TNT Diner

Good eats and drinks around Tacoma, Pierce County and South Puget Sound

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Archives: May 2011


First bite: Northwest Vintage Wine Bar in Puyallup’s Sunrise Village

Nicola McDonald, left, owner of Northwest Vintage wine bar visits with customers dining at the restaurant in the Sunrise Shopping Center in Puyallup. Photo by Janet Jensen/Staff photographer

When the wine bar and restaurant Northwest Vintage opened the first week of April in South Hill’s Sunrise Village Shopping Center, the response was overwhelming.

The crush of diners confirmed what owner Nicola McDonald had guessed about the neighborhood notoriously short on non-chain dining choices: Diners would welcome a wine bar.

In fact, the response was too overwhelming. Read more »


Bakeries about town: Cascade Bagels in Lakewood and Bagel Brothers in Olympia

An assortment of bagels at Cascade Bagel & Deli in Lakewood. Photo by Peter Haley/Staff photographer

Remember when bagels seemed as ubiquitous as frozen yogurt or L.A. Gear shoes?

Stop shuddering. Apologies for the bad (read: tragic) fashion reference.

Bagels once were the food trend du jour. Like frozen yogurt and pastel shoes, the concept faded but didn’t disappear. As with many a food fashion, the locally owned mom-and-pop shops that sprouted up around the trend remained while chains pulled up shop and left town once consumers showed palate fatigue.

In South Sound, two remaining bagel bakeries are worth mentioning: Bagel Brothers, founded in 1994 in Olympia, and Cascade Bagel, which has been around since the 1990s and switched hands to local ownership in 2003. Click “more” to read about both. Read more »


Ostrich, goat and boar, oh my: Coming soon to Sixth Avenue is Marrow, a fine dining concept that Tacoma needs

Get ready for Marrow. The fine dining restaurant with a focus on unusual proteins and craft cocktails is aiming for a July opening on Sixth Avenue.

Here’s reason to be interested – it’s backed by Jaime Kay and Jason Jones, co-owners of Top of Tacoma, and Kyle Wnuk, chef at the recently opened Dirty Oscar’s Annex on Sixth Avenue (I am wowed by his top-notch burgers, but more on that in a moment).

Marrow will occupy the space recently vacated by Beyond the Bridge Café. The short-lived café was one of a gaggle of coffee houses on Sixth. The addition of Marrow brings two things Sixth Avenue and Tacoma need: fine vegetarian dining and a restaurant that emphasizes oft-overlooked proteins in a restaurant setting. Duck, goat and ostrich, anyone? Read more »


Bacon burger fail, veggie burger win. Where do you go for house-made veggie patties in Tacoma?

The Mama Africa burger at Quickie Too is a house-made millet and quinoa patty. Where else do you go in town for a veggie burger? Click "more" and comment.

I paid a visit to The Ram for a burger exploration mission. I forged one bite into the new Bacon Bacon Bacon burger ($10.99) and immediately injured the roof of my mouth from too much crunch. While a burger with bacon mayo, a bacon-studded patty AND chicken-fried bacon sounds over-the-top swell in theory, this burger was poorly executed on two separate visits. The crispy chicken-fried shell on the bacon was just far too crisp and dry, leading to a burger that scraped more than pleased my palate. Pass.

While I might not return for the chicken-fried bacon burger at The Ram, I do know what I would return for: The veggie burger. Read more »


More wings: Another chicken wing chain eyes the Tacoma area, plus TNT Diner readers weigh in with recommendations for local wings

Last week, I wrote about the national chain Buffalo Wild Wings joining Winger’s near the Tacoma Mall. Considering Hooters is located a short distance away, it appears that particular neighborhood is gearing for total wing domination of Tacoma. I’m planning on calling that area The Wing Vortex.

But wait! Now it appears another wing chain called Wingstop is headed here, only this one is eyeballing Tacoma for a location, plus the ‘burbs. Here are a few excerpts from the email I got from Wingstop, Read more »


Ivar’s opens Puyallup location May 24 (psst, they’ll give away free stuff)

This just in my inbox: Ivar’s has set an opening for its Puyallup store: May 24. The Seattle-based company announced in February that it would open its newest seafood bar at 13101 Meridian Ave. E., the former location for Del Taco. The Northwest homegrown chain of fish and chips restaurants will introduce a new menu at the Puyallup location: A mix of healthier grilled fish sandwiches, tacos and salads, in addition to the regular menu of fried stuff. Click “more” to see the new menu, and to find out about the free fish for a year give-away for the first customers on opening day. Read more »


Lake-view dining: Al Lago hits high marks, but it took three tries to get there

Grilled leg of lamb is a knock-out dish served at Al Lago, an Italian Restaurant with a view of Lake Tapps. Photo by Peter Haley/Staff photographer

When the weather warms, I know where I want to sit and sip pinot noir: The patio of Al Lago Ristorante, a lake-view restaurant with a rich and flavorful Southern Italian menu brushed broadly with Northwest ingredients.

The design of the cavernous restaurant might not make much use of the Lake Tapps view, but the stylish and warm décor in autumnal hues of sage and copper and cushy, deep booths near the flickering rock fireplace do entice on true Northwest days. Read more »