PALMER — Shaking off the dust of its turbulent past, a familiar hotel, dining and drinking establishment has reopened for business, this time as the Eagle Hotel Restaurant and Lounge.

The building at 918 S. Colony Way has housed several businesses in the past 20 years. Operated most recently as the Gold Miner’s Hotel, the business closed in 2009 and the property sold at a foreclosure hearing in June 2009.

But that was after the state fire marshal and the Department of Environmental Conservation closed the establishment twice in 2008 for violations.

It took two years and thousands of dollars in renovations, but the Eagle Hotel is open and its 28 rooms were filled to capacity during this year’s Alaska State Fair, manager Bee Uka said.

“Almost everything has been renovated in here,” she said Saturday during a tour of the hotel, restaurant and lounge.

Included in the upgrade was electrical work, the addition of three new handicapped-accessible rooms, gallons of new paint, new carpet and new furniture, cable and wireless Internet throughout.

Uka said she manages the hotel jointly with Brooke Mortensen who also oversees the lounge. The two moved to Alaska from Arizona to manage the business on behalf of its new owner, Atli Dobrova.

Dobrova is perhaps best known as owner of Sicily’s Pizza, which operates several stores in Anchorage as well as one at Mile 42.5, Parks Highway in Wasilla.

Dobrova could not be reached by press time.

Uka said the restaurant only reopened this week, though the rest of the business has served customers for a couple of months.

“We wanted to wait until after the fair to have a grand opening,” she said.

Starting next week, Mortensen said the restaurant and hotel will be open around the clock to serve customers.

The restaurant has 41 tables and includes a separate banquet room with a full bar that can be rented for events. The menu changes throughout the day, beginning with a breakfast menu is served from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and includes pancakes, omelets, breakfast platters and sandwiches.

Many items on the lunch and dinner menu fit an Italian-American theme. Mortensen said the two picked the best menu items from their past employers to offer to local patrons, including several of Uka’s original recipes, such as the Dolce Frutti.

The lounge was the last piece to open and this week became Palmer’s newest nonsmoking venue.

“I don’t think it’s going to hurt business at all,” Mortensen said.

“It’s so much nicer going into a smoke-free place,” Uka added.

Work isn’t complete in the lounge; they plan to add more TV sets for patrons to watch events such as football games and Ultimate Fighting Championship.

“We’re trying really hard to be the best hotel in Palmer — to give people a nice place to stay,” Mortensen said.

Contact managing editor Heather A. Resz at 352-2268 or

I've been the managing editor of the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman since September 2010. This is my second time working at the Frontiersman. I was the assistant editor here from 1996 to 1998.

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