Judge: ‘Kriner’s must close’



The Anchorage Superior Court has ordered Kriner’s Diner to close in compliance with the mayor’s Emergency Order 15, and must not provide or facilitate any inside dining in the establishment at the corner of C Street and Fireweed Way.

Ruth Botstein, attorney for Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, said that the owners of Kriner’s Diner willfully and flagrantly stayed open even after the Berkowitz Administration taped a stop work order on the building and filed a lawsuit against the restaurant. Judge Eric Aarseth agreed, saying the mayor is within his rights to order all restaurants to close their indoor dining.

The attorney argued that Kriner’s could set up an outdoor seating area and that the owners have both political and economic remedies available to them.

She did not mention, nor did the Kriner’s lawyer point out, that other restaurants have not been able to set up outdoor seating because the Muni requires them to submit architectural drawings and post a bond, a process that is onerous and possibly will not be worth the return on investment.

The Kriner’s attorney, Blake Quackenbush, argued that the mayor was not evenly applying his orders for closure. He pointed out that gyms and canneries, also places where people congregate, were not closed. He also pointed out that the mayor has closed down streets for businesses to help some of them but not helped others.

Quackenbush argued that a reuben sandwich is not something that is a take-out item, and that C Street is not a place where one can establish outdoor dining, due to the busy intersection and high speeds.

He argued that the Muni has not established any correlation between this restaurant and the spread of COVID-19. He also said that the owners of Kriner’s Diner have the right to seek employment and that the constitution protects their right to economic liberty, the ability to enjoy the fruits of their own industry.

Quackenbush also said the mayor has financial interests in other restaurants around town, pointing out the unequal treatment that his client and other restaurants have received.

But the judge was not convinced. He said while the constitutional questions and the matter of fairness were being argued, the diner must close for the next 10 days because the Assembly has given the mayor vast powers during the COVID-19 emergency, and the mayor has issued an order that has the force of law, an argument the mayor has been making on talk shows friendly to his viewpoint.

Anchorage had 29 cases of the coronavirus newly diagnosed in the past 24 hours, about the same number as in mid-July. Many of the cases involved in the recent spikes have involved seafood workers at processing plants, but those were not closed by the mayor.

Judge Aarseth was particularly concerned that if Kriner’s Diner was allowed to operate, it would mean all other restaurants would follow suit, something he said was not good for the public health. About four restaurants had opened in support of Kriner’s — Wings and Things, Little Dipper Diner, Judy’s, and Jackie’s Place.

The code enforcers have been out and about slapping stop-work orders on restaurants and levying $600 a day fines.

The court system is closed and there have been no jury trials since March, and will not be any jury trials until November.


  1. The judge’s words are and should be enough for the citizens of Anchorage to unite to get rid of those who voted to give the Mayor these totalitarian powers. This is a shame. I support Kriner’s and hope they can make it through this. A community fundraiser, a Go Gund Me page or donations should be considered. The Mayor is out of control actually he has to much control! What would be the consequences if he defied the ruling and stayed open anyway!?

    I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees.

  2. Huh, violent criminals and drug dealers can’t get tried in local courts due to Covid but magically the mayor gets this “criminal” in front of a judge in a matter of days.

    • Spot on! …And the vagrants get a free pass on all of the misdemeanors they commit… The liberal part of the assembly and the mayor have no problem coming after individual taxpayers and business owners just trying to support their businesses and employees, but the homeless vagrants get catered to and not a ticket to be seen… except for a free meal and a bed…

    • The mayor got this in front of a judge? Check your facts. Who pushed for an early hearing? When you start defying the rule of law and rebel against elected officials, u promote mayhem and chaos. You can not pick and choose which laws to obey or you will promote lawlessness. Vote if you want change.
      I personally resent Kriners for recklessly exposing people to Covid. None of us want this virus. We all want it to die. The mayor is trying to protect citizens.
      Both my daughters are RNs on the hospital wards dealing with Covid patients. Last night my oldest came home clearly upset. Her patient with this virus died. She was the one holding his hand because the family was not allowed to be there.
      We are all restless and tired of restrictions. That does not give you the right to endanger others. Kriners should get creative. Take out, to go orders. Don’t they have a huge parking lot to promote outdoor dining, just like downtown?
      I listened to a man at Costco yesterday telling a tourist “ you can’t tell Alaskans what to do.” He was bragging that we won’t abide by restrictions during the pandemic. All I can say is Alaskans are tough and we survive our environment. However, we haven’t survived by being stupid. Ignoring simple precautions to avoid exposure Is simply ignorant, reckless and selfish.
      Lol, before all the cute comments about my opinion, Yep, My name is Karen.

      • Karen, we currently have a giant lab taking place in South Dakota with 250,000 unmasked old men (mostly) gathering. Let’s see what happens. My money is on nothing, no spike in hospitalizations or deaths (the only statistics that count).
        Human beings are a social animal defined by natural law, which trumps man made law. We need social contact. How many die needlessly from the effects of loneliness? Especially isolated elderly? How many are dying from illness because they fear entering hospitals? And how many will die of diseases missed by deferred screenings? COVID is a blip on the screen. It is a true disease, I have no doubt of that, but it is only one of many and current statistics are looking not nearly as severe as many other outbreaks weathered through recent years. If you fear, stay home. But don’t use your fears to remove liberty from others.

      • Go cry a river… it was never about stopping the virus it was to not overwhelm the Hospitals!! The hospitals are so underwhelmed that they are furloughing staff because they still can’t do the money making procedures that pay the bills and keep the lights on!! Herd immunity is how we have over come other viruses and it’s how we will over come this one!! If your afraid stay home that’s your right!! You are reckless and selfish for not care iv about the local businesses in your community instead of just keeping your butt at home where you can feel safe! Never in history have we told the healthy to stay home to avoid the sick usually it’s the other way around!! And the fact that the city would rather use money that was designated to help businesses stay afloat to take care of homeless that don’t want the help and that are underutilizing the resources that are already in place if they want help… they don’t … meanwhile the heart and soul of this city is being murdered because of 12 deaths in 6 months and a total of less the 40 hospitalization for the entire state!! We have lost more people to violence and car wrecks then to covid!!!

      • So one of your daughters was with the person who was recorded to have died and reported today?
        Did he die from the virus?
        If you are afraid of catching the virus, you should stay at home, as well as people who are most susceptible. You don’t get to tell the rest of the world how they must act. Who are you to do this? We have survived, as you say, but it has zero to do with the so called mandates, and that, is a fact. And humanity has survived several other viruses without all this hype and panic. The CDC itself says the virus has a 0.05% death rate. That’s hardly a pandemic, epidemic, or anything remotely close to it. Another fact, the head of the CDC stated 2 weeks ago that the lockdowns are killing more people than the virus. TB deaths will reach over 1.5 million because of the lockdowns, much higher than normal. So tell me, who is actually putting people in danger?

      • If you’re that paranoid about COVID, stay home and cower on the couch with your blankey, the rest of us would like to get on with our lives and live it freely like the Constitution says.

  3. Remember that judge’s name when he comes up for retention on the bench for Judgeship. the citizens of Anchorage should vote him out. We will take back this city.

  4. I say every restaurant set up their parking areas for dining. Rent tent canopies, throw in some of those cool standing heaters for cooler temps this Fall and ask patrons to park on the city streets. I for one will choose not to dine at any restaurant the illustrious mayor has a vested interest. Kriners has a nice paved area of parking right outside the door. I envision comfortable seating out there. We can walk for roadside parking!

    Sadly the poor mayor seems to have a serious common sense deficit along with well endowed pride – bad combo for doing the right thing.

    • Ditto. My wife just asked if I wanted Spenard Road House for dinner and I told her No Way was I ever going to spend any money in an establishment that benefits mayor Berky again.

  5. Looks like Mr Marxist wins round one but the battle isn’t over yet. I hope none of the other “freedom fighters” give up because of this sham of a ruling.

  6. I suspect Mr Marxist mayor is flexing his muscles on conservative republicans only. People who wouldn’t vote for him anyway

  7. ‘One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.’ Martin Luther King
    ‘If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.’ Thomas Jefferson
    ‘An unjust law is no law at all.’ Augustine
    ‘And because it may be too great a temptation to human frailty, apt to grasp at power, for the same persons, who have the power of making laws, to have also in their hands the power to execute them, whereby they may exempt themselves from obedience to the laws they make, and suit the law, both in its making, and execution, to their own private advantage…’ John Locke
    ‘When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.’ Bastiat
    ‘To any man whom we have deprived or dispossessed of lands, castles, liberties, or rights, without the lawful judgement of his equals, we will at once restore these.’ Magna Carta
    ‘An unjust law is itself a species of violence.’ Ghandi
    ‘Let us put it generally: if a regime is immoral, its subjects are free from all obligations to it.’ Solzhenitsyn

    The time fast approaches for citizens of the city, state and nation to decide how far we allow tyrants to deprive us of our liberties. In some cities true violence is now sanctioned, while in others citizens trying only to survive are oppressed. Restaurants in Anchorage are forbidden to serve clients while gatherings of (the politically favored) protesters are permitted and encouraged. When is it enough?
    In 1849 Henry David Thoreau wrote: ‘Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?’

    I do not have a horse in this race now, I choose to freely shop without a mask and eat in a restaurant. It is easy for me because several years ago I chose to no longer visit Anchorage as civil order in the city failed by the current mayor’s policies. I also vote with my dollars and will support the Kriners and politicians standing with them. The authoritarian despots must be stopped before we lose all of our liberty everywhere forever.

    • You failed to mentioned that Henry David Thoreau also stated that since Civil Disobedience is still against the law, the people exercising their moral obligation to not comply to law, must also be willing to submit the the penalties of violating the law. Kriner needs to accept his penalty for his strongly-felt moral objections to the mayor’s orders.

      • The battle is just begun. For how long will the citizens of Anchorage tolerate the tyranny of the minority? One progressive judge is not the law, nor can he even define it with his ‘feelings’. Kriner’s and the rest of Anchorage businesses, stand strong and defeat the despot. We are with you and support you. For those who sacrifice liberty for a false sense of security will have neither.

    • “”When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
      …But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
      Declaration of Independence 244 years, 1 month, 3 days ago.
      With respect, AK, you have a whole team of horses in this race.

  8. “Judge Aarseth was particularly concerned that if Kriner’s Diner was allowed to operate, it would mean all other restaurants would follow suit, something he said was not good for the public health. ”

    Did someone ask the judge for his unqualified opinion on public health?

    Stifling the economy and starving out restauranteurs must be acceptable though, eh? Any chance the shrimp was given a mandate to do something productive with the CARES Act money… aside from ratholing it in hopes of siphoning off a bunch for unintended uses?

    • “Judge Aarseth was particularly concerned that if Kriner’s Diner was allowed to operate, it would mean all other restaurants would follow suit, something he said was not good for the public health. ”

      Excuse me, judge, but what about THE LAW? How about doing your job and judging based on THE LAW and constitutionality of actions, not your feelings!

  9. Interesting to be able to get an injunction by a judge while other cases including child abuse are all on hold.

  10. Civil disobedience. This judge is a known liberal. Isn’t he the one that changed his mind, what 2 or 3 times on the recall effort?

    • The liberal judge appointed by Frank Murkowski. Who was an NRA Member? Yeah, ok champ. How’s your Countermand Convention going??

  11. Judge Eric Aarseth has abdicated his duty to fulfill his role of judge under the oath of office he swore to when he was appointed a judge. Each justice or judge of the United States shall take the following oath or affirmation before performing the duties of his office: “I, ___ ___, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as ___ under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.”

    So he is a lying piece of —, as is every judge that comes down on the side of the oligarchy of Anchorage that have suspended the Constitution of the US and of Alaska. The very basic premise of living in the Constitutional Republic that is our United States is living under the LAWS generated in COMPLIANCE to the rights given the INDIVIDUAL under the constitution. The assembly and mayor have formed an oligarchy to dictate how YOU must live your life. They will get around to YOU, you can count on that. This isn’t just about Andy Kriner, this is about the future of our Republic. Ethan Berkowitz is the lowest kind of scum, the devil’s own spawn. Selfish, egotistical, useless article that has caused our city to descend into a sewer.

    • “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

      ― C. S. Lewis

  12. Terrible, giving governors and mayors “vast powers” is just wrong. I hope the Kriners can keep fighting but its difficult when your tax dollars are being used against you. Berkowitz is a true tyrant seemingly drunk on his new found power.

    • Jim,
      You hit the nail on the head.
      Both the Anchorage Assembly and Alaskan Legislature are responsible for the tyranny we are seeing here today.
      I knew when the Legislature adjourned early and left “Emergency powers” in the hands of the Governor until November that we would be faced with mandate after mandate until the bitter end.
      Here it is 6 months later with less than 1 percent of the state currently infected and we are locking down the Anchorage economy once again?
      Sadly, all the government minions get their paychecks no matter how large the disruption is to the private sector. across the state.

  13. The Judge is not up for election until 2022. People will forget and there will be new voters voting and old voters no longer around. I believe that this Judge was appointed by Walker. So no one should be surprised by the decision.
    It is very unfortunate that Alaska’s judiciary has become a politically activist branch of government.

  14. Everyone is focused on Berkowitz. The feckless assembly, with the exception of the honorable representatives from Eagle River, voted to continue his powers. His orders are ineffectual without the assembly. Voice your frustrations to the assembly and remember their actions when you vote.

    • Concur. The Anchorage Assembly, minus the Eagle River Reps, are complicit in this inequitable, unconstitutional power grab by Mayor Berkowitz, Remember the name Forest Dunbar. One of the leading radical liberals on the Assembly and running for Anchorage Mayor next year. Make sure he fails in his attempt to extend the Berkowitz agenda another three years.

      • Yes one of the worst things you can do is to allow Dunbar, who is rude, inconsiderate, treats the people he works with like they are peasants and is just completely disrespectful useless idiot, god help anchorage if he is elected mayor.. I will sell my house and move to the valley!!! Dunbar has taken what little power he has gotten from the assembly and has abused every tax paying working citizen by treating them with such a level of distaste and contempt.,, it’s clear that he doesn’t realize that he works for us the people not the other way around! I’d rather someone like allayed run for mayor!!

  15. Unfortunately these people were voted in by like minded constituents. If our democracy is to survive we must vote. Keep your powder dry!

  16. If the judge is compromised in any way he needs to excuse himself. Fast track this to the Alaska Supreme Court and get Jay Sekulo’s group to look into this groups use of Covid funds to seed themselves for further wealth rather than help Kriner’s to make a living. We conservatives sit at home, bitch, and don’t vote. It’s why 7 out of 9 assembly persons are flat out progressive liberals. If you don’t vote, don’t complain. The left is.

  17. Show me proof that any restaurant has spread Covid. Those places that have spread it are the ones that should be shut down.

  18. Wasn’t Aarseth part of the “impeach Dunleavy” decision that gave the ‘impeachers’ the go-ahead? In any case, you can bet little ethan would have refused Aarseth’s jurisdiction or hearing if Aarseth did not lean to the left too. Walker and company and federal Obama acolytes now posing as federal judges, have distorted the legal system to the point of absurdity. When did the ass-embly receive the power to give the little guy absolute “rights” to trample citizens’ rights, like Aarseth says, with no justifying excuse, reason or evidence? I have always been under the impression that assemblies and councils existed to exercise their own constituents’ rights, opinions and beliefs equally. This mayor, assembly and “judiciary” is left, all the way to the AK ‘supreme’ court. Questionable decisions, political platitudes, quasi legitimate opinions. Publicly declared political prejudice from Alaskans’ last and most powerful defense. Our ‘legal’ system in action. Those hard left turns are tough on the rest of us.

  19. Let’s work the logic of this judicial decision. The Assembly gave the mayor broad powers during COVID 19. The mayor used those broad powers to shutter certain businesses. This particular business is a restaurant called Kriner’s Diner.

    The reason: a patron may get COVID.

    But is there any evidence to support the supposition that anyone caught this virus by eating at Kriner’s? Apparently not.

    If this closure is out of a safety concern, then where is the evidence that it is unsafe? Until that happens and a COVID case can be linked to Kriner’s, then there is only a perceived safety concern by the mayor.

    Of course, there should also be perceived safety concerns that the mayor could spread the virus when he goes shopping, or for that matter, the judge too. Then…….shut down all the grocery stores?

  20. Mandates are not law. No matter what the Berkeley Berkowitz says. Wait til the first council member is recalled, followed by the next and the next as they reach their 6 months in office. Time to stand up to tyranny, Anchorage. I’d fire every judge in Election Day no matter what.

    One term is more than enough. As others have stated, how exactly did Berkowitz get a court date so quick, when criminal cases are put off until late fall?

  21. Waiting for word on exactly how many patrons of Kriner’s were kidnapped and forced into the restaurant against their will.

  22. He may have won the battle but will lose the war no less than Barbarossa sealed the fate of a power-mad dictator that knew how best the world shall work. Or in current terms, witness now the heretofore spineless mayor wimp of Portland attempting to walk back his disastrous policy for obvious political reasons. We should hope for a book called “profiles in non-courage” to summer up the events of 2020 at the local level. As the sign on Kriner’s says: only in America 2020 could a business be shut down by Goverment enforcement while the criminals, homeless denigrators, and marchers get a free pass. What a joke.

  23. I expect the Judge believes he is correctly following the law. I further expect that if Kriner’s continues to serve patrons indoors that the police will soon show up and seal the doors and put up their yellow police tape. If Kriner’s disregards those actions then I expect the police will shortly thereafter arrest them and drag them off to jail.

    Anyone feel strongly enough to join them for the last phase?

    • Yes.
      Americans do –not– do “vast powers”. Says so in our Founding Documents.
      Remember the civil rights movement? Anchorage-Americans don’t ride in the back of the China Flu bus either.
      Look at the bright side: Mayor B. can’t even find a place to stick all the bums, can’t use his brand-new “vast powers” (never forget that term) to grab federal China flu money and buy bum houses.
      So where’s Mayor B’s gonna house all his brand-new political prisoners? Who feeds ’em? Gotta house ’em all in solitary so they don’t talk to each other or the world or plot new mischief, how’ll that work? Where’s all the public defenders coming from?
      What if nobody obeys gag orders you know are gonna be slapped on any show trials? Better gag social media too, right? Good luck with that.
      Mayor B. has to shut power off to Kriners Diner to win, so what’s next, shut off power to every tax-paying shop in the city, show ’em who’s boss?
      What’ll happen to Anchorage’s economy and its rulers’ political hopes when half the productive population gets dragged off to jail… with national news media watching?
      Maybe it is showdown time. Mayor B. needs to round up whoever needs rounding up, and this roundup needs to be on national news media for the whole world to see.
      Should be fun selecting a jury from people wise to jury nullification -and- fed up with activist judges.
      Frustrating, having to deal with this crap… Our freedoms, our way of life versus one person’s “vast powers”. Problem’s gotta be fixed now. Way things seem to be going, later’s not an option.
      What, we should just trust “vast powers” will magically end one day ’cause China flu lies stopped and Mayor B. and buddies got bored playing us?
      They started it, looks like productive residents have to finish it.
      Or be finished themselves, like Mayor B. apparently wants for Kriner.
      See you inside, celly.

  24. Lots of problems with this judge. He’s playing politics with the judiciary because he has to please his more learned compatriots in the upper bench.

  25. Ironic isn’t it?
    Alaska Supreme Court sets a juvenile free after he murders two female family members while Anchorage Superior Court does its best to kill Kriner’s Diner by ordering them to close and ordering Anchorage-Americans to obey Mayor B’s. “vast powers” given to him by the Assembly.
    Finding a jury of Anchorage residents, and a national news audience, who unquestioningly accept Mayor B’s “vast powers” in lieu of constitutional government might be problematic.
    Unlike a can of beans, these “vast powers” seem to have no expiration date. They could go on forever… like when Regular Ole Flu season hits.
    In other words, the whole “vast powers” thing looks alarmingly, exactly like what America’s Founding Documents were created to prevent.
    So, Gentle Readers, after breakfast at Kriners, what shall we do?

  26. The short story. A few people had the flu in Anchorage. Then the Marxist Dictator Liberal Democrat Mayor decides to destroy the local economy. So he gets the stupid, corrupt, radical, leftest American hating assembly to help him do it. The economy tanks. After awhile the good republicans start to resist the dictator, so he pretends to back off. The economy begins to improve. Bang. The mayor and assembly corruptly shut everything down again. Except the mayor’s businesses remain open. So the mayor is getting rich while the rest go broke. Kriner keeps his business open and the mayor targets him with a lawsuit. The case is assigned to a former prosecutor. What a coincidence, since Berkowitz was a prosecutor too. The judge rules against Kriner, which must mean he is a political activist who ignores the law. Then Berkowitz gets the police to arrest Kriner. The police are part of the radical agenda and follow the dictator. Kriner is locked up at Hiland Mountain CC. The governor does nothing. The honest citizens revolt and a very conservative mayor and assembly take control of the local government. Kriner is released and his business is more successful than ever. The former mayor’s businesses are seized and burned. Order is restored and the people are happy. Until they realize that Trump’s repeated statements that covid would disappear was fake news. Every day more people get sick and become permanently disabled, and the dead keep piling up. Anchorage becomes a ghost town, and people complain that the right wing mayor, Dan Fagan, has become a dictator. Remember this: do not criticize the President because he took a knee on America. 500,000 dead by December. Then more.

    • What a delusional crock. Of course liberalism is, at its essence a delusional separation from reality so I expect nothing less. Talk to a black widow all day, tell it to be nice and not sting. See what happens. Or empty the prisons of rapists and murders and see what happens, oh we are already witnessing that!
      “when I see a black widow, I step on it; I don’t plead with it to be a good little spider and please stop poisoning people. A black widow spider can’t help it—but that’s the point.” Have Space Suit Will Travel-1958

  27. We have an incredibly leftist court system, intentionally set up this way in the state constitution. If these guys want to be politicians, elect them every 2-4 years. Problem is that this is embedded in multiple places in the state constitution.

    I’d say its time for a state constitutional convention. Next decision to hold one takes place in 2022. Cheers –

  28. Forget “voting them out”. The problem is now, the people who are being violated are now, the businesses that are being destroyed are now.
    Be Americans. Resist. Defy. Do what is right, not what you are told. If all you in Anchorage go stand in front of the eating establishment ready to go in and eat, what the heck is the mayor going to do? You out number them. Quit being a slave to what you think is “authority”.
    “Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces.”
    Etienne de la Boetie

  29. Might be nice if the governor grew a backbone and told the mayor to get bent. But he’s still operating on a model from UAF that said we would have 13,000 hospitalizations in July.
    This whole thing is a farse. Mini Mao Burky needs to be thrown out of the State.

  30. Folks we’re going to have to learn to live with this new pestilence. Let all the businesses open.
    Let each person do their own risk assessment on whether or not to enter an establishment.
    I don’t blame Mr. Kriner he has to make a living, we all have to make a living and the last time I checked nobody put a gun to my head and said I had to eat there. Stop living in fear.

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