Matanuska Brewing Co. vows to be good neighbor in old Brown Bag Sandwich spot
The owners of Matanuska Brewing Company say they are opening another location at the former Brown Bag Sandwich Co. in downtown Anchorage.
Brown Bag’s owners made the decision to shut down the 535 Third Avenue location in June 2018, after a string of public incidents relating to the restaurant’s nighttime clientele.
The business’ neighbors reported that excessive noise, vomit on the sidewalks, public urination, vandalism and frequent police responses had became regular occurrences in the weeks and months leading up to the closure.
Tensions came to a head in May 2018 when one person was tased and four arrested soon after the bar closed one night.
Matt Tomter is one of three owners of Matanuska Brewing Company and says he’d heard Brown Bag’s owners weren’t interested in being good neighbors, but he doesn’t want to operate that way.
"We’ve sent a letter to everyone who lives around there," Tomter said. "We talked to tons of the local residents that live right there and invited them over to have a sit down. Invited them over to our midtown restaurant to see what we do and we’ve got support from the local community there to come in. They want a good operation there. And they want something that turns that street corner into something nice, you know. And that's exactly what we are going to do."
Local resident and business owner Russ Reno is optimistic about the addition.
"I think it will bring more businesses in to some of these buildings that are empty,” Reno said. “They don't have businesses in here so I think it’s going to be a huge uptake for Third Avenue in this area."
Matanuska Brewing Company’s brewery sits on a three-acre campus at the former Matanuska Maid Dairy building in Palmer. Tomter and the two other owners also own restaurants in Eagle River and Midtown Anchorage.
"We’ve got a history of showing up and starting up an operation, a place that maybe has been sitting vacant or not doing well for a while and then turn it around," Tomter said. "That's what we've done pretty much everywhere we go. We did it in Eagle River, it was a restaurant that was doing OK, not very well, we took it over and here we are. Same thing in Palmer, same thing here, same thing going downtown."
Tomter says their newest location will feature all of Matanuska Brewing Company's beers, a small high-end food menu and mixed drinks.
"We're just gonna operate responsibly, follow the rules and be good neighbors, listen to our neighbors and be a part of the community," Tomter said.
While the inside of the restaurant is expected to open in May, the outside patio deck is expected to be ready in early June. The restaurant will close before midnight.
Brown Bag's sandwiches are available at AK Alchemist at 103 Fourth Avenue in downtown Anchorage.
Earlier this month, the business announced that SteamDot Coffee in the Midtown Mall is also selling its products.
KTVA reached out to the owners of Brown Bag for comment but have not heard back.
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