Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse celebrates 23 years in business in downtown Anchorage this month.


From humble beginnings to an eatery empire, it’s come a long way since the restaurant first opened in 1994.


Marketing director Cyndi Ramirez was one of Humpy’s first employees. She said they initially set out to be a small burger joint; they had a small staff and hand-wrote tickets.


The concept and the area have changed considerably since then.


“None of the parking garages were here, the Dena’ina wasn’t here. It was just City Hall and us,” Ramirez said.


Humpy’s was one of the first, big microbrew pubs in downtown and, Ramirez said that set the restaurant apart.


“Humpy’s kind of grew,” she explained. “As it grew, we had more ideas and more stuff to offer.”


Those offerings included “Flattop Pizza + Poll” and Bootleggers next door. Then they renovated the old Covenant House building across the street and brought in three new restaurants: Blues Central Speak Easy, the Rooftop Bar and Williwaw, which has become a major concert venue.


Jamie Boring, executive director for the Anchorage Downtown Partnership said the expansion shows commitment to the downtown corridor.


“The fact they invested downtown and maintained a different, but similar quality, excellent quality, speaks volumes to their success and ultimately has positively impacted downtown,” Boring said.


For Ramirez, the investments mean there’s something for everyone — whether it’s a burger and brew, upscale cocktail or a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar at brunch.


The restaurants are also working to be more involved in local events. Williwaw sponsors the Anchorage Downtown Partnership’s Live After Five concerts every Thursday night. Williwaw will also host the beer garden for the Anchorage Pride festival.


“The more you support the community, the more the community supports you,” Ramirez said. “So, being a part of it, and contributing and being more than just an Alehouse or a pool hall or concert hall, we want to give back and want to be out there and be a part of everything that’s going on in town.”