ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - In early May, longtime Spenard Restaurant Momma O’s announced it was closing, permanently. But now, the restaurant has successfully reopened under a new owner who says he plans on keeping many things the way they were.
“Most everything is the same,” the new owner, Miguel Rodriguez, said. “Same recipes, the original recipes.”
And he should know, Rodriguez was, and still is, the head chef at Momma O’s. He worked at the restaurant for years before the closure.
“Miguel had been with me for a while, so we met after the closing and figured out a way for him to be able to purchase it,” said Momma O’s former owner Janice Johnson.
Johnson also owns Jackie’s Place in Spenard, and with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, she had to let one of the two go.
“I just couldn’t see how we were gonna do both restaurants,” she said. “It’s a lot of work.”
She added that she considered selling the space to someone else, but when she brought up the idea to Rodriguez…
“I said no, I’ll take it,” he said. “Just tell me what I have to do.”
Now with a fresh coat of paint on the walls, Momma O’s is officially reopened starting July 1, and while the old recipes are the same, Rodriguez is adding in a few of his own as well.
“I’m gonna create a couple plates like halibut tacos, shrimp tacos, a smoked salmon quesadilla,” he said.
It’s a win-win for Rodriguez. He gets to take over a longtime part of the Spenard Community, and he’s becoming a business owner, something he said he’s been working towards for a while now.
“When I was younger and coming to the United States, it was my dream,” he said. “And that’s happened now.”
And while the pandemic isn’t going anywhere just yet, he says he’s ready for whatever the future serves up.
“We have a lot of potential, a lot of good customers, and a lot of good food,” he said. “I want to make this restaurant Momma O’s again.”
Copyright 2020 KTUU. All rights reserved.