By Tasha Anderson
ALASKA THIS MONTH
Jens’ Restaurant was established by Jens Hansen and his wife Annelise in 1988, one of the first fine-dining estab- lishments in Anchorage’s Midtown. Jens had, prior to
opening the restaurant, worked at the Hotel Captain Cook,
starting in 1968, according to Nancy Alip, the restaurant’s
current executive chef. Alip says she came to the restaurant
in 2002, and when Jens passed away in 2012, she was asked
by Annelise to be a business partner, which is how the business is still structured today.
Even though the history of Jens’ Restaurant appeals to locals and visitors alike, it is the food that drew people in during the late 1980s and continues to do so today.
“The pepper steak is one of the most popular [menu items].
It’s the one that Jens has been doing for ages, even before he
opened the restaurant, and it’s always been one of our most
popular,” Alip says. “Also our halibut is popular, but we don’t
have it during the winter when it goes out of season.”
The restaurant’s menu, available online, changes daily and sea-
sonally, depending on what produce and fresh fish are available.
“We call our fish market people every morning and see
what’s available,” Alip says. “We try to do elk or deer in the
fall and maybe some veal in the spring. It’s whatever is seasonally available and fresh.”
Additionally, as much as possible Jens’ Restaurant sources
fresh produce from the Valley and shops at local farmers’
“We try to make everyone’s experience special,” Alip says.
“We get lots of birthday and anniversary celebrations; we re-
ally try to take care of people and provide them with good
food and good service.”
Current Jens’ owners Nancy Alip and Annelise Hansen,
are pictured above, along with the restaurant’s bar and
famous halibut dish.