Peggy’s: A slice of Mountain View history

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This story was originally written for Mountain View Post.


Lying on the western edge of Mountain View, Peggy’s Restaurant might just be the oldest restaurant in Anchorage.

Established in 1944 and formerly known as Peggy’s Airport Cafe, the original one-story building was a common stop for bush pilots flying into Anchorage’s Merrill Field, conveniently located just across the street.

Nancy Burley has owned Peggy’s Restaurant since 1988. Her daughter, Crystal, helps run day-to-day business while Nancy works nights.



Jennifer Warwick has been working with Peggy’s Restaurant owner Nancy Burley every night for three years. There isn’t a lot of turnover in the serving staff; some of the other servers have worked with the Burleys for 15 or 20 years. Photos by Young Kim

The Burleys moved to Alaska in 1984, and Nancy Burley worked at Peggy’s for two years before buying the establishment, named after a woman named Peggy Lott. Crystal Burley remembers meeting Lott in 1990 and again for the restaurant’s 50th reunion in 1994, when the Burleys invited all of Lott’s former employees and customers to the reunion lunch.


Crystal Burley is Nancy’s daughter. She runs the day to day life while Nancy works nights.

“She was very feisty. She was always like, ‘You need to make sure you’re paying attention to your waitresses! Make sure they don’t give too much away,’” Crystal Burley said.

Peggy’s staple is pie. Strawberry rhubarb is a common favorite, and the banana cream, too, Burley said. Lott had help from June Bowen, who baked pies at Peggy’s for 35 years before retiring. Her handwriting is on most of the recipe cards, and the pies sold in the diner today are made from the same recipes Lott and Bowen used 73 years ago. The Burleys own a metal box containing dozens of pie recipes from decades past.


Pies are Peggy’s specialty. The recipes that the Burley’s use are the same that Peggy Lott, original owner of the restaurant, baked with.

Peggy Lott originally moved up to Alaska to be a school teacher in Seldovia. She eventually taught in Bethel, where she met her husband, Frank, who was from England and arrived in Nome during the early gold rush years. After his death in 1973, Lott moved to Mount Vernon, Washington. Anchorage was getting too big and too busy for her, she said.


Peggy Lott originally moved to Alaska to be a school teacher in Seldovia. She passed away in 2006 at the age of 103. Peggy’s has a wall of old clippings and photos of Peggy.

Lott passed away in 2006 at 103. The restaurant with her name still serves customers from every corner of Anchorage and beyond.

The building’s pale, lilac exterior holds a lot of memories inside; walking into Peggy’s almost feels like a step back in time. Orange tiles cover the walls and old-timey stools wrap around the counters. There’s a glass case that holds over a dozen freshly baked fruit and cream pies. Regulars at Peggy’s have their cup of joe every morning at their booth, or their usual order each Friday. Bottomless coffee is served all day along with breakfast, which makes for a great fix for pancake cravings late at night.


Defford Taylor enjoys a cup of coffee after finishing his breakfast on Oct. 25, 2017.

Throughout the years, there have been highs and lows for the establishment. A dishwasher was once shot during a dispute over another man’s wife; a stabbing occurred outside the restaurant in 2013. But the lows don’t outweigh all the other memories.

This building holds history within its walls.


Peggy’s Restaurant is the oldest eatery in Anchorage. The faded lilac building is located at 1675 E Fifth Ave.

The Author

Hi! My name is Sam Davenport. I am a freelance writer and lifelong Alaskan who loves reporting on the state’s history, food and culture. I am a graduate of the University of Alaska Anchorage, where I received bachelors degrees in journalism and political science. I was the executive editor of The Northern Light — UAA’s student-run newspaper — for 2.5 years During my time at UAA, I completed internships at the Anchorage Daily News and Alaska Public Media. I am the managing editor of The Spenardian, an award-winning hyper-local news blog and magazine for the neighborhood of Spenard. I have been published in Vice, Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Dispatch News, The Rasmuson Foundation, Alaska Magazine, Alaska Business, The Northern Light, The Anchorage Press, The Frontiersman, Alaska’s Energy Desk, KSKA, KTOO, Last Frontier Magazine, Crude Magazine, Mountain View Post, The Spenardian, Alaska Contractor Magazine, Wildheart Magazine and True North Magazine. For freelancing rates or a copy of my resume, please email me at


  1. Fred Agree says

    Did you see the picture on the bulletin board oat Peggys Cafe of the
    older woman cooking. There is some question if that was Peggy Lott ?


  2. Lawrence G. Ray says

    Samantha – my dad and his bush Pilot Partner, Mort Mason, flew out of Merrill Field a lot. So, we would eat at Peggy’s frequently. The walls were lined with oil portraits of the great old bush pilots. The main attraction was not the pie, but the sourdough pancakes, served with huge portions of whipped butter and honey. Whenever I go to Anchorage, I go eat the pancakes, which they still serve. But, the butter isn’t the same. One old nostalgic tradition to which I try to adhere..
    . Larry Ray (formerly Larry Rodriquez when I was a kid in Palmer and Anchorage), Spokane, WA


  3. Mark Burdick says

    I remember both Frank and Peggy Lott very well. Frank came to Alaska in 1898. He was born in Liverpool England. Somewhere, I have a picture of Peggy at a roundup in Wyoming at branding time. It is hand dated 1921. When my family moved back down to Anchorage in 1961, we rented Frank and Peggy’s basement apartment in City View. My parents bought their house in late 1963 as the Lott’s prepared to move to Washington State. Spent many hours with Frank Lott and always appreciated Peggy’s generous act of bringing pies to us once a week or so for that first year. These folks were the “real Alaskan” deal, their generosity and friendship made a huge difference in a 10 year old boy’s life.

    Though I have many good stories to tell about the Lott’s; most would be about Frank as I gravitated to this “man’s man” more-so. Peggy however, was a marvel in her own right though. She was always ready (and exceedingly able) to lend a helping hand for any in need. She did run a tight ship so to say, but her healthy laughter and seemingly sternness were always followed by a wink of an eye that let a young man know she approved. What wonderful times to grow up in Anchorage. Now in my mid sixties, I remain exceedingly fond of my memories of (and with) both Frank and Peggy Lott. The impact they had on a young fella over such a short time speaks volumes about their true investment in (and for) Alaskans and Alaska! Wonderful folks!


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