TNT Diner

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

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Archives: June 2011


X Group Restaurants purchases Tacoma brewpub Engine House No. 9

The bison burger at Engine House No. 9 in Tacoma. Will the purchase of E9 by X Group Restaurants mean a menu change for the longtime Tacoma brewpub?

In case you missed it, C.R. Roberts from The News Tribune’s business team reported that X Group Restaurants, which owns Asado and Masa on Sixth Avenue, has purchased the brewery pub Engine House No. 9, located just around the corner from Masa. Read the story here. I’ve messaged Joel Mertens, the chef of X Group Restaurants, to ask him if he’ll oversee the menu and kitchen, but a question in the meantime: If you could change anything about E9, what would it be? My first thought would be to keep the big cookies for dessert and don’t change the bison burger much, but feel free to ditch the bland tater tots from the menu, or at least season them properly

UPDATE: I heard back from Mertens and here’s what he had to say about the E9 menu: Read more »


Lefty’s Burger Shack coming to University Place

For six months, Pam Hubert has told curious passersby that she’ll be opening Lefty’s Burger Shack in “two weeks.”

This time, she means it.

The University Place burger restaurant has been Hubert’s working dream for two years, and all she needs now is health department approval to open. She expects that will come this week or next. The burger restaurant will serve Read more »


Taste of Tacoma 2011: Dining through this year’s cheap eats brings bargains and a few duds

The $3.75 half Philly cheesesteak sandwich at the Sizzlin' Phillies booth was the best deal of everything I sampled at today's Taste of Tacoma.

Grazing around the Taste of Tacoma could cost you as much as a higher end sit-down restaurant if you put your eyes and gullet in charge of your wallet. That’s why my strategy is to graze the cheap eats. Priced $3.75 each, every booth is supposed to offer a dish of something for the reduced “Just a Bite” price. Last year, on opening day, several vendors weren’t advertising their cheap eats. So how did the vendors do this year? Read on. Read more »


Taste of Tacoma 2011: Wear your stretchy pants and use these tips for navigating the festival

Corn gnawing is a spectator sport at Taste of Tacoma.

Whatever your strategy for grazing your way around the Taste of Tacoma, here’s one tip to add to your arsenal: Look before you buy.

Taste of Tacoma is a visual feast with hundreds of people parading plates of every cuisine imaginable. You can predict what is worth buying from watching diners wander by with plates of food, or from listening to their suggestions. Last year, passers-by told me a restaurant was serving $2 egg rolls, while a nearby booth offered eight for $5.

My strategy was to cruise the restaurant booths first and look at the offerings before committing. Pay attention, watch the plates of food, and ignore your mother’s advice and do talk to strangers.

Click “more” for other tips and tricks for working your way through the festival. Read more »


Taste of Tacoma 2011: Who’s cooking what and where to find the eats you want to save room for

More than 30 food vendors will serve diners at the Taste of Tacoma.

The main event at Taste of Tacoma, of course, is the food. Here are highlights of the offerings, a partial list of vendors, and details of the healthy menu options and the $3.75 bites. A little more than 30 food booths will offer two, three, four or more menu items. Read more »


Taste of Tacoma 2011: Point Defiance Park will become the region’s largest food court this weekend

The Taste of Tacoma will have bites of all sizes for diners of all sizes.

Point Defiance Park will become the South Sound’s largest food court this weekend at the 26th annual Emerald Queen Taste of Tacoma.

About 30 pop-up portable restaurants will serve everything from tacos to gyros, salmon to shortcake, alligator to piroshky. If your food tastes skew broad and you have an appreciation for festival food, this event will appeal to your eager gullet. Read more »


More proof of summer: Tacoma’s Barrel No. 51 mobile barbecue truck is back in action serving pulled pork, chicken and ribs

The pulled pork sandwich at Barrel No 51 BBQ.

After an inaugural summer last year of changing menus and the evolution of its barbecue offerings, the mobile food truck Barrel No. 51 BBQ is back in operation. Now all diners have to do is find the truck. For now, the truck is serving barbecue in the parking lot of the Destiny City church, which is right behind Target. The truck previously tested two locations, last summer in Lakewood and then moving to the Lincoln District last fall.

For a food business with “BBQ” in its moniker, I found the truck’s limited sandwich menu last summer lacking. But when I checked back in on the truck last fall, they finally had real slow-and-low barbecue on the menu – ribs, pulled pork, smoked pulled chicken sandwiches, and baked beans and cole slaw.

My most recent visit found Read more »


Hey, look. Free stuff. Steamers at Titlow Beach welcomes summer (briefly) with free ice cream today

The sun is out. For now, at least. It’s officially summer. Steamers Seafood Cafe at Titlow Beach in Tacoma is offering a free ice cream cone for diners from 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. today, June 21. The free scoop comes in a sugar cone and the flavor choices are (drum roll, please): vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, mint chip, cookies and cream, huckleberry, butter pecan and coffee almond fudge.

Is there a catch? Doesn’t appear so. I could find no fine print saying diners have to purchase anything to get the freebie. This looks like an actual and real something for free.

Read more »