PALMER — There’s a new Philly cheesesteak restaurant in downtown Palmer, and the owner couldn’t be any more excited to be there. Rodanthe Christou, who goes by Laura, said that she’s been wanting to move there and she finally had the opportunity.
“I’ve always had my eyes in Palmer,” Christou said. “I’m happy that I’m finally where I wanted to be. It was my dream.”
Christou opened up Alaska’s Best Phillys in the Downtown Palmer Plaza to the public Oct. 15. The restaurant is in the same space previously occupied by Palmer Downtown Deli. She said they’ve been very busy since they opened.
“We’ve been very good thanks to the people,” Christou said.
Christou used to run Philly’s Best Phillys in Wasilla. She said that she sold the business about two years ago, holding out for her ultimate destination in downtown Palmer.
“Palmer has a center. Everything is around it, “ Christou said. “Palmer has something different.”
Christou said her favorite part of Palmer is the people in it. She said the community is very friendly and supportive.
“The people in Palmer, oh my God. It’s like I’m in a huge family,” Christou said. “It’s everybody you know in Palmer. They say hi and give you a smile.”
Christou said that she came to Alaska from Greece over 25 years ago with her husband.
“So here we are. We’re Alaskans,” Christou said with a laugh. “In Alaska the beautiful. In the Palmer, the diamond.”
According to Christou, all the meals made at Alaska’s Best Phillys are made to order. She said that she learned the art of making a true Philly sandwich from a professional cook from Philadelphia.
“He showed me the original way to cook the Philly,” Christou said.
Christou brings some of her Greek heritage to the menu, offering dishes like Gyros that she learned how to make from her grandmother. She said that she plans to add more Greek items and other dishes to the menu with ever changing specials of the day.
“Right now I’m gonna work with the menu. Many good things are coming,” Christou said.
Christou said that she had over 25 years of experience running restaurants in Alaska. She said that after all these years, one of the main reasons she got into the food industry still rings true today.
“I’ve always loved to cook and create things, “ Christou said. “The smile on their face when they have that first bite… It makes me feel really good.”
There are currently six staff members at Alaska’s Best Phillys. Christou said they’re looking for two cooks and two servers.
“I want to work with the local people,” Christou said.
Alaska’s Best Phillys is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. with last orders at 7:30 Monday through Saturday. They’re closed on Sundays.
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at email@example.com