The international chain will move into the old Rumrunners Bar & Grill location in Downtown Anchorage
ANCHORAGE - Downtown Anchorage will be the new home of an international chain restaurant: The Hard Rock Café.
“Hard Rock is one of those brands that really goes into destination places. For Anchorage, it’s really exciting, it says we’re one of those destinations,” said Visit Anchorage President Julie Saupe.
The restaurant will replace the Bear Paw Bar & Grill, which opened over the summer. It’s a big move for a small downtown, but neighboring businesses don’t mind.
“I’m not concerned with it being a big chain,” said Jackie McClam, who works at Once in a Blue Moose. “I think it will shake up things a little bit. I think everything is going to go well. I think they’re going to do great here.”
Saupe said Hard Rock executives are working to make sure the Anchorage location reflects the Last Frontier.
“It’s not necessarily cookie-cutter. They do personalize and customize and they’re really working hard to make sure they do Alaska right for Hard Rock,” Saupe said.
Business at a lot of Downtown shops slows down during the off-season, so they’re hoping Hard Rock will bring more locals to the area when the tourists leave.
“That will be huge,” said Katie Sevigny, owner of Sevigny Studio. “Anchorage eats up any new restaurant, especially something they’re used to seeing over and over on TV.”
Downtown is getting a sort of restaurant renaissance with the Haute Quarter Grill opening soon and Fat Ptarmigan Pizza opening Monday.
“Portland is kind of known as a foodie town; it would be kind of neat if Anchorage would move in that direction where we have art and really good food. I think people would start enjoying the downtown a little bit more,” Sevigny said.
The Hard Rock Café is tentatively scheduled to open in spring 2014. The restaurant has several job openings posted on its website.