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First bite: The Forum in downtown Puyallup

Post by Sue Kidd / The News Tribune on July 24, 2013 at 8:53 am | No Comments »
August 5, 2013 3:50 pm
The Forum opened last week in downtown Puyallup. Beer and cocktails are on the drink menu.
The Forum opened last week in downtown Puyallup. Beer and cocktails are on the drink menu.

Downtown Puyallup’s newest bar and eatery has opened. The Forum will serve lunch and dinner daily, but here’s something hard to find in Puyallup – The Forum intends to serve its full menu into the late evening hours.

I stopped in for a first bite and found a full bar – spirits, beer and wine – and a menu of affordable sandwiches, appetizers and a few heartier entrees (see menus below). The atmosphere was purely social, complete with long communal tables encouraging strangers to sit side-by-side.

There also is a row of smaller tables – with card decks scattered throughout the bar (and patrons were using them). It’s a destination for adults 21 and older – no minors allowed. Cocktails are on the menu, but I spotted local beer from Tacoma’s Harmon Brewing. The bar carries a dozen taps they’ll rotate frequently with Northwest craft beers and seasonals. (tip: nearby Puyallup River Alehouse is an outstanding destination for a broad selection of Northwest craft beer taps).

Think of the bar as social in every aspect – at capacity, there was a clamor, but it wasn’t so loud that you couldn’t hear the person next to you. Pixies and Bowie were on the playlist. The interior has been made over from its former life as the cozy Northwest Vintage wine bar (that business moved up the hill). Layers of wood have been added from floor to ceiling – from wood-wrapped walls to a stunning back bar.

The Cuban from The Forum.
The Cuban from The Forum.

Sandwiches make up most of the menu, and they were well executed for the price (sandwiches are $7.95-$9.95 and entrees start at $8.95). The menu was designed by Greg Troger, formerly a minority partner with The Rock in South Hill and Lacey and currently a partner with Hop Jack’s.

I appreciated the nod to vegetarians on the menu, a caramelized onion and Swiss sandwich ($7.95). I spotted two sandwiches not often on bar menus – a  Cuban and shrimp po’ boy (both $9.95). The Cuban had the one-two porky punch of roasted pork and thin deli ham – with melted Swiss, mustard and pickles. The shrimp po’ boy held breaded  shrimp with remoulade. It came dressed with lettuce and tomatoes, but the Forum skipped the pickles that usually are on a po’ boy. A quibble about the bread – nice baguettes, but the bread-to-filling ratio favored bread and I really wanted it to be the other way around. Fries or salad come with sandwiches. Fries were fine, the salad was generous.

Jonah Elliott, formerly of The Rock and Hop Jack’s, manages The Forum. Tim Mellema is the owner with business partner Geoff Kaylor. The restaurant and bar has been more than a year in the making. It originally was going to be an Irish bar – a concept I found perplexing considering the TK Irish Pub is about a block away – but that business plan shifted several months ago.

Puyallup dining tip: Bob’s Burger and Brews will open this December on South Hill, near the new Target. I’ve contacted the owners of the Washington-based restaurant chain and will write a story as soon as I hear back from them. Check out their website.

The Forum
Where: 208 S. Meridian, Puyallup, 253-445-6677,

Sandwich menu The Forum

Burger and entree menu The ForumAppetizer menu The Forum

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