City Diner-SPENARD was resurrected from the bones of a structure cobbled up during the deluge of activity that accompanied construction of the Alaska Pipeline. The various hash houses, coffee shops and greasy spoons that came before could not anticipate its transformation into a classic icon for Anchorage dining.
Recalling the days when “Put out the lights and cry, a Murphy in the alley” and “draw one” echoed through stainless clad décor; visionary restaurateur and prominent chef, Al Levinsohn, was determined to resurrect this rich tradition that was inspired by the diner rail-cars and diner wagons of another time. These fabulous eateries offered comfort, in both food and community, to millions of East Coast and Midwest travelers during the early and mid-1900’s.
Recognizing that the project would benefit from participation by his life-long friend and colleague, Chef Al enlisted acclaimed chef, Jens Nannestad, to help breath life into the old remains. Stripped to its core, the tired relic got a makeover that honors the beginnings and embraces the future.
As the project got underway and developed, both Al and Jens soon recognized the hardships and frustrations of dealing with landlords, municipalities and developers.
Together they struggled. However, together they realized they could not finish this great project without their mutual friend, mentor and successful entrepreneur George Trefry. This dynamic trio pulled together as partners and accomplished a vision that was crystal clear in their respective minds.
The casual atmosphere and homemade cuisine that provided sustenance and fellowship has been successfully recovered, re-interpreted and offered in a modern genial gathering place. Rendezvous of all nature occur at City Diner. Faithful customers and first time visitors swap stories, provide advice and exchange promises to keep connected (a 5 digit phone number was the norm in 1950). The diner restaurant has a long tradition of providing an excellent experience for good value. The staff at City Diner has raised the bar.