Midtown Denny’s closing amid crime, homelessness
A longtime Midtown chain restaurant is closing its doors this week, due to problems including an increase in nearby safety issues.
David Fickes, president of restaurant operator D of Alaska, Inc., said Tuesday that the Denny’s at Benson Boulevard and Denali Street will close Thursday after 44 years in business.
Although the immediate cause of the closure is the refusal of the landowners to renew the restaurant’s lease, Fickes criticized a rising tide of security problems in the Midtown corridor.
Last month, the Paris Bakery and Cafe downtown was burglarized and vandalized after its owners said a hostess offered a woman who appeared to be homeless meals to go rather than seating her. That encounter, which occurred on the same week as the Alaska Federation of Natives convention, prompted an online backlash accusing the restaurant of racism against Natives.
With the closure several years ago of a Denny’s on Dimond Boulevard off the Seward Highway, the chain’s only location in town will be the one at 3850 DeBarr Road in East Anchorage. The company also still operates “the northernmost Denny’s in the world” in Fairbanks, Fickes said.
About 33 Anchorage employees will be affected by Thursday’s closure. The company hopes to rehire them when it opens a new Anchorage restaurant to replace the one at Benson and Denali, although its location hasn’t yet been selected.
“It is our intention to keep everyone employed; whether they choose to come over is their decision,” Fickes said. “We have a bright, optimistic future in Anchorage, and we’re looking to be part of that future for the next 44 years.”
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