New look, original charm

Veronica’s Coffee House in Old Town Kenai will unveil a slightly new look to pair with its same endearing charm this Wednesday.

Longtime musician at Veronica’s, Shannon Darling, took over the shop’s lease on May 15. She said the building’s face-lift began on May 26 and is scheduled for completion Wednesday. Renovations include updates to the floors, appliances, decorations and menu. Darling anticipates a positive reaction from Veronica’s patrons.

“I think (people) are going to be ecstatic,” she said. “I think they’ll love the changes. It’s the same, it really is. We’ve just kind of enhanced it.”

The investment in Veronica’s is a personal one for the Kasilof resident.

“I’ve played here for 33 years with local musicians,” Darling said “This is kind of a little dream of mine, to own it.”

John Oskolkoff constructed the building in 1918. Veronica’s has evolved into a local favorite in Kenai that showcases community musicians and art. Darling said the changes being made will not affect the structure or atmosphere of the coffee house, but will make it easy to clean.

With the help of past owner Daine Hooper, of Kenai, and business partner Arnie Nelson, of Kasilof, Darling also replaced the dishware, added a boardwalk outside and cleaned the building inside and out. She said the project costs will total between $15,000 and $30,000.

Hooper, who co-owned Veronica’s with friend Kathy Miller for six years starting in 2008, said she has offered her help to Darling as much as she needs it.

“I was so excited when Shannon called me, because I have such a passion and a love for this place,” Hooper said. “Veronica’s was always my favorite restaurant. It came along at a point in my life where it was just perfect.”

Hooper said the combination of great food, local musical talent and historic charm is what keeps people coming back to Veronica’s over and over.

“The one thing I’m most excited about is (Shannon’s) excitement and enthusiasm to carry on Veronica’s as it should be,” Hooper said.

In addition to the reopening scheduled for Wednesday, Veronica’s will host a grand opening beginning Sunday and lasting through June 20. The grand opening will feature musicians every night.

Previously, Veronica’s was open from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. from Tuesday through Saturday. Now, Darling will keep it running seven days a week from 8 a.m.-8 p.m., and keep it open until 10 p.m. for musicians on weekends.

Mary Ann Alfano, Veronica’s original owner, will return to repaint the building’s iconic sign in a few weeks, Darling said.

Reach Megan Pacer at news@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Sockeye salmon. (Photo via Alaska Department of Fish and Game)
Fish and Game seeks comment on 2022 sport fish stocking plan

The Sport Fish Division plans to release approximately 7 million fish into the Alaska water systems over the next five years.

A map shows which parts of the Chugach National Forest are open to motorized winter recreation use for the 2021-2022 season. (Map courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service)
Parts of Chugach National Forest open to snowmachine use

The 2021-2022 winter motorized season will run through April 30.

Kenai Police Department Chief David Ross explains the purpose of a grant to be used for new radios during a meeting of the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Police to update radios using grant money

The department received almost $260,000 through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Democratic Party candidate for governor Les Gara attends a Zoom meeting with Homer residents on Nov. 18, 2021, from his Anchorage, Alaska, home. (Screen capture)
Gara makes election pitch to Homer

Democratic Party candidate for governor Gara visits virtually.

A man missing for more than 40 years was identified by the Alaska Bureau of Investigation as a Chugiak resident who was last seen in 1979. The man’s body was discovered on an island near Anchorage in 1989. (Courtesy photo/Alaska Department of Public Safety)
Body found in 1980s ID’d through DNA analysis

The body, found in 1989, had been unidentified until now.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID continues decline; 1 new death

The state had an estimated rolling average of 253.3 cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days.

U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham addresses state and Alaska Native leaders Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. Dillingham will travel to Toksook Bay, on an island just off Alaska’s western coast, for the first count on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Census reports minimal state population growth

The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s population grew by about 3,400 people between the 2010 and 2020 census.

The old Homer intermediate school building, showing the Homer Boys & Girls Club and gym on the south side of the building at the corner of the Sterling Highway and Pioneer Avenue.
The old Homer intermediate school building on the corner of the Sterling Highway and Pioneer Avenue, as seen in October 2010. It’s now known as the Homer Educational and Recreational Complex, or HERC. (Homer News file photo)
Homer awards contract to study use of rec complex site

The goal is to help the city understand the maximum use of that property.

Genna Stormer gives Santa a hug during Christmas Comes to Nikiski at the Nikiski Community Recreation Center on Dec. 14, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
December brings the holiday cheer

Groups across the peninsula get into the spirit of the season with public events.

Most Read