TNT Diner

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

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Archives: July 2011


Hey, look. Lefty’s Burger Shack in University Place is open. The line is out the door.

On opening day of Lefty’s Burger Shack last Saturday, she ran out of food. She ran out of food Sunday, too. On Monday, she served 450 burgers. Four hundred fifty burgers. In tiny restaurant terms, that’s like an indie band selling out the Tacoma Dome – small fish, big numbers. The line? Out the door.

“It was just insane,” said Pam Hubert, who has opened Lefty’s Burger Shack in University Place in a funky building with a cool history of burger lore. It was once home to Dairy Queen and Dairy Dell. News Tribune archives hint that Arctic Circle once called that building home, a few readers here remember it, too. If you’ve been by the building, you’d remember it. It’s octagon-ish and looks like it was built to be a burger shack.

Lefty’s is the culmination of a few years of work by Hubert (read this blog post I wrote back in June for the rest of the story), who runs the restaurant with her mother and two sons. Read more »


Social Bar and Grill opens tonight on Tacoma’s Foss Waterway

Ahi poke, swordfish skewers, pork belly sandwiches, roasted duck, pitchers of sangria – sign me up for Social.

Tonight’s the night. After a soft opening for family and friends over the weekend, Social Bar and Grill, which I told you about in June, is starting dinner service this evening. Curious about the location? It’s in the old Woody’s on the Water space next to the Museum of Glass.

Social will keep soft dinner hours this week (check the box below for details), but plans to offer lunch and dinner service daily starting Aug. 6.

A trio of Matador alumni are the crafters of Social. Read more »


First bite: Midtown Grill in Bonney Lake

The barbecue burger, right, is one of the most popular burgers at Midtown. The burger in the back is a blue cheese burger. Photo by Lui Kit Wong/Staff photographer

I sat in a booth across from a group of four men. As my dining partners and I waited for our burgers and steaks at Bonney Lake’s Midtown Grill, I watched the table of men with their eyes glued to different flat panels. One had his eye on a soccer match; another watched the daily sports highlights. They talked, ate and kept their eyes on the scores.

Steaks, burgers, sandwiches and seafood in a setting with a stylish environment – Bonney Lake’s newest sports bar seems a win on a lot of levels. And dig a little deeper into the background of Midtown and it makes sense that the restaurant feeds the sports-loving crowd. Midtown is the sibling restaurant to the more casual Bonney Lake Tavern, which long has been home to sports and burger fans alike in this East Pierce community. Read more »


Burgers and chips: Hop Jack’s in Bonney Lake and The Spar in Tacoma spare me from fry fatigue

Bacon cheeseburger at the Spar Tavern in Tacoma.

Burgers with fries. Anyone who follows this blog knows how much I’ve written about that combo in the last year. If not, just click here, here, here, here, here and here (did that make you dizzy?)

The last few months, I’ve encountered a few burgers served with house-made chips worth a mention. I was starting to suffer from fry fatigue, so the burgers at Hop Jack’s and the Spar, both served with crisply fried, thinly cut potato chips, found a fan in me. Read more »


Massimo in University Place opens Sunday (finally)

A month delayed by electrical and plumbing issues, but Massimo, University Place’s newest restaurant will open Sunday.

The restaurant, which I previously wrote about here and here, is the new tenant for the building that formerly housed Captain Nemo’s on Bridgeport Way. Massimo is a sibling restaurant to the Purdy Italian eatery of the same name that Massimo and Cindy Terracciano opened in 2009. They previously owned Terracciano’s in Gig Harbor at 3119 Judson (that restaurant now is Il Lucano) Co-owner Rich Johnson, who has worked with the couple since their first Gig Harbor restaurant, will manage the restaurant.

For those who recall the 80s decor of Captain Nemo’s, wipe that memory because the restaurant has been stripped and rebuilt. Read more »


First bite: Tortas Locas on South Tacoma Way

Tortas Locas opened June 23 on South Tacoma Way. The sandwich shop serves 17 different styles of tortas, Mexican sandwiches.

One more reason to head to South Tacoma Way for lunch: a new tortas sandwich shop.

Tortas Locas opened June 23 at 5420 South Tacoma Way in a neighborhood that’s home to quality sandwich dining – Philly Joe’s for cheesesteaks and Patty’s, home of the Cake burger, for diner style burgers (and sometime this summer, Porter’s expects it will be serving barbecue sandwiches, among other things, on South Tacoma Way).

Jose Alonso, and his wife Laura, are the husband-wife duo behind the restaurant. Read more »


Parkland dining: 208 Garfield and Margret’s add to an already interesting eating neighborhood

Braised short ribs with horseradish glaze and creamed potato (foreground) and Saint Marcellin fondue with green apple, ciabatta and sweet cherry conserve at 208 Garfield in Parkland. Photo by Peter Haley/Staff photographer

The sophisticated Italian restaurant Marzano. The mom-and-pop Mexican restaurant Reyna’s. The now-defunct Cajun eatery From The Bayou. Parkland long has been a destination for interesting dining.

Here’s something even diehard foodies might not have on their radars for the neighborhood near Pacific Lutheran University: Parkland is enjoying another culinary awakening.

New Parkland restaurants give reasons to head to the land of the Lutes. There’s Bruno’s European restaurant, whose cabbage rolls I wrote about last week (the restaurant relocated to Parkland from Lakewood earlier this year). And in May, I wrote about Yummers, a funky new cupcake shop with irreverent flavor combinations and a solid student following.

Here are two more you should track: 208 Garfield, a restaurant operated by PLU with dishes that reminded me more of Manhattan than Tacoma; and Margret’s, a plucky, cute and hidden sandwich cafe with an emphasis on scratch cooking that recently was taken over by two culinary school graduates. Read on… Read more »


Downtown Puyallup dining: Irish eats coming soon, and two restaurants worth a visit

Puyallup diners will have to wait at least another week for Irish food. The new bar Twisted Kilt Pub & Irish Eatery downtown is open for soccer viewing, beer and sandwiches, but the full Irish menu is on hold until the owners can fix a venting hood in the kitchen. Repairs should take about a week longer, said owner Bryan Purdy. Click here to read more about the pub and menu.

While South Hill is the place for forgettable chain restaurants, downtown Puyallup is really becoming a diner’s destination with the recent additions of Crockett’s, Northwest Vintage and It’s Greek to Me. Click “more” to read about two restaurants I recently sampled – the newer Savory and Sweet Café and Kanpai, a downtown institution. Read more »