Cosmic Kitchen sold after 17 years, will close next month

A cuisine staple in the Cosmic Hamlet by the Sea is changing hands next month — Cosmic Kitchen has been sold, its owners announced last week.

Michelle Wilson and Sean Hogan just celebrated 17 years running the restaurant this May. The business has been for sale for two years, and Wilson said that move was a product of the pair getting tired after their years of work in the service industry.

“You know, the restaurant business is a 24/7 business,” she said.

It’s a lot of work, and not much play, Wilson said. She and Hogan now look forward to retirement and enjoying the community of Homer in ways they didn’t have time for in the past.

They’ll miss the regulars — the folks who could walk through the door and barely have to say their order before the staff knew what they wanted — but Hogan is looking forward to a little more kite surfing while Wilson plans to learn more about peony farming.

Hogan and Wilson estimate the last day of operation at Cosmic Kitchen will be around June 6. After that, the new owners will take over the building with a new restaurant under a new name. Customers need to use their Cosmic Kitchen gift cards before that date, Wilson and Hogan said.

The pair said they weren’t really expecting to sell the restaurant at this moment.

“We were a little surprised that we got this offer,” Wilson said. “… But we’re very happy about it.”

After so many years serving the masses of the Homer area, and beyond, the owners said staff has become more like family and they’ve gotten to watch the community grow up, in a way.

“Over the years we’ve seen babies being born that are now graduating high school,” Wilson said.

She thinks the restaurant has been known for its consistency. People know that what they order will be the same every time.

“Fast, fresh and fair,” Hogan said.

Hogan and Wilson said they also enjoyed being able to support local nonprofit organizations and the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District over the years. They hope the community feels that the restaurant gave back a little of what it received.

Besides the name and food, the iconic restaurant could see another change. Hogan and Wilson said it’s not yet known what will become of the statue of Brother Asaiah Bates that looks out over the restaurant’s front deck. Bates, a former Homer City Council member and beloved member of the community, was a friend of Wilson and Hogan’s and was the partial inspiration for the restaurant’s name. He is credited with coining the term Cosmic Hamlet by the Sea.

“We were honored to be caretakers of Brother Asaiah,” Wilson said.

The statue’s owner, John Nazarian, lives in California. It will be up to him where Brother Asaiah goes next, Wilson said.

As they prepare for their last month of serving food to the community, Hogan and Wilson said they can’t really put into words how much they appreciate all the love and support they’ve felt from Homer.

“I don’t think, really, that you can find any other place like Homer,” Wilson said. “Everybody kind of knows everybody and it’s a very caring town.”

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