Open & Shut: Anchorage adds restaurants specializing in seafood, Indian and pho, Korean barbecue and American fare

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.


K-PUB Korean BBQ: Longtime restaurateur Kenny Lee said he’s always had his heart set on opening a Korean barbecue joint.

“I had to sell a lot of fried rice for years” to make it happen, joked Lee, who also owns Ding How Mongolian BBQ and Samurai Sushi off Muldoon Road.

K-PUB Korean BBQ opened in February in northeast Anchorage at 3801 DeBarr Road, near Costco.

It’s designed with grills at the tables where customers can prepare their own meats if they like. The spicy pork, beef bulgogi and short ribs are especially popular, said Lee, a U.S. Army veteran who’s originally from South Korea. K-PUB also includes a full bar with a piano for entertainment.

This is Lee’s third restaurant in the spot, he said.

His previous eatery there, Yes Bistro, closed around 2022 after pandemic shutdowns and the labor shortage made it hard to keep it alive, he said.


Not long after Yes Bistro closed, Lee installed the large K-PUB sign outside, to keep him motivated toward his goal of opening a Korean barbecue spot.

“I needed to stay focused,” he said, even as the renovation, inspections and equipment-shipping delays slowed his plans.

He hopes K-PUB becomes a destination on Anchorage’s east side, helping counterbalance big dining draws in downtown, Midtown and South Anchorage, he said.

He envisions families and friends cooking and telling stories around the table as they prepare their food on the grill, he said.

“We needed this type of restaurant in town,” he said.

K-PUB is open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. It’s closed Mondays.

Alaska Chopped & Chowdered: Dawn Beardsley and her husband, Charles, opened Alaska Chopped & Chowdered this month in Spenard because they wanted to bring a new seafood-focused restaurant to Anchorage.

“We don’t call ourselves fine dining,” said Dawn Beardsley, who serves as the chef. “We call ourselves a chowder house with steak and seafood.”

The idea is “approachable sophistication,” said Beardsley, who grew up working at restaurants her mother owned, like the former Mexican restaurants El Toro and the Black Bull.

“You can come in and have the most sophisticated lobster tail and steak that you want,” she said. “Or you can have a bowl of chowder with some oyster crackers and you can wear your Xtratufs and your Carhartts and be at home, having good food in a nice place that’s not pretentious.”

On the menu are chowder flights, with choices such as clam, salmon and halibut chowders. They serve Alaska king crab, seared salmon with creamy dill sauce, butter-poached halibut and pan-seared scallops with Alfredo-style carbonara. There are also wagyu burgers with bacon onion jam and New York steaks with brandy peppercorn sauce.

Nearly all the ingredients are fresh Alaska food, they said. The restaurant includes a beer and wine bar.

The restaurant, which employs more than 50 workers, is located in a former Village Inn diner that closed during the pandemic. The couple spent the last year overhauling it. They greatly reduced the seating capacity, opening up space between tables. The new design has a clean, minimalist look.

“I like the food to be showcased,” she said.

Besides serving Alaskans, the couple also has tourists in mind who frequently want to eat at an Alaska seafood restaurant, she said.

“So many people save their entire life to come for one trip here and we want to give them that Alaskan experience,” she said.

Chopped and Chowdered serves lunch and dinner every day but Tuesdays, and is located at 4403 Spenard Road, near Spenard and Lakeshore Drive.


Sofia’s Restaurant: Paul and Maria Charalambous moved to Anchorage from Soldotna last fall to open this eatery in Spenard.

They purchased and renovated the spot that housed Thai Siam as the owners retired, at 3801 Lois Drive.

They launched Sofia’s Restaurant in February.

It’s named for their 3-year-old daughter. “She’s our boss,” said Paul Charalambous.

Sofia’s features a salad bar with several dozen items, sandwiches like the Philly steak, and soup. (Salad bar access comes with a sandwich.) Sofia’s also serves pasta and steaks and chicken covered in homemade sauce. Breakfast, such as eggs, bacon and home-fried potatoes, is available all day.

Sofia’s is trying to stick to healthy, affordable foods as much as possible, he said. The restaurant sets aside specially prepared dishes for customers who, say, have allergies or need gluten-free food, he said.

Charalambous grew up working at his family’s longtime restaurant in Soldotna, Froso’s Family Dining, he said.

His father, Mike, is retired from Froso’s. But he’s now cooking at Sofia’s to help out, Charalambous said.


“We’ve been in the restaurant business like, 40 years,” Charalambous said. “Everything is homemade. Our sandwich meat is fresh-sliced. We cook everything to order. It’s not precooked.”

Like many Spenard locations, Sofia’s is located in a converted house. Residents from the neighborhood have welcomed the restaurant, even providing landscaping help or clearing away snow, Charalambous said. Another neighbor recently swept gravel from the parking lot.

“Our whole success has been the neighborhood and word-of-mouth,” he said. “The people here have been super supportive.”

The restaurant is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Pho & Indian Restaurant: Rufino Guzman and his wife, Irma Martinez, opened this restaurant in South Anchorage in early March.

Guzman has several years’ experience working in kitchens that specialize in the Vietnamese soup and Indian dishes, including cooking at Pho Dimond in Anchorage.

Guzman uses a tandoor clay oven, roasting meat on long skewers or slapping dough onto the oven walls to make naan flatbread.

The chicken tikka masala is a customer favorite, along with goat or chicken vindaloo or curry, he said. So are the Vietnamese soups such as oxtail pho. Pho & Indian Restaurant also serve drinks like Thai tea, lassi made from yogurt and masala chai tea.

The couple, both 28, are from nearby towns in Oaxaca. They moved separately to Alaska several years ago to be with family, and met through mutual friends.

With a toddler at home, the couple borrowed money from relatives to open the restaurant, Guzman said. The owner of the business center where Pho & Indian is located, restaurateur Abraham Gallo, also helped with advice and information, he said.

“It’s a dream for me,” Guzman said of opening a restaurant — “an opportunity” for his family to be secure in life.

The restaurant is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. It stays open one extra hour for delivery, until 11 p.m.


The restaurant is located in the former digs of Jeepney Filipino Hawaiian Fusion Food. It’s on the north side of the business center at Old Seward Highway and Scooter Avenue, at 9191 Old Seward Highway, Unit 1.


Mrs. Fields: This cookie shop in the Dimond Center mall was set to close on Saturday.

Longtime franchisee Chris French said it’s a “bittersweet” end.

He spent 33 years of his life working at the Mrs. Fields shop, after starting at the age of 15.

He became the franchisee at 23, when the existing owners saw his commitment to the store and generously agreed to sell their rights.

French said he’s seen young customers grow into adults and bring their own children into the shop.


He’s attended customers’ funerals, births and weddings, he said.

“A lot of people helped along the way, a lot of good managers and employees, and there was a lot of love from the community,” he said.

The shop struggled after the pandemic, he said. Closures and a slowdown in foot traffic hurt sales. Inflation, delayed shipping, and increased competition for employees also contributed to the challenges.

French’s health is a factor, too. In recent years, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, preventing him from working at the shop. It stemmed from radiation treatment he received for childhood leukemia, he said. He’s optimistic that he’ll beat the brain tumor, he said.

“I got a great wife and great family to support me,” he said.

He said his time at Mrs. Fields was “wonderful.”

He doesn’t know what he’ll do next.

“When one door closes, another one opens,” he said. “Maybe something great will go into that space, and people will always remember those warm experiences they had there with their family.”

Two Seasons Meadery: This maker of honey wine closed this month after nearly five years in business.

The meadery had opened in South Anchorage months before the pandemic was declared in early 2020, said Riley Prestegard, one of five owners.

It fell victim to pandemic rules and shifting behaviors that kept customers out of taprooms and social gatherings, he said.

“It was bad timing on our part, dealing with a world-altering pandemic,” he said. “We also learned we are all really bad at marketing.”

Also, Prestegard said he believes many Anchorage residents are drinking less alcohol in recent years, in line with national trends.

While the taproom is closing, people will still be able to find Two Seasons Meadery products for the next few months at some outlets throughout Alaska, he said.

The company might evolve to offer a different type of meadery product for distribution in the future, he said.

“It happens,” he said of the closure. “It’s not economical to keep a business alive if it’s draining from everyone’s personal funds.”

The Body Shop: The U.K.-based skin care and cosmetics store has closed in the Dimond Center mall.

The closure is part of a broader shutdown of U.S. stores after the company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New York this month, according to news accounts.

The company owned several dozen stores in the U.S.

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