Immigrant Owned Restaurant Keeps the American Dream Alive in Denali

In the spirit of Independence Day, Amanda Brennan traveled to Denali to get a taste of the American Dream.
Gerald Ford once said, "The American Dream does not come to those who fall asleep." Not many people embody this spirit of the American Dream more than restauranteur, Maja Waring. Located at Mile 238.9 along the Parks Highway in McKinley Park, "Moose-Aka's" is owned and operated by Maja Waring with her husband, Michael. Waring moved from Serbia to the United States to work as a seasonal employee in Denali. She discusses why she made the journey from Eastern Europe to Interior Alaska.
"The first season was really to see America. Why to Alaska? Because it's different than the rest of the world, and to see and learn the culture and mentality of other people, but first of all to learn English."
For several years, Waring worked at Denali in the Summer season in order to pay for her studies in Serbia. At one point, in 2012 Waring worked four different jobs simultaneously. It wasn't until after she met her husband, when she decided to stay in the United States.
"He fell in love with me, he said I was a smart girl, a hard worker, and beautiful. That's what he said. The more we talked the more we realized we had the same dream, to have a restaurant one day. Four years later we have three businesses together, so we are in a real marriage."
Although, Waring is a United States citizen, she still has a love and respect for her country of origin. She has also shared that love with her husband, who travels with her in the off season to Eastern Europe to study Serbian cuisine. Waring discusses how Serbia and Alaska are both a place to call home.
"I love Serbia, I love Serbian people. I am now American, and I'm somewhere in between, but I'm always going to go to Serbia every year because my husband loves Serbia, maybe even more than I do now. America, especially Alaska is my home, Healy, Alaska is my home. Serbia was my first home, now Alaska is my first home and Serbia is my second home."
Waring's success in Alaska did not go unnoticed in her home country. She discusses how a major newspaper in Belgrade recognized how her hard work and determination made her realize the American Dream.
"I won Alaska with stuffed cabbage and Moose-aka. There's a very interesting story right here, they said I went to America, we have a phrase, without any money in her pocket and now she's having her own business, she is living the American dream."
Next week we will take a look at the menu at Moose-aka's and Maja Waring's plans to showcase her restaurant to Serbian president, Aleksander Vucic.
Amanda Brennan reporting.