OCEAN CITY – A visit to Ocean City over the past 75 years most likely included a stop at the Alaska Stand. With three locations over the years and 75 years of tradition, the Alaska Stand received high honors this week, when Aug. 4, 2008 was proclaimed “Alaska Stand Day” within the resort.
It’s been 75 years since the Givarz family opened the small, family-run business, and while times have changed, differing locations have evolved and the menu has grown, one thing remains clear, locals and vacationers alike still love the “A-Stand.”
Mayor Rick Meehan made the tradition official this week when he read the proclamation honoring 75 years for the Alaska Stand in Ocean City, making Aug. 4, 2008 the official “Alaska Stand Day.”
“It gives me great honor to present this,” said Meehan, a self-proclaimed loyal customer of the Alaska Stand.
Meehan recalled his days spent at the 9th Street location, starting in the 1960’s when, “9th Street was the happening spot on the Boardwalk.”
“I think there’s very few of us who haven’t enjoyed the A-Stand at some point,” said Meehan.
Benjamin Givarz started the Alaska Stand in 1933 at Wicomico Street. The menu began with just one item, the famous “Alaskas,” vanilla ice cream on a stick dipped in chocolate. Soon after, fresh squeezed fruit juice was added and the Alaska Stand quickly became a Boardwalk favorite. Son Jerry and his wife Dorothy later took the helm, transforming the business into one of the best-known burger joints in town.
The Alaska Stand tradition was expanded to 9th Street and the Boardwalk in 1968, where it still stands today in its 40th year.
A third location sprouted at 50th Street and Coastal Highway in the 1980’s, where patrons enjoyed everything from burgers to fries to soda with crushed ice for over 20 years until its doors closed for good.
In 1991, a longtime employee of the Alaska Stand, Rob Cole, took over the Wicomico Street location, later changing the name to the Atlantic Stand but maintaining the rich, A-Stand tradition. The Atlantic Stand changed hands once again in 2006, when local couple Brandon and Madelyne Phillips purchased the restaurant, vowing to uphold the tradition started by the Givarz family in 1933.
The 9th Street location stands proudly in 2008 and remains a part of the family with third-generation Bob Givarz now running the show. Both Bob and mother Dorothy were present at Monday evening’s council meeting to accept the honor.
“I am very happy to be here at this stage in my life,” said Dorothy Givarz.
While Dorothy admitted times were not always easy in the restaurant business, particularly when she was missing out on those beautiful beach days with her children, she noted that it was well worth the hard work.
“I hated it when I started it, but I learned more things working for my in-laws at the Alaska Stand, better probably than a college education,” she said.
While Dorothy has since passed on the torch to her son, the tradition remains alive today at the Alaska Stand, with an expanded menu and both new and familiar faces.
“I will say, not for myself but for my son, another 75 years,” she said.