TNT Diner

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

NOTICE: TNT Diner has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved TNT Diner.
Visit the new section.

Tacoma’s Proctor neighborhood sees a flurry of change. New owners at the Rosewood and The Old House, Jubilee closes, and Babblin’ Babs goes Parisian

Post by Sue Kidd / The News Tribune on Jan. 4, 2012 at 2:28 pm | No Comments »
January 4, 2012 3:54 pm
Good news: The Rosewood Cafe may have sold, but the chocolate pot du creme stays at the Rosewood Cafe in Proctor.

Restaurants in Proctor are changing hands, moving out or tweaking their concepts. Two established Proctor restaurants – The Old House and The Rosewood Cafe – have new owners this week, Babblin’ Babs plans to open a Parisian themed bistro in its back room and Jubilee Cupcakes leaves Proctor. And did I mention that I love the new(ish) seating at Capers, which has some of the best meatloaf and cupcakes in town? Click “read more” for all the details.

The Old House becomes The Staircase Café

Mark Bleckert, who has owned The Old House in Proctor for about 18 years, closed his restaurant yesterday. The restaurant was located in a converted house on Proctor Street. The space will reopen soon as the Staircase Café with a new owner, a new concept and new look.

Gig Harbor resident Sal’An Weyer, who previously operated a restaurant in Oklahoma (which her daughter still runs) and previously lived in Texas, will turn the restaurant into a lunch spot by day, and steak-and-seafood dinner house by night. The separately owned gift shop downstairs will remain. The most notable change to the restaurant portion of the business, she said in a phone interview, will be elaborate murals in the building’s staircase, the restaurant’s namesake.

Lunch will be served 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Saturday and look for prices in the $12.95 range, with daily specials ranging from meatloaf to salads and quiche. Dinner will see price hikes, with entrees at $18-$23, and a menu of steaks, seafood and specials like brisket and prime rib. Dinner will be served 5 p.m-9 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday.

In the kitchen for dinner service will be Jay Burke, a Tacoma chef. Weyer will be the daytime chef, and also will make desserts.

What about Mark? When I spoke with him by phone last month, Bleckert said he wasn’t sure what he was going to do next.

The Staircase Café
Where: 2717 N. Proctor St., Tacoma.
Phone: 253-759-7336
Opening: Soon, probably next week
Serving: Lunch Monday-Saturday and dinner Wednesday-Saturday.

New owners come to the Rosewood Cafe, but don’t expect many changes

At the Rosewood Café, third generation Tacoma restaurant owner Barry Watson handed over his restaurant Sunday to Richard and Gretchen Benzin. “They’re two of the sweetest people in the world,” said Watson of the couple, who are acquaintances through another friend.

Watson, whose grandparents owned the C Street Cafe in Tacoma, will stay on at the café for a few more weeks as a consultant while the switch happens. “This restaurant has been successful beyond our dreams. I’m due for a little bit of a break, I’m due for a vacation. I made a promise to my wife and daughter that we’re going to close one chapter” before starting another, said Watson.

But will a third generation restaurant owner really leave the business? I’m betting no. When Watson gets to his next venture, I’ll be writing about it. In the meantime, I had a pressing matter to discuss with Watson. What would happen to one of my favorite desserts in Tacoma – the chocolate pot du crème? “It stays,” says Watson. There are no planned changes at all to the menu, Watson told me by phone. Watson’s recipes go with the sale of the restaurant, too, including the soups and other items I praised in my 2010 review of the Rosewood.

Staying on at the restaurant will be Chrissy Johnson, who was Watson’s longtime kitchen manager. She’ll continue directing the kitchen. The Rosewood recently hired Dana Berg, formerly of Minoela, and restaurant watchers will recognize another familiar face at the restaurant – Vivian Irish, who left Maxwell’s executive chef position in November.

Rosewood Café
Where: 3323 N. 26th St, Tacoma
Info: 253-752-7999 or

Babblin’ Babs goes Parisian

You know that cute room in the back of Babblin’ Babs Bistro in Proctor? Chef William Mueller and wife Shannon Mueller have big plans for the tiny space. They’re turning it into a Parisian themed bistro serving lunch. Said Mueller by phone, “The menu is going to be classic peasant food – French, with a European flair.” Expect to see cheese and pate plates, and daily specials. Mueller and wife Shannon are working on the menu now and don’t have an official start date. Because of limited space – four tables – you’ll have to make reservations to dine there. Babblin’ Babs will keep the same hours – breakfast and lunch only.

Babblin’ Babs Bistro
Where: 2724 N. Proctor St., Tacoma
Info: 253-761-9099

Jubilee Cupcakes leaves Proctor, but the Puyallup outpost remains open

When I spoke with Patti Frank in June when she opened Jubilee Cupcakes in South Hill, she said she was going to vacate the Proctor store at the end of her lease. She is making good on that promise. My colleague Kathleen Cooper reported yesterday that Sonja’s Clothes To Live In store plans to move into the old cupcake location. I spoke with Frank earlier today by phone and she said the last day for cupcake business at the Proctor store will be Jan. 22. As she closes the Proctor bakery, she’ll work on turning the Jubilee in South Hill into a full-service dessert bakery with cheesecake, pie and other desserts. Expect to see the bakery expand its selection beyond cupcakes later this spring. Frank said the bakery will sell a broad selection of gluten-free desserts, too.

Capers serves a mean meatloaf sandwich, and I love their new (ish) seating

The meatloaf sandwich at Capers is a must try for lunch.

Proctor’s Capers Cafe & Take Home is my latest destination for a respite – cushy bench and table seating makes me want to linger. The take-out headquarters for busy Proctor parents still has a refrigerator case full of family-sized entrees ready to heat-and-serve for dinner, but I really appreciate the cafe’s economically priced fast-service sandwiches ($4.50-$7.99) that come with a choice of chips or macaroni salad. On a recent visit, I had a meatloaf sandwich that came with a double whammy of meaty yum – pork and beef. The Carolina pulled pork on another visit was topped with a snappy slaw. And if you thought that Jubilee was the best place for cupcakes in Proctor, you’d be mistaken. One of the best cupcakes I’ve had in Tacoma came right out of the Capers glass cake dome.

Capers added cushy seating to its small dining room.

Capers Cafe & Take Home
Where: 2602 N. Proctor, Tacoma
Info: 253-761-4444 or

The News Tribune now uses Facebook commenting on selected blogs. See editor's column for more details. Commenters are expected to abide by terms of service for Facebook as well as commenting rules for Report violators to