Granny B's commemorates a grandmother's legacy

Photo by Young Kim.
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Photo by Young Kim.

For 16 years, I have lived two blocks away from Granny B’s Café wondering what it had to offer. When I was 9 years old, I would spend my money on ice cream and walk up the hill to buy candy at Mexico Lindo. The parking lot tempted me with the smell of freshly made biscuits, and I’d stare at Granny B’s, not knowing if it was worth going inside.

I stepped foot in the quaint café for the first time with a warm greeting from the waiter, and the savory smell of their famous biscuits. 

I sat down and ordered the biscuits and gravy. One bite was all it took to bring me back into my childhood and fulfill that desire to try the soft and buttery goodness of those biscuits.

In 2002, Granny B’s Café opened its doors to Spenard. The cafe is owned and operated by John Gaskin, Granny B’s grandson.

The menu acknowledges everyone in their family by naming the main dishes after them. TJ’s cheesy omelet was named after Gaskin’s nephew and Buddy’s BLT was named after his step-brother.

“[Granny B] taught my mom how to cook. My mom taught me how to cook… It’s fun. I’ve been doing this for 31 straight years. I still enjoy it,” Gaskin said.

Beatrice King, famously known as “Granny B,” had moved from the Lower 48 with her family in the mid-1970’s following the work up north. King’s family moved to Fairbanks, and her son opened the first Kentucky Fried Chicken in town before moving to Anchorage. 

Passed down by King’s son, the infamous biscuit recipe still holds itself on the board of favorites at Granny B’s Cafe. 

Before there was Granny B’s Café, Blondie’s Café was owned by King and opened on Fourth Avenue until she passed away in 1999.

“That was the first restaurant. We had that for 17 years. That was at the start of the Iditarod. You can tell that we have stuff everywhere here from those times,” Gaskin said.

Granny B’s Café was established to commemorate her legacy and to continue with the family business. 

Natalie Snyder, Gaskin’s sister and King’s granddaughter, likes to stop by every weekend to help out and see how the restaurant is doing.

“My grandmother was a little celebrity at Blondie’s Café. She was a personality that was always around. She went by ‘B.’ Everyone called her Granny B. She was one of those people who loved everyone no matter what... She just really wanted to know people. She has one of the biggest hearts you could ever imagine. She was my best friend,” Snyder said.

Gaskin has regulars that keep the business running by coming in four to five times a day. Not only does Gaskin like to acknowledge their customers by learning their names and orders, they give out cookies to children who stop by after school for a snack.

“There’s a school across the street… and we gave away free cookies to all the kids for 14 years. There’s one little kid who’s now older and works at the bank now. He said, ‘Do you remember me? I used to come in here to get cookies all the time.’ Time flies, and it makes me feel old,” Gaskin said.

King’s family have always considered Spenard their home. King herself lived on Penguin Court until she passed away. Granny B’s continues to keep her legacy alive and well. 

Granny B’s Café is cash only. The café is located on 1201 W. Tudor Road and open 7 a.m. - 3 p.m., Wednesday to Saturday, and 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Sunday.

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