Bradley House restaurant dies death by a thousand Anchorage government cuts - Must Read Alaska
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Wednesday, October 20, 2021
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Bradley House restaurant dies death by a thousand Anchorage government cuts

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For Bernie Bradley, owner of the Bradley House restaurant, the December shutdown of restaurants in Anchorage was the final straw. By order of former acting mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson, restaurants had to close once again, and during their busiest season. For Bradley, enough was enough.

Bradley had already endured multiple sudden shutdowns and partial shutdowns during the pandemic year of 2020, and she’d spent over $100,000 of her retirement savings upgrading the health and safety protocols of her restaurant in South Anchorage, where summer-times on the deck are a coveted destination for Anchorage residents. She felt she had gone to extraordinary lengths to make the restaurant safe against the sticky and communicable Covid-19 virus.

Bradley House, like other restaurants in Anchorage, needed more workers since the mandates lifted. Bradley tried raising wages, but that wasn’t enough, since the government was paying people so handsomely to stay home and since by the time the December government edict came down, the workers had had enough of the ups and downs. Restaurants, under Anchorage government rules that were in effect this past winter, could not even seat enough people to make payroll, and tips were lean. Workers moved on to jobs that are more predictable.

“They didn’t have confidence in the industry, anymore. I couldn’t guarantee them that the Assembly wouldn’t shut us down again,” Bradley said.

It was death by a thousand government edicts and regulations.

“That is when I realized, ‘they are trying to kill our jobs.’ Right during Christmas, here they were totally focused on millions of dollar for the homeless and yet they sent thousands of hospitality workers into poverty,” Bradley said.

“I was silly to think the Assembly was reasonable,” she said. “I would send them pictures of our barriers and how we changed everything. They praised me for it but would not let me open. I could have required my customers to be in hazmat suits, and my staff in hazmat suits, but because my business was a restaurant it had to shut down. They didn’t care.”

The hospitality industry has been some of the hardest hit in America in 2020 and 2021, and while many workers survived on the extra unemployment checks that came courtesy of the federal government, the destabilization of the sector by government edicts has led some owners to reflect on just how vulnerable they are.

Bradley started working in the family restaurant when she was 9, just like Trina Johnson did at La Mex Restaurant, on King Street, not far from Bradley House. Johnson also closed her restaurant a few weeks ago, for the same reasons Bradley is closing — regulations were tough enough before Covid-19, but with the virus and the business disruption that followed, Johnson said it was time to end a long family business tradition.

Bradley and Johnson shared their concerns about the troubles that stand-alone restaurants are having, and Bradley decided it was also time for her to sell. The building, the liquor license, the land is all up for sale now. Restaurants like hers, she fears, will be a thing of the past. The ones in strip malls may fare better, she said.

The restaurant’s final day is July 28 25.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • The Marxists on the Assembly hate small business.

    • Yeah. Moose’s Tooth bought La Mex and will run a real restaurant. Someone will do the same with Bradley house. Lots of whining on here.

      • Brian,

        You leave me speechless..you feel no pain for those who have lost their businesses and savings….

        I feel sorry for you! You are one sad person!

      • Brian you obviously have never worked hard for your dreams in life. That was her life and family legacy. It is also a wonderful local restaurant, one that my friends and I enjoyed going to.

        • She’s going to sell it for a ton of cash and another restaurant will be successful there. Like Moose’s tooth crew mentioned above. That La Mex location will be busier than it’s been in two decades.

    • The marxists on the assembly just HATE period. Not just small business. In the end the conservatives will have had enough and rise up and crush these bastards. We are about to find out who the cowards are.

  • ‘Restaurants like hers, she fears, will be a thing of the past.’ Sadly, only the big chain government endorsed megacorporations will survive-those big enough to pay off the politicians to squash any competition.

  • It’s a fake pandemic. Wake up.

    • Those will be your dying words. Kind of like playing in traffic. Very sad for the rest of us to see you go this way.

      • No, Melody, your own uncritically-thought, pro-authority, pro-Establishment mindset and words are the REAL dying words — the words of a dying society, and of dying freedom. All due to your inability and/or unwillingness to stand up to corrupt and self-serving authority. “Quisling” and “bootlicker” would be better names for you.

      • If he gets it there’s about a .2%-.4% chance of death depending on age could be higher if he’s a senior. Did you know that only about 2.5%-3% of people who contract covid are hospitalized? Odds are it’ll likely not be his dying words no matter how much you wish them to be.

    • That’s right. And the people pushing this giant power grab don’t care because those who rule are stupid. Any excuse to steal, bully, or enslave. That’s what we are facing in this extended crises of government and private villainy.

  • It’s never been about Covid. It’s always been about establishing a new social order.

    The Assembly gives less than a damn about public health. Their concern is about public and economic control

    • You’ve got that right.

  • What a loss. This was/is a great restaurant owned and operated by a fantastic family. Terrible news.

  • If these restaurant operators have the spirit to try again under a more reasonable local government and business friendly community, the Mat-Su has had a great restaurant success rate for the past 50 years. Many Anchorage citizens are fleeing Anchorage like Californians fleeing that mess, and I hate to see my beloved Mat-Su turn into another city, but if everybody is going to come here, it would be nice if they got fed without all the long lines. During the Anchorage shut downs, our restaurants stayed open, and we noticed the Anchorites coming out here to get something to eat. An example would be Sonics, a franchise who opened in Wasilla without opening in Anchorage first, a surprising new entry approach. Their popularity remains high, especially with Anchorites passing through Wasilla for parts north. Even during the week the drive thru during lunch time is often too long to navigate.

    • When I drive to my place in TKA I make a point not to spend a dime in Wasilla. Worst stretch of road in Alaska. Although a trip to Fred’s for a potty stop yields and interest view of the swamp creatures in sweat pants.

      • Imagine being a grown man who uses the word potty.

    • Mat-Su, like Alaska, is going to fail. Palmer already had. The infestation of Anchorageites bringing their politics with them will sink the valley.

      Don’t kid yourself otherwise.

  • I tried to tell people to disobey illegal orders, but alas almost no one did. We have no one to blame but ourselves. Americans are by and large Sheeple.

    • Mongo, Please give us an example of how YOU disobeyed the government mandates, so we know your not just blowing hot air!!

      • Well, John, I, for one, refused to wear the Mask of Conformity and Stupidity in every place that mandated it. It was not even really that hard. It’s amazing what having a bit of a spine can do for upholding freedom and challenging blind and corrupt authority. The fact that you doubt that others can or would do so sadly says nothing very good about you.

        • Have you been banned from Alaska Airline yet? Have you been to the Dr’s office yet?

  • Restaurants, hair salons, movie theatres, and churches. They were in the crosshairs from the beginning. Restaurants, taverns, and hair salons always have had high private ownership, usually sole proprietors. This was all by design. Keep people out of their churches too. So sad.

  • “That is when I realized, ‘they are trying to kill our jobs.'” This is the single most damning and shocking statement in this piece, in my opinion, precisely because it’s spot-on true. If anyone should feel more ashamed of the job they did in slitting the throat of the Anchorage economy, it should be these buffoons who parade around in Kabuki masks over at the Assembly. Just once, I’d pay to see a government entity suffer as much at its own hands…financially and otherwise…as the general law-abiding public has at the ludicrous whim and inexcusable fiat of the Anchorage legislators. Thank God I do not live in that city. These business owners never deserved a premature burial because of spite, wrong-headed bureaucratic theory, infantile tantrums, and a disgraceful spectacle of idiocy on full display. Sadly, even with the election of Bronson, no part of this job- and business-killing spree will end, because even now, the Assembly members remain up late plotting and scheming the next keystone of Anchorage business being removed so that the last vestiges of success can sail away like its tourism profit. Pathetic.

    • Spot on, Barry, spot on. I hold out hope for Bronson, though I have no reason to, other than faith. Perhaps next election cycle we can pry a few of the monsters out of the tower.

    • Or it could be that health professionals across the nation know what they are talking about. Who knows, could be wild conspiracies or…

      • Yes, definitely, Jason…”health professionals across the nation” have not been wrong during this pandemic so far and the CDC, WHO, NIH, et al, have been so on the ball that we should all just simply lay down and become the health officials’ doormats and pin cushions for their countless vaccinations to come. By all means, Jason, let’s always just assume that all health organizations and professionals being paid or supported by our corrupt government officials by way of our tax money are always right, even when they disagree. In fact, let’s just take all the non-corroborating data from all these organizations, mass them together in a mish-mosh of information and demand that everyone, without questioning the almighty officials, simply shut down their businesses, go home and cut their wrists because of the big, bad, ugly Delta variant that’s lurking around every corner and under every rock. Yes, Jason, let’s give up and trust anyone with a paycheck or grant money from our esteemed never-wrong government.

        • How dare you have an unapproved opinion.

      • Ah, yes. The logical fallacy of appealing to expertise.
        .
        News flash here Jason:
        The experts are just as human as you and I are, and are just as susceptible to error. Oh, and let’s not forget bias, prejudice, and influence.
        .
        Ask yourself one question. If you were a health professional, would to risk your career and reputation and go against the CDC, or the President’s COVID task force, even if you knew they were full of it?
        .
        And, what about these “professionals” you speak of? Do you think that Fauci and Birx are not motivated in any way by politics? Do you think they are not motivated by the appeal of fame?
        .
        Oh, I know… they are following the science, right? If you actually think that, you do not have any idea of what exactly science really is.
        .
        Stupid, uninformed people accept what experts tell them without question. Intelligent people ask questions, and challenge assumptions.

  • Many people during the height of the pandemic may have felt more comfortable in public spaces if people were vaccinated, wore a mask and socially distanced without all the political bantering and fighting. Some people just stopped going to places that politics took over sensibility. Was there CARES money for hospitality and restaurants in Anchorage? There seemed to have been a pretty good sum of CARES $ available or doesn’t that apply to Anchorage establishments? And then the J-1 Visa student program that didn’t come this year contributed to hospitality shortages. J-1 has taken precedent over local hire in the past, so did that cause employers to be caught short handed too?

  • I have never felt more threatened as a Free Man than I do today.
    WE allowed the government to destroy whole sectors of our economy – the true outcome of this is yet to be felt.
    Despite my doctor telling me I shouldn’t take the gene therapy (it’s not a vaccine) because I have anti-bodies from having gotten covid – I’m supposed to listen to Biden, BigPharma, Fauci, and CNN and get the experimental Emergency Use Authorization gene therapy – or I can’t fly, go to work, shop – exercise my rights as a free person in a free society???
    When have we EVER had censorship of legitimate opposing voices on any issue before?
    The gross censorship of immunologists, virulogists, and other doctors who have opposing views relative to the safety and efficacy of this gene therapy – is frightening…
    Sic Semper Tyrannis!

    • Move.

      • Oh, so that’s the answer. If we don’t want to live under the capricious rules of a bunch of wanna-be tyrants, if we want to be responsible for our own lives and not be shamed into thinking that we have to surrender our autonomy for the sake of a bunch of whining germophobes, if we want to be left alone to live in peace, we have to move. Where, pray tell, do we move TO to escape this idiocy? Here’s an alternative. If you want to live under tyranny like a lost little sheep, you move. There are plenty of options.

        • otherwise know as a civilized society.

          • What you really mean, Brian, is the brainless and spineless mass of conformist sheep who would prefer to allow so-called “experts” to run every detail of their pathetic and miserable lives. There is nothing ‘civilized’ about a herd of sheep.

      • You are part of the problem, and shockingly ignorant. Keep your mouth shut and it might be less noticeable…though I doubt it.

  • The Anchorage Assembly left wing hate-filled group, austin quinn davidson, chris constant, felix rivera, forrest dunbar, meg zaletel, suzanne lafrance, all of whom tried so hard to destroy Anchorage, should be criminally prosecuted. Add to that list the uber weak and passive threesome pete peterson, john weddleton and kameron perez-verdia who sat by doing and saying nothing.
    What this group did to our beautiful city, local businesses and citizens is outrageous. The Bradley House, as well as the many other local businesses who have already been forced to shutter their doors are the Assembly’s victims as much as the employees who lost their livelihoods and the many patrons who spent time and money in their establishments.
    These irresponsible assembly members should be run out of town.
    We are so angry.

  • This is what occurs when the far left is in control, destruction. This isn’t a pandemic either its a bad a** cold that can kill if you are not proactive about your personal health. Be prepared for a big spike in infections this week with the left close behind yelling for more lockdowns, I have a message for the left: Stay home and shut it, we got this.

  • It is so despicable. Restaurants in the matsu valley were only closed for that short statewide lockdown period and have been open ever since with no covid transmission crisis. The collectively blind Anchorage assembly shows their true colors and have zero regard for small business.

    And as part of the bigger ‘entitlement for power’ machine, squashing small business fits nicely with the Marxist power plan and garners that coveted dependence they count on for more desperate votes of survival.

  • The Anchorage assembly has created a cesspool, through self serving egotism.
    It began with Berkowitz. Yup, look in the mirror, again.

  • The virus didn’t kill Anchorages businesses, the socialist democrat assembly did.

  • So sad. MANY other non-chain restaurants are in trouble. Hey AQD, where am I supposed to eat when in Anchortown? – the place Ethan owns? Not.

  • Bradley said last year she borrowed from her retirement fund to help cover restaurant expenses.

    About $600,000 in federal pandemic grant funding, offered through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund under the Small Business Administration, helped her pay off that debt to herself, she said.

    The money also allows her to provide severance packages to her workers. And she’ll return much of the money to the federal government, she said.

  • Alaska Government is doing the same to the oil and gas industry. Alaska’s oil and gas businesses are experiencing death by a thousand government cuts, somebody please save Alaska’s free enterprise system!

  • Wait she took 600,000 in federal money? So then why did she close?

    • You understand she still had to pay her bills and payroll regardless of being open or not. She also said it cost over $100k to do the necessary upgrades to operate for covid.
      Life is expensive and so is running and operating a business.

  • “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” – Ronald Reagan

    • Except when it’s the military.

      • The military is a constitutional function, unlike almost all of the other federal spending.

      • 2001 called it wants its talking point back

  • The bar/restaurant may be closing for additional reasons:

    They may be suffering from poor business due to sane folks not going out;
    They may need better food;
    The attitude is that they know better than the world what is safe – they don’t;

  • It’s never wrong in Alaska to blame government when a business fails. Government is so large and so removed from capitalism that the day a business is born government puts a rubber band around its balls. State of Alaska government is the best example, but municipal government is a special case. In Juneau, Homer, Anchorage and many other munis government has become involved in so much (health care, feeding everyone, child care, fireworks, chickens, etc. etc.) that being on the assembly is a full time, pretty much unpaid job. And one has to expose all their personal finances to run, by law! So retired bureaucrats who spent their career impeding business tend to run for assembly and too often win. At the same time Alaska restaurants are under cost pressure and there is little to no price elasticity, at least for the many Alaska restaurants that charge $20 or more for warmed up Costco food! We will see many more restaurants fail during the coming few years, more than usual that is.

    • Sure most saw news article about how navy officers are trained well in “woke,” but not in naval ships. It is getting much worse under the dictatorship of Joe and Kamala. My problem is we have no one defending out constitution, liberties and freedoms.

  • I liked Bradleys because they tried to accommodate smokers. Unfortunately small businesses can’t afford to provide benefits like health care and leave to maintain a stable workforce. Covid accelerated what was already a shrinking labor supply. This is a complex problem which will not be solved by attacking public safety.

  • Well! That’s the way the cookie crumbles when you allow others determine your life by writing out what will be your choices for you, instead of you.

    Bradley made too many allowances for the city, state, and federal government it couldn’t afford.

    • That’s the way the bee bumbles.

      Thank you for trying, Bernie and Trina. Anything we can get you aside from a recall of the Anchorage Assembly?

  • People in government will never understand what it takes to stay in business and making a profit is job # 1.

  • We all want to think government politicians are reasonable – they aren’t – most don’t give a damn – covid has done irreputable damage to the country, the citizens and to business. Can only imagine what the restaurants went thru, buying supplies then shut down, letting them reopen and buying supplies and then shut down again repeated. It is hard to find a good restaurant to go eat at – many have closed. Most politicians it seems don’t run businesses that depend on workers and customers. Government workers are paid whether they sleep at their desks or play games on the computer all day so the pain the businesses feel is nothing to them. Covid shut down was control – total control – fauci stated the we must comply – that kinda gets my back up. There are no accurate number of covid cases, fauci wouldn’t allow people to take hydroxychloroquine because Trump had used it and it worked – later they back tracked but how many died when they could have taken something so simple. Government does not work for us, it works to control us and they are paid no matter what are you.

    • My two favorite definitions of government:
      .
      1) Government is a disease masquerading as its own cure;
      .
      2) Government is the means by which every citizen endeavors to exist at the expense of every other citizen.

  • I ate there once. The food was horrible. Maybe that has something to do with it.

  • Do you have the same contempt for the government when it concerns out military. After all they take $.50 of every one of your tax dollars.

    • Brian, is this an example of the “whataboutism” that I hear radical extremist leftists such as yourself constantly railing about? What does the military have to do with an out-of-control and viciously authoritarian municipal assembly?

  • If these businesses take federal money to stay open but then close anyway.. do they need to pay that money back? I mean gee whiz that’s a lot of money that the younger generations are going to have to pay back. It’s not free money.

  • I just asked my Dr what I should do. He recommended getting the vaccine because of its effectiveness. Same thing I do for all my medical needs. Cool story tho

  • Of which shes selling for a pretty penny to another party to run a restaurant. FWIW I’ve been in business for 25 years. Still here.

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