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.

Archives: Aug. 2013


Destination Mt. Rainier: Sampling the area’s finest pies from Bonney Lake to Ashford

A slice of blackberry pie from Copper Creek Inn Restaurant in Ashford. It's the only pie served at the Inn, which is regionally famous for the pies created by pie legend Jennie Zuelich. Peter Haley/Staff photographer
A slice of blackberry pie from Copper Creek Inn Restaurant in Ashford. It’s the only pie served at the Inn, which is regionally famous for the pies created by pie legend Jennie Zuelich. Peter Haley/Staff photographer

It’s a Northwest tradition to pile fresh berries into a pie tin, slap on a flaky crust, and bake it until it’s a bubbling mass of sweet-tart splendor.

Another summer Northwest tradition? A trek to Mount Rainier.

I intersected those traditions in my recent search for great pie in the South Sound. What I found was this: If searching for truly comfort-style pie, the kind your grandmother may have made, the treasure trove of pie bakers can be found along a meandering 50-mile plus stretch through East Pierce County – from Bonney Lake to Spanaway to Ashford. And this time of year? Ashford is a splendid destination whether you’re going for pie or a trek.

Blackberry is the kind of pie we Northwest natives grew up eating and the most popular pie I found along the pie trail to Mount Rainier, but South Sound cafes and bakeries all the way to Mount Rainier National Park’s front door specialize in everything from raspberry to huckleberry, rhubarb to apple and funny quirky pies like Willy Wonka and Logger’s Pie.
For blackberry lovers like me, every bakery or cafe featured here served that kind of pie. But most every cafe had something else in the pie case that I liked.

Here’s where you should eat pie as summer winds to an end. Read more »


Opening in downtown Puyallup – Bourbon Street Bar & Grill

When Bourbon Street Bar & Grill opens this fall in downtown Puyallup, owner Mike de Alwis pictures a dining experience that’s affordable and aimed at date night diners. As the New Orleans inspired name suggests, the menu will tread into Louisiana dining with a menu of steaks and seafood. Read more »


Tales from the smoker: Roadside BBQ opens permanent location in Spanaway

Spareribs at Roadside BBQ are slow cooked over apple, cherry and pear wood.
Spareribs at Roadside BBQ are slow cooked over apple, cherry and pear wood.

The return of the waving pink pig with the “Wood Smoked B-B-Q” sign on Pacific Avenue is my first indicator that Roadside BBQ is back in business.

The tiny barbecue restaurant first opened a year ago in a temporary location, serving weekends only at 130th and Pacific Avenue, near PLU.  Owner Susan Ruiz, who runs Roadside with daughter Sarah Sheedy and manager Dirk James, closed that space and went mobile to the parking lot of Cash &Carry at 112th this spring, selling barbecue from a trailer converted to a mini restaurant on wheels. Read more »


Dining report: Coming to South Sound is more Puerto Rican cuisine

There’s Puerto Rican food. And then there’s the “Other Puerto Rican Food.” That’s how Juan and Elizabeth Aponte categorize the style of food they love to eat and cook.

The owners of the tiny Lakewood cafe, Old San Juan, have been serving straightforward Puerto Rican dishes like pernil and mofongo since 2010. At the end of this month, they’ll expand to OSJ International, a Lakewood cafe that will serve “Other Puerto Rican Food” influenced by a grab bag of cultures. They plan to open that restaurant around Aug. 30. They intend to keep Old San Juan running just as it always has. And guess what? Another restaurant serving Puerto Rican cuisine also is on the way to Tacoma. Read more »


Tourist Tacoma: Surf-and-turf restaurants with waterfront views

From the Foss Waterway to Ruston, from Titlow Beach to Chambers Bay, South Sound’s waterways are dotted with restaurants boasting this-is-why-we-live-here views.

In the final installment of my Tourist Tacoma series, I’m suggesting where to take out-of-town diners to impress upon them that our water views are better than, well, anything they might have back home. (So there.)

I’m recommending restaurants that have proved their prowess for consistent dining — no matter the price tag. I cover broad territory here with everything from cheap fish and chips to surf and turf that’s best enjoyed with an expense account.

My centerpiece

Read more »


Opening Friday: Soul, a Proctor restaurant with a menu of Latin American and Southern style soul food

When Soul opens Friday in the Proctor neighborhood, it will bring a few styles of food that we’re short on in South Sound – Latin American cuisine and Southern style soul food.

Co-owner Natural Allah described the menu as the greatest hits of comfort eating from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Peru and the Southern United States. That means a menu that will list pernil from Puerto Rico alongside Peruvian tamales and fried catfish with greens and macaroni and cheese.

UPDATE 8/16: Soul announced via its Facebook page that due to a permit problem, the restaurant will now open Friday, Aug. 23.

Read more »


Now open: Mandolin Sushi & Steakhouse, a teppanyaki restaurant in Tacoma

Tacoma’s newest teppanyaki and sushi restaurant has opened. Mandolin Sushi & Steakhouse was a restaurant nearly a year in the making. The owners made over the restaurant from its former life as a coffee house to an eatery outfitted with slick decor. The dining room has a  sushi counter and eight teppan cooking stations with room for 8-10 diners each. A back room holds two of the tabletops, which can be reserved for private parties.

Never experienced teppanyaki? Read more »


Dining event: Dishcrawl comes to Tacoma, but there’s a catch

Dishcrawl hit Olympia earlier this year and now Tacoma has its own organizer for the nationwide group known for putting together restaurant tours. Kathryn Neely is a recent South Carolina transplant who moved to Bremerton and has just started taking note of Tacoma’s restaurant scene. Her first Dishcrawl Tacoma tour on Aug. 20 intends to introduce food lovers to four downtown Tacoma restaurants.

The catch? You won’t know the restaurants until you get there, which is how most Dishcrawl events are organized. Read more »