Going out with a fight: Bradley House owner takes stand against Assembly with petition, even as she goes out of business this week


Bernie Bradley was sitting at the front door at high-top at Bradley House Restaurant, sipping a Coke as customers streamed through the door on Tuesday night.

In front of her, she had a petition and a map of Anchorage neighborhoods.

“Do you live in Meg Zaletel’s district?” she would ask customers who were coming through the door to dine at her well-loved establishment, just five days before she shuts her doors for good.

She was picking up dozens of signatures on the petition to recall Zaletel from the Anchorage Assembly.

Zaletel and other left-wing members of the Assembly are who Bernie holds responsible for having to shut her restaurant’s doors. Due to the numerous government mandates and shutdowns of restaurants over the past year, she can’t get workers to help in the kitchen or to serve customers, and she’s emotionally exhausted by the whiplash of open-shut-and-limited-capacity mandates; she made the decision earlier this year that it was time to let it go.

Read: Bradley House restaurant dies death by a thousand government cuts

Bradley told Must Read Alaska she has sold the restaurant to another popular local restaurant owner, who she hopes will open up a new concept restaurant and continue the tradition in some respect, even if under a different name.

A lot of local history is ending this week. The Bradley House is on property that was purchased by Bernie’s parents in 1962. Her parents (Irish dad, Okinawan mom) moved the family house to the second level in 1964, and ran various businesses on the first floor, including a bar. That bar had the same liquor license she uses today. Her parents started Oriental Gardens restaurant officially in 1966.

“By the time my dad stopped building the restaurant had in addition to traditional dining areas….26 single table private dining rooms, 7 banquet rooms, 8 teppanyaki tables, a cocktail lounge with dancing & live music.  It was a 25,000 square foot building with seating for 700. It was a south Anchorage landmark for decades.  It burned completely in May of 1996,” she said.

Bradley House opened in 2000 and reactivated the Oriental Gardens liquor license. It was intended to be a bar with some greasy finger foods, “but South Anchorage customers made the concept change with affectionate tenacity.   the food, cocktails, flower beds, deck, waterfalls, changing menus, sound berm, summer outdoor food/bar service, restroom cleanliness, and much more…were repeatedly requested and the reward has been uncanny South Anchorage loyalty,” Bradley said.

Bradley House was packed on Tuesday night with every table full and people even sitting at tables under umbrellas on the deck in back as the rain came down, and the remaining wait staff was working orders as fast as they could. Customers were greeting Bradley and many seemed like they wanted to be there to support her during her final week in the restaurant business after a lifetime of restaurants.

The final night for Bradley House is July 25, 21 years after Bernie Bradley raised a destination restaurant from the ashes of the old Oriental Gardens.


  1. Wonder if Meg is happy. Another business destroyed, people at least temporarily out of work, a family tradition dead.

    Best of all, a part of “old Anchorage” dead and gone. Making way for the new socialist utopia.

    Yeah, Meg is happy. This is exactly what they were striving for.

      • I’m with Frank on this one. Other places have suffered the same restrictions and have survived. Bernie probably could have persisted, especially if all those who showed up for the closing ceremonies were dedicated clientele. This looks more like sour grapes with the recall petition being the bowl of grapes.

  2. Grew up off of O’Malley in the 60’s and 70’s, Oriental Gardens was our family’s favorite restaurant.

  3. This makes no sense. She blames the MOA because her restaurant is struggling, yet she sells it to someone else to run a restaurant. Doesn’t add up. Sounds like she wanted to retire but wants sympathy on her way to the bank.

    • Don’t be a Richard. The MOA assembly
      Worked hard to kill small business. Get in the bread line, it is what awaits you. Hope you are fond of government cheese and plant-based protein. Bacon will be next off your list.

    • You haven’t been paying attention, have you? Read the article again. Read the other article about this restaurant that is mentioned (with a link). The Anchorage ASSembly is directly responsible for this. They’ve basically bankrupted this restaurant and others. Someone else with more money than sense is willing to try to make a go of it. (Maybe a chain which can afford the loss…who knows). The other article explains that many restaurants are having a hard time finding employees, not just because of the lucrative unemployment (that should be running out soon), but because the Anchorage assembly keeps closing the restaurants or changing the rules, which causes the restaurants to lose business, which causes them to cut staff and/or their hours so they can’t make a living. Seriously…the only thing that doesn’t add up is your inability to read past the headline.

    • 2021-2020= 21 years in the business. I’d say she knows how to run a restaurant.
      The Math:
      (Edicts+Closures)/Gov. supported labor shortage – Supply Chain Issues = 0.
      New owner sees opportunity old one has been bludgeoned. Makes perfect sense to me.

    • Mrs Bradley HOPES the new owner will open a new concept restaurant. New concept could be anything from an Improv Theater to sectioning it off for pop-up restaurant spaces for aspiring chefs.
      The Assembly and the mayor are clearly to blame. Berky gave restaurants less than 24 hours to shut down. Many had just purchased food for St. Patrick’s day, anticipating higher volumes of guests. Some food you simply can’t store. Then the “2 week” closure to “flatten the curve” morphed into months. This was followed by the open 25 %, 50% nonsense, then back to closed completely or the absolutely asinine “outdoor” dining only, in the middle of winter.
      I believe that without those ineffective non-scientific shut-down orders, we would have done about the same on the virus numbers (see the valley numbers, which were over all the same in cases per capita as the Muni) but our economy would not have taken such a big hit. Yes some restaurants would have closed because of reduced visitors, but most would have adjusted and weathered this pandemic.

      • My business, McGinley’s Pub, was shut down the day before St. Patrick’s Day and have not been able to re-open since, although we are still looking at options. We got shut out of CARES money because they ran out before getting to our application. PPE money only gave us debt since we couldn’t get employees that would qualify us for debt forgiveness. Our local government was more concerned about buying buildings for the homeless than helping the engine of our economy, small business. In short, unscientific government edicts assassinated the restaurant and bar business here and across the country. You can jam people onto an airplane and the big box stores never got closed but small businesses got shuttered. Let’s hope our new mayor can restore some sanity.

        • Great Reply Mayor Dan. Let’s get some candidates that will turn Anchorage around. Bernie wasn’t ready to retire, it was the socialist assembly more interested in lining their pockets, hiding under helping the homeless and shutting down small businesses that created this monster.

        • There would have been an extra $69 million for business relief, but it had to go to your disastrous SAP accounting system. The worst Contract ever executed by MOA under your watch

    • Her business was destroyed….along with many others and you gaslight? None of anyone’s business how she sold! I never knew the Oriental Garden connection. A well loved local establishment destroyed along with Peggy’s Cafe, for just one more example among dozens!

    • Running a restaurant under normal conditions is extremely hard work. Trying to run a restaurant with your local government changing the rules every week is crazy. Trying to run a restaurant with insufficient staff impossible. Try working for a living, Brian, then you can criticize others. .

    • I’m sure she’s selling it for less than it would be worth today were it not for Covid-mania. At the same time someone else, perhaps with more financial resources, is able to buy it at a discount. Bernie Bradley very likely did not come out ahead in this transaction.

      There’s an old saying: “Crises don’t destroy wealth; they merely redistribute it.”

  4. I wish there was a like button on these articles – for both articles and comments.
    Sad story. Entrepreneurs take the risk while politicians never miss a paycheck.

  5. We love eating at Bradley House, it’s one of so few places to dine outside with beautiful flowers and great company. Please stop destroying small businesses. I fear we are losing the soul of our nation. We must stop the slow progression this State and this Country is making towards Socialism! Wake up, Alaska.

    • Wait a minute! Isn’t socialism what’s supposed to keep these places going? Isn’t capitalism what’s supposed to glean the losers from the pack of contenders? How is this socialism? Because the city didn’t give money to the business?

      • It is socialism when the government aka our assembly and mayor get to meddle with how you run your business, get to shut you down without due process and threaten you with punishment for wishing to make your own business decisions. The city didn’t suggest that restaurants and bars limit their hours of operation. They flexed their muscle and shut people down “to keep people safe”. The typical one size fits nobody arrogance that assumes they know better what is good for everyone.
        If we would have followed a capitalist path, the Muni would have advised and informed about the virus. Then each restaurant/bar owner and their staff could have decided on a course of action. This approach would have also allowed customers to decide were they stand with this disease. Some businesses would have decide to close and others stay open to weather the storm, but it would have been their decision. The muni didn’t respect individual freedom, they demanded and enforced blind compliance.

        • Well and wonderfully stated, AFH!
          Indeed, the hallmark of radical leftist statism is the demand for absolute compliance to simplistic and science-denying one-size-fits-all mandates. It is always, ALWAYS about coercion, mandates, and the heavy arm of government with radical leftists. Always!

    • Frank, Do you really think that what the Owner has said about losing money, not being able to adequately staff her business and the problems she has had with the assembly’s actions constitutes pumping up her business? Doesn’t sound like a good marketing scheme to me.
      Or is it that you and Brian have no empathy for a widow who has spent decades trying to maintain a nice place for friends to meet and dine, only to have a few on the assembly to impose draconian regulations that have driven many businesses to close their doors.

  6. Brian. It may be you that has an issue with sympathy. My guess is that you have never been in this restaurant nor have a clue how the restaurant business works. The on again off again decisions by those on the Assembly cost all restaurants and other small businesses beyond your narrow comprehension.
    The very last thing the owner of the Bradley House wants is to sell the place. But when she cannot get or keep help because so many people are being paid so much for not working she, like many others face unprecedented challenges. And these issues will undoubtedly reduce the value of her business. Her successor will
    have the same problem:
    No, Brian, the owner does not want sympathy. And she certainly does not want to retire. She wanted fairness and consistency from her elected officials. She got neither.

  7. It’s the primary function of liberal regimes to eliminate private business. Only in that way can all employment be by government.

    People who have no other place to work will do those jobs and be mere serfs – beholden to “their betters”. Unless, of course government can magically print free money without touching off Argentina-Style inflation.

    Oh, have you noticed grocery and fuel prices lately? If you have (noticed) then, ask any liberal, you’re an urban terrorist!

  8. Seems to me she was tired of spending tens of thousands of dollars to appease the commies at the moa. Along with the added stress. Who wants that?
    She probably just wanted the government off her back so she could run a business.
    I’m not a business owner myself but I’m to the opinion that Anchorage is not a business friendly city.

  9. Common decency, the sake of doing the write thing because it is so obviously to see that is what to do. Look at our city state and country. I tell you what it is all for the cameras of the cameras and by the cameras. It’s not about taking your oath and doing your constitution duty nope. It’s not about putting your hand on the Bible saying so help me GOD. It’s not about for the people of the people by the people. Look at what all our oath takers have done to our democracy. Give to the cameras what are the cameras but render to GOD what is GODs is that what Jesus would say today. All oath takers stop it all now and do the construction I beg you.

  10. The muni could have helped small business, but it didn’t. The people then spoke with their votes and at least some element of the muni management has been changed. If enough people feel the way this owner feels, then this politician may face a recall (depending on the ethics of the muni gatekeepers and whether or not they allow the legal process to proceed).

    • The muni didn’t have money to give to businesses. There’s nothing in their budget that allowed for that. And how would they decide who was worthy? On the other hand, if you were to feel a sense of personal responsibility to the restaurant, you could contribute whatever amount you wanted to assure its continued success.

      • and yet they found money to get the city further into the real estate game (probably so they can receive kick backs on the back end and get their friends and family cush jobs and contracts)funny how that works during the “worst pandemic in 100 yrs.” instead of hiring nurses they buy buildings and lock the plebs down. #leadership

      • Hmm I seem to recall $156 million of CARES funds arriving in the city coffers. Their purpose was to help small businesses and governments affected by the pandemic. If I remember correctly about $6 million went into a lottery system for small businesses. Some funds were used for the faux mayor’s food voucher program. You could only redeem vouchers at high priced places like the Natural Pantry. The rest was massaged and shuffled around, until it was sufficiently laundered to be able to buy a bunch of buildings for the homeless. As an aside Felix Rivera made it abundantly clear that he expected any funds for small businesses to meet his “equity” standard.

  11. Q The Municipality decided to spend the money meant for small businesses for their own agenda. Get used to plastic food, you voted for these clowns. Wanna buy my restaurant?

Comments are closed.