Juneau business owners hope for the best as Alaska closes bars, dining rooms

Devils Club Brewery in downtown Juneau. (Photo by Adelyn Baxter/KTOO)

Starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday, eating and drinking establishments throughout the state will have to stop dine-in service.

The health mandate announced by the state Tuesday instructs all bars, breweries, restaurants and other eating establishments to close dining areas and tasting rooms, and encourages them to instead offer delivery service or to-go orders. The mandate is in effect through at least April 1.

“I think we’ll be able to ride it out. I mean, it’s definitely going to affect us and a lot of the small businesses in town, but we can stay optimistic,” said Lionel Uddipa, owner and chef at Red Spruce, a global street food eatery inside Forbidden Peak Brewery in Auke Bay.

They’ll be offering pickup and delivery service and posting daily menus on social media. Wednesday features mushroom korma and spicy brisket stew.

“We deliver pretty much anywhere in the Valley. All the way up to Fred Meyer,” Uddipa said. “But if we get calls from Lemon Creek and, like, the Twin Lakes area, we won’t say no.”

He said they’re open to deliveries in other parts of town too. Many local restaurants are moving to a similar model.

Devil’s Club Brewery started offering 20%-off discounts to anyone willing to order food to go earlier this week. Co-owner Evan Wood said that was meant to encourage social distancing.

Now that the tasting room must close, they’ll drop the discount but continue offering growlers and food to go, starting with pizza night tonight.

“We’re being as nimble as possible and adjusting every day to try to stay as stay as busy as possible and keep people employed, while making sure that we’re being safe to the community,” Wood said.

Devil’s Club has an online store where people can buy merchandise to support the brewery. Many businesses have encouraged customers to purchase gift cards they can use when things eventually reopen.

“The gift cards are a really, really good way of supporting local businesses in these times,” Wood said. “So, money you might have been spending at them anyways down the road. And if you can give that money to us now, it’s going to really help us float through this time of extreme adversity.”

Bars owners have less options than breweries and restaurants right now. Leeann Thomas is a third-generation owner of the Triangle Club Bar downtown. She said she’s trying to stay positive and research options for keeping her staff on the payroll.

Thomas plans to keep them busy right now with deep-cleaning the bar.

The health mandate also requires all entertainment venues to close, including theaters, gyms and bowling alleys.

The restrictions do not apply to grocery or convenience stores or soup kitchens.

KTOO is putting together a Juneau restaurant guide with information for customers who want to order takeout or delivery during the dine-in suspension. Business owners and managers can submit ordering instructions here.



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