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Open & Shut: Two new restaurants and big retail closures

  • Author: Annie Zak
  • Updated: April 10
  • Published January 13

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 its doors in the area, send a note to reporter Annie Zak at


Chicken Shack: This fast-casual restaurant is planned to open around the end of February or in early March at 1443 W. Northern Lights Blvd., across the road from Northern Lights Center mall, said owner Shana Whitlock. Fried chicken will be the mainstay — including an option for local chicken — but you'll also find other dishes there, as well as beer and wine.

Whitlock said she's been putting off the opening a bit, but the space should be ready to go in the near future.

"As far as opening, the construction has been — it's a really massive project," she said.

A former executive chef at Sacks Cafe in downtown Anchorage, Whitlock said she came up with the idea for Chicken Shack when she owned Torchon Bistro. (Torchon is now closed and Sacks recently merged with Crush Wine Bistro and Cellar.) Now, after a few years, she said it's finally coming to fruition.

People work on renovations at the Chicken Shack, a new restaurant in Spenard, on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

Smashburger: A new Smashburger at 1451 E. Parks Highway in Wasilla had its grand opening Wednesday. It's the Colorado-based company's second location in Alaska, following the opening of its Anchorage restaurant in 2016.

Yet another location of the fast-casual restaurant is planned for Alaska. Sandi Larson, one of the owners of the local Smashburgers, said the exact spot for the third one is not yet confirmed. The company has nearly 400 locations around the country and abroad.


Fabulous Frocks: A bridal boutique that was located at 1441 W. Northern Lights Blvd. has apparently closed. The storefront was dark and mostly empty on Friday afternoon, and a "for lease" sign was propped up in the window. The shop carried designer sample gowns, according to its Instagram page. The owner wasn't reachable Friday.

Sears and Sam's Club: January has been a big month so far for news about large retailers closing. Sears in Midtown Anchorage will shut its doors in April and all three Sam's Club locations in Alaska will close later this month. You can read our coverage of both companies' plans here and here.

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