociology and food studies professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Engin co-owns a gift shop in the Hilton Anchorage hotel downtown.

They spend their days, cooking, serving and cleaning. “I was in front of a computer for hours on end,” Zeynep said of her life in academia. “And now I average half a marathon every day. But it’s getting easier, and people seem happy, and we have quite a few return customers.”

Turkish Delight is at 2210 E. Northern Lights Blvd., Suite 110, near Don Jose’s Mexican restaurant. It’s open Tuesday to Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch and 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. for dinner.

Chugach Chocolates: After several years selling chocolate bars to other businesses, Chugach Chocolates opened a storefront and tasting room last month.

Husband and wife Ryan and Emily Wiswesser make their bars with Alaska ingredients such as birch syrup, kelp and sea salt. They buy cacao beans and chocolate from companies around the world. The combinations result in rich flavors, such as the birch toffee chocolate bar and the kelp-cayenne chocolate bar.

The new store, which adjoins the factory where their bars are made, sells chocolate samplers, hot chocolate, brownie mixes, truffles and other items. It’s off 59th Avenue, near Dowling Road and Arctic Boulevard.

The couple originally planned to open the store in 2020.

“We were getting ready to open it up when COVID hit, and we knew it wouldn’t be feasible,” Ryan said.

The labor shortage after the pandemic also delayed plans.

“If feels like this has been a long time coming because it was planned for so long,” he said of the store. “It’s different than the wholesale we’ve been doing, but it feels great to have that direct connection with our retail customers, and allows us to offer more products.”

The Wiswessers collect some ingredients by hand, such as seawater from Whittier that evaporates into salt for the Prince William Sound sea salt chocolate bar. They’ve gathered wild raspberries to create a raspberry bar with cacao nibs. Another unique item is the Beer Crispie, made with chocolate, homemade Rice Krispies and spent wort from nearby Brewerks brewery.

Chugach Chocolates is at 700 W. 59th Ave., Suite A. It’s open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday.

Wild Starr Creations: Linda Burke and her daughter Angel Ochoa say their love of shopping at craft markets and antique shops led them to open this gift store and art studio in downtown Anchorage.

Wild Starr Creations sells an assortment of items like colorful stainless steel coffee and wine tumblers made by Ochoa, as well as stickers and T-shirts and hoodies created on site. They sell items from a variety of Alaska craftsmakers, like ceramics and earrings, and food items like barbecue sauces, jellies and rubs.

Burke said Wild Starr is focused on supporting other local businesses. It provides a large space for pop-up events by local artists, as well as for community gatherings, birthday parties and work retreats.

The art studio in the back of the store offers weekly workshops for painting and beading, Burke said.

Wild Starr is at 616 E St., across the street from Town Square Park.


Kiss A Moose: This gift shop and photo gallery opened in downtown Anchorage over the winter.

Kiss A Moose displays photos by owner Coby Brock, who sold his work at craft shows for more than a decade before opening the shop. One of his popular shots features an eagle, bear and salmon in a single scene. Another shows 42 bears in one scene and was also captured at the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary and Refuge on the Alaska Peninsula.

The storefront is at 523 W. Fourth Ave., almost directly across the street from the log cabin visitor center.

“Access to tourists the whole summer instead of just weekends is certainly exciting, so we’re giving it a try,” Brock said of the business run by him and his fiancee, Jennie Frost.

The company got its name from the “Go Kiss a Moose” T-shirt Brock’s grandmother bought for him when she visited Alaska in the 1980s. Brock said he has permission from the T-shirt maker and now sells them at the shop, along with more shirts, stickers, magnets, dog chews, antlers and other items.

Cabin Fever: Gift shop Cabin Fever reopened in March in downtown Anchorage at the former location of Side Street Espresso.

[Earlier coverage: After 30 years in downtown Anchorage, a beloved coffee shop is closing]

The business, now at 412 G St., moved from its former spot nearby because a new commercial building is going up there, following the demolition of the historic Fourth Avenue Theatre.


Two associated businesses also at the former spot, Quilted Raven, which sold quilts and quilting fabric, and Wooly Mammoth, which sold locally hand-dyed yarn and qiviut, have been combined into Cabin Fever, said Jana Hayenga, who owned all three businesses.

“We took the best of the best of all three stores and now we have three different sections in Cabin Fever,” Hayenga said.

Brown Jug: Alaska’s largest package store retailer opened a store in South Anchorage last month, at 1160 Huffman Park Drive.

The new Brown Jug, at more than 4,000 square feet, is the company’s 23rd shop in Alaska.

The chain, founded by an Alaska family, was purchased in 2020 by Afognak Native Corp.

Portfolio: Two women’s clothing stores are now one store in Midtown Anchorage.

The owner of plus-size store Classic Woman and Portfolio combined the stores with a remodel and a grand reopening early this month. Now, the business is simply called Portfolio. It offers sizes from extra small to plus.

Time flies! 📷💕 From Classic Woman (photos from 2012) to the stunning remodel of Portfolio this year! It's been an...

Posted by Portfolio on Tuesday, April 25, 2023

“It seems like a new store,” owner Lauren Blanchett said.

Portfolio is at 3030 Denali St. off Benson Boulevard, east of the Walmart Supercenter.

Jersey Mike’s Subs: Alaska was the last state to get this sub sandwich shop known for fresh ingredients. Now it’s getting three locations.

Fred Rosenberg, the franchise owner in the state, opened the first Alaska location in Wasilla this week at 1451 E. Parks Highway.

Jersey Mike’s will open a shop in South Anchorage on June 28, off Abbott Road and East 88th Avenue. A third spot is planned for Eagle River this summer.



Bed Bath & Beyond: The home-goods store at 601 E. Dimond Blvd. is holding a going-out-of-business sale.

A manager at the store who declined to disclose his name said in an interview Friday that the sale is part of the closure of Bed Bath & Beyond stores nationwide.

The chain’s stores have fallen from more than 1,500 stores to about 350 today, and it filed for bankruptcy protection in April. Analysts have said the company was not ready for the switch to online shopping and struggled to keep up with competitors such as Target.

A worker at the store said that the closing date isn’t known.

AK Bark: The pet supply store will close its original location at Dimond Boulevard after Memorial Day on Monday. But its second store, the much bigger shop in Midtown, remains open at Fireweed Lane and Eagle Street, said owner Mark Robokoff.

AK Bark will be “focusing all our intensely Alaskan energy on the new Fireweed store,” which is twice as big as the original store with many more products, Robokoff said in an email.

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