Stop N Go on

When Nikiski resident Bill Bliss bought the building for the Stop N Go Cafe on Miller Loop Road, it was what he described as an empty shell. Eight years later, it has been transformed into a local favorite known for its comfort food and community involvement.

Bliss reopened the local eatery in October after a year-long hiatus. He was hit with the death of his father and 4-year-old son and two of his employees also lost loved ones, all within a short time frame. Everyone needed a break to grieve, he said.

Now, Bliss is back as the business’s owner but in a less involved capacity. He has passed most of the day-to-day management over to his nephew, Ray Batt.

“I fell apart, but everybody that’s here has lost somebody,” Bliss said. “We kind of came together, and Ray said he wanted to take point, and I said, ‘OK, I’m not strong enough.’”

Bliss said the transition back into running Stop N Go has not been easy for any of his team members. But Bliss, who describes himself as a social butterfly, said he enjoys keeping things light, cracking jokes and poking fun. Doing so is one of the best ways he has found to cope with his recent loss, he said.

“We all have taken almost a year together to grieve, and for us to do something, it’s hard but then at the same time when you see people appreciate you, it kind of fills it a little bit,” Bliss said.

Bliss said each team member is working in their strong suit. Bliss will continue to be the outgoing face of the restaurant, while Batt, who is more reserved, will throw himself into getting Stop N Go closer to the level it was at when the doors closed last year.

“My uncle’s been helping me out in the past, so I decided to help him out for a change,” Batt said.

The group has plans to reinstate a breakfast menu to make it a true cafe once more, but their more immediate goal is to just take it day by day. The restaurant has always been very involved with the local Nikiski schools, Bliss said. One year, each graduating class got a free pizza, as do students with birthdays along with free ice cream.

Even if he doesn’t know a person by name, Bliss said the restaurant makes him so connected with the community that he can guess a person’s order after seeing their face a number of times. The fact that the restaurant also delivers food has helped Bliss get to know most of the best customers.

“You get to know everybody, and so you feel a connection to the public,” Bliss said. “Being the people person that I am, it makes me feel good when you pull up to their house, you don’t know their name, and all the kids are yelling you’re name and you’re giving them ice cream and making their night.”

While running a food business in a rural area like Nikiski can make pricing a challenge, Bliss said it’s a good feeling to be the place people come to for comfort. One of his favorite parts of owning Stop N Go is getting to know many of his older regulars, who he said always come in with interesting stories about their lives in Nikiski.

“My dad would come out three to four times a week. He was my best friend, and he was also really close to everyone here … and I didn’t do anything for a year,” Bliss said. “It feels like you’re wanted, and it feels really good.”

Reach Megan Pacer at

More in News

The Homer Spit stretching into Kachemak Bay is seen here on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020 in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Homer woman indicted over seaplane incident

Marian Tillion Beck was indicted on charges of negligent operation of a vessel and attempted interference with the navigation of a sea plane

Soldotna High School can be seen in this Sept. 2, 2021, photo, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion file)
‘Little Sweethearts’ family dance to debut at SoHi

The event will be hosted by SoHi’s freshmen student council

Soldotna City Council members interview city manager applicant Elke Doom (on screen) during a special city council meeting on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Doom, Bower named finalists for Soldotna manager gig

The two will visit Soldotna for in-person meetings on Feb. 7 and 13, respectively

The northern fur seal rescued by Alaska SeaLife Center staff is seen on Jan. 31, 2023, at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Kaiti Grant/Alaska SeaLife Center)
Northern fur seal pup admitted to SeaLife Center rescue program

The pup was reported by Sitka residents using the center’s 24-hour stranding hotline

The Kenai Community Library children’s section is seen on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Literary competition returns to local schools

Battle of the Books aims to instill in kids a love of reading

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
Climate activists hold a rally outside the Alaska State Capitol Friday afternoon in advocacy for legislative action to improve Alaska’s renewable energy development and future sustainability.
Climate activists hold rally near the Capitol

Statewide organizations advocate for legislative action

Shanon Davis, the executive director of the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, hands out candy during the Sweeny’s St. Patrick’s Parade in Soldotna on March 17, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Davis to step down as Soldotna chamber head

Davis oversaw the implementation of Soldotna’s “Holding Our Own,” shop local program

Golden-yellow birch trees and spruce frame a view of Aurora Lagoon and Portlock Glacier from a trail in the Cottonwood-Eastland Unit of Kachemak Bay State Park off East End Road on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)
State parks advisory boards accepting applictions

Alaska State Park advisory boards provide state park managers with recommendations on management issues

Most Read