Anchorage restaurants receive national attention on popular Food Network show
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Some local restaurants in Anchorage are getting national attention on a popular Food Network show. Those who like the show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives may have recognized two locations in the latest season showcasing what makes them stand out of the crowd.
Andrew Cho has been in the food industry for seven years. Four years ago he started Seoul Casa, a Korean/Mexican fusion restaurant with a unique menu that features kimchi burritos and wings all in one place. While living in California, Cho noticed that this fusion style of food was getting popular and decided to bring the same experience to Anchorage.
His instincts were justified when he received an email from the Food Network that he was never expecting.
“When I first saw the email I thought it was a prank but I decided to give them a call and see what it was all about,” Cho said. “It was the real deal.”
For those drawn to comfort foods, Waffles and Whatnot also made an appearance where founder and CEO Derrick Green combines his upbringing and personal life into each dish. Both his wife and mother were diagnosed with cancer, and his mother also had HIV/AIDS, so he began to create food that provided ways to nourish their bodies.
Green prides himself on being able to accommodate all families with any dietary restrictions.
“I feel that I have the ability to offer these delicious foods, that the public doesn’t need to know the health benefits that I put into them,” Green said. “They just need to know the food is the best of whatever that thing is that they’ll try. That’s what I’m pushing out.”
From a sidewalk in downtown Anchorage to his current Muldoon location, Green has worked hard to build his restaurant. He said when he got the call from the Food Network, it reminded him of the time he deleted a communication when Facebook reached out to him because he thought it was fake.
Green described the experience of having Guy Fieri in his restaurant as “absolutely amazing.”
“Having him here and having him pull me to the side after everything was over, and be able to say ‘man, you are’ — and his exact words are — ‘you are the exclamation mark to my career at Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,’” Green said.
He said Fieri was appreciative of all the ways Green has been creative and worked through ups and downs over the years as an entrepreneur.
For Green, expansion is also on the menu. The “whatnot” in Waffles and Whatnot comes from Green simply getting bored eating the same thing every day and experimenting with random ingredients. He is currently in the process of turning Waffles and Whatnot into a franchise where each location will have a core menu of chicken and waffles with omelets, and will then have different themed “whatnot” dishes as well.
While the unique Alaska food scene isn’t anything new to locals, the rest of what Fieri calls “Triple D Nation” will get a taste of what the 49th State has to offer.
Seoul Casa and Waffles and Whatnot are the first two Anchorage restaurants ever featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Three more will be featured in the coming weeks, according to the show’s schedule.
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