TNT Diner

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

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Archives: Aug. 2011


Veg-friendly Tacoma: AmeRAWcan Bistro in the St. Helens neighborhood

Defining the raw diet depends upon the eater, much like the wide spectrum of vegetarian or vegan eating. The raw diet can shrink or expand, it can be a full-time or part-time, it can include meat, or not. The general philosophy goes something like this: cooking food removes vital enzymes the body needs. Some raw foodists consider somewhere around 116 degrees to be the cutoff for cooking food. Dig deeper and you’ll find raw fans who eat a vegan diet of only plant-based foods. That’s the line of thinking at AmeRAWcan Bistro, a smart and well-designed restaurant that opened Aug. 12 in a tucked-away location on St. Helens Avenue. Read more »


Veg-friendly Tacoma: Marrow Kitchen Bar on Sixth Avenue

At Marrow, a new restaurant on Sixth Avenue in Tacoma, farrotto on the left, and Oregonzola fried squash blossoms at right. Photo by Peter Haley/Staff photographer

Pretty dining room, a prime corner in the popular Sixth Avenue eating district and a chef with a penchant for layering flavors and textures – Marrow Kitchen Bar is trying something unusual for Tacoma. So far? I like it. The restaurant was opened Aug. 2 by Jaime Kay Jones and husband Jason Jones, who in 2007 opened Top of Tacoma, a popular McKinley neighborhood lounge. In the kitchen at Marrow is co-owner Kyle Wnuk, who until recently was chef of Dirty Oscar’s Annex, also on Sixth.

While half of the menu is devoted to meat-eaters (more on that in a bit), the restaurant serves double duty with a menu of vegetarian creations with sophisticated flare and not a morsel of tofu or gimmicky meat substitute in sight. Read more »


Veg-friendly Tacoma: Quickie Too has catered to vegans for 20 years

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.

Vegan southern food? That term might seem incongruous, but a visit to Quickie Too and maybe it will make sense. Or not, depending upon your comfort with vegan dining. I reviewed the restaurant a few months back during a series called 10-in-One where we review 10 restaurants in a single neighborhood. Not only is Quick Too in the middle of one of the city’s most interesting eating neighborhoods, but the Hilltop restaurant has been feeding vegans in town for more than two decades – first as a wholesale sandwich shop, then as a restaurant. The casual restaurant with a serious dose of laid-back attitude is a worthy lunchtime sandwich destination whether vegan, or not. Click “more” to read what I had to say about the restaurant in my last review. Read more »


Veg-friendly Tacoma: It’s only getting better

Veg-friendly Tacoma. That’s a questionable notion for plant-based eaters facing a dearth of fine dining restaurants in Tacoma that take the meat out of the menu.

That’s not to say vegetarian eating can’t be found here. Tacoma’s Quickie Too and Caffe Dei cater to that eating style on a casual level, and myriad restaurants list streamlined choices for non-meat eaters. But fine dining vegan or vegetarian with extensive menus? Not in Tacoma.

Until now.

While neither is fully vegetarian or vegan, two new restaurants offer deeper choices for high-end veg dining than I’ve ever seen in Tacoma.

Read more »


First bite: Social Bar & Grill on Tacoma’s Foss waterfront

On the deck of Social Bar and Grill, Anna Birch serves dinner to Courtney Robinson and Zach Hansen. The Museum of Glass is in the background. Photo by Peter Haley/Staff photographer

Complimentary savory cassava root doughnut appetizers, Ahi poke with a tangle of seaweed, swordfish skewers coated in chimichurri, sublime roasted duck, pitchers of sangria – all with a waterfront view of the Foss Waterway. I’m ready to move in for the rest of the (pseudo) summer at Social Bar and Grill, the newest restaurant that opened July 26 on Tacoma’s urban waterway.

With this-is-why-we-live-here views and a lively dining room made over with a floor to ceiling picture window fully framing the display kitchen, Social is a buzzing restaurant teeming with movement … and noise. Read more »


Restaurant flurry: Get ready for twelve new restaurants to try in the Tacoma area

Since 2006, I can’t think of a time when the South Sound region welcomed a dozen new restaurants in a three-month period. Restaurant watchers might remember the restaurant boom in 2006 that introduced Matador, Masa, Stadium Bistro, TwoKoi and a string of other restaurants in a short period.

Now it seems history is repeating. Will the economy make it a bust? Only time and your dining dollars will tell.

And speaking of the economy, what’s with the flurry of restaurants opening when the business landscape is not exactly friendly? Read more »


First bite: Papa Jones BBQ on Tacoma’s Hilltop

Is this a pile of meat? Or a sandwich? You be the judge. Papa Jones serves chicken, pulled pork and chopped beef sandwiches with your choice of sauce. They come with a side salad.

Wood stacked up outside a barbecue restaurant usually is an early alert system that the real deal is just inside. At Papa Jones BBQ, the stack of alder wood -adjacent to the building tucked into a flower bed -says it all. Meats are smoked here. You can smell it a block away.

Pork shoulder, ribs, brisket and chicken are rubbed with a sweet-smoky spice blend and slow smoked over alder and cherry. Papa Jones is a restaurant that has the technical aspect of barbecue nailed. The Hilltop restaurant opened July 29. The atmosphere is seat-yourself casual with modern decor – stained concrete floors, snazzy pendant lighting and attractive earth tones.  It’s downright pretty, which, if I know barbecue aficionados – and I think I do – might make diners pause. Read more »