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Sports bar planned for Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue restaurant district

Post by Sue Kidd / The News Tribune on Jan. 17, 2012 at 6:49 pm | No Comments »
January 17, 2012 6:55 pm
This former Chinese Restaurant (and fish & chips place before that) at Sixth Ave. and Alder street is being remodeled into a sports pub. Photo by Peter Haley/Staff photographer

Earlier today, my colleague Kathleen Cooper wrote about the work on the long vacant ABC “Asian Cuisine” restaurant at Sixth and Alder, in a plum spot in the Sixth Avenue restaurant district. The building at 3118 Sixth Ave. has been shuttered for several years and looked as if it was in need of a serious makeover. Now it’s getting one. I spoke last week with owner Chuck Bayha, and he gave me details on his new sports pub, which he’s calling Overtime Bar and Grill.

Bayha, who said he previously managed Tacoma’s Paddy Coyne’s and has worked in pull-tab consulting, tentatively plans a late February opening. He described the theme as “a higher end sports pub,” with pull-tabs and a menu of steaks and seafood in a mid-range price level (think $15-$17 and under).

Higher end? With pull tabs? Do those concepts belong together? Can they belong together? Bayha said it’s possible and that he is creating something Tacoma doesn’t have – a high-end sports pub. When he said that, I had questions for him, “What about Varsity Grill? Or Cheers Downtown?” Both those restaurants fit into the category of higher(ish) end sports haunts – and I don’t think either have pull tabs. Bayha responded that his bar and grill will mirror more the concept of Varsity Grill than the more casual Cheers Downtown. To me? It sounds as if Overtime will be something similar to the West End Pub, located about seven blocks away. (Tip: I wrote about the West End’s Kobe burger in my 20 Bar Burgers You Must Eat Before You Die series in December 2010).

Whatever the concept, Bayha said the building requires remodeling. He’s lifting the ceiling and working on the electrical. He said the hood and grease trap – two issues that seem to always dash the dreams of a quick restaurant opening – are just fine and up to code. The interior will be redone with wood paneling. Pull-tabs will have a significant presence.

What Bayha said about the menu is this: “We’re going to have a lot of nice things on the menu – steaks. We’re going to do salmon, things like vodka onion rings, and we’re doing hush puppies, mac and cheese. … Creamed asparagus as a side.” He said he hasn’t hired a chef with a resume familiar to local restaurant watchers, but his chefs will be “trained in a Sysco corporate kitchen.” I didn’t even know there was such a thing. I’ll reserve judgment until the restaurant opens.

While that deserted corner long has needed a restaurant – or any kind of retail presence, really, I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed with how the concept may blend with what Sixth Avenue already offers. I really was hoping for something Tacoma really needs – dim sum, Ethiopian, a creperie or even something like a Jewish Deli. Or how about a Vietnamese restaurant in the heart of Sixth? There isn’t one – yet.

And while we’re on the topic of Sixth Avenue, here’s something interesting. Remember Buck Naked Donuts? Well, the leasing agent tells me that he’s looking for a new tenant for that space. I guess that’s not surprising considering the sign announcing the doughnut shop went up last May, and then nothing ever happened. I’m crossing my fingers for a pie shop or Ethiopian restaurant. If you’re interested in that space, send me an email. I’ll put you in touch with the agent.

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