Lucky Wishbone reopens to in-person service with more safety measures

Channel 2 Morning Edition (6 a.m.)
Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 7:00 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Before last Friday, it had been over a year since Lucky Wishbone sat anyone at the tables because of COVID-19. Now that several Anchorage mandates have been relaxed into advisories, co-owner Heidi Heinrich still has a newly renovated dining room because of the pandemic.

Inside, regular customers will recognize the changes. Now there are permanent Plexiglas barriers between all the booths and a higher divider separating the two halves of the restaurant. All the dividers have green trimming to match the rest of the restaurant.

It came at large costs and a lot of time, though. Heinrich said they sunk about $70,000 into the renovations, and that’s just on the materials. They didn’t even get a contractor to do the work, Heinrich said.

“We’re pretty lucky in that my husband is very talented and can do just about anything,” she said.

She said her employees put in a lot of work on the additions as well.

Heinrich said it was the regular customers who made it possible for them to reopen in the first place. They already had a drive-thru and take-out system, but Heinrich said that used to be a small portion of their business.

Those regulars still showed up. Some folks in the restaurant talked about how they would take their food out to the nearby waterfront or even the parking lot to honor their weekly lunch meet-ups. It wasn’t an ideal alternative, and they said they are happy to be sitting in their booths again where it’s nice and warm.

The weight of all the money and work put into the restaurant during the closures hangs on Heinrich. She said they had a full house on May 7 about a week after a soft opening. With financial catching up to do, she hopes to safely fill all her tables more in the future.

Even though the mandates that crippled many business models are now advisories, she said the extra effort is worth it to make those customers that kept her afloat are safe, even if they’re fully vaccinated.

“You kind of get a little choked up because you want to thank every one of them,” Heinrich said, “We’re still here and we were able to open our doors because they came every week and they counted on us to keep them safe and they counted on us to do the right things with COVID and we did our best.”

Lucky Wishbone is only one of only three restaurants that are a part of the Conquer COVID Coalition according to spokespeople for that organization. Heinrich said their restaurant’s attitude lined up with the message that everyone should do their part to get the pandemic over with.

Heinrich said Lucky Wishbone is encouraging people to remain vigilant — try to keep space when you can, wear a mask around others, and get vaccinated. Right now, Heinrich said 50% of her staff is fully vaccinated and more of them have appointments booked.

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