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Opening this weekend: Tacoma’s Smoke + Cedar plans reservation only opening

Post by Sue Kidd / The News Tribune on Feb. 28, 2014 at 12:00 am | No Comments »
March 3, 2014 3:11 pm
Gordon Naccarato, Chef-Owner of Pacific Grill is pictured here at his downtown Tacoma restaurant. File photo 2012. Dean J. Koepfler/Staff Photographer
Gordon Naccarato, Chef-Owner of Pacific Grill is pictured here at his downtown Tacoma restaurant. File photo 2012. Dean J. Koepfler/Staff Photographer

Tacoma restaurant Smoke + Cedar will open this weekend at Allenmore Golf Course, but there’s a catch. The restaurant only will be open for dinner and only by reservation.

The by-reservation opening is designed to keep the restaurant moving smoothly during its inaugural week, said Gordon Naccarato, a Tacoma native who also owns Pacific Grill in downtown Tacoma (with business partner Joe Hardwick Jr.). Expect the first few days, or up to the first week of operation, at Smoke + Cedar to limit dining to the reservation-only option as the restaurant settles into its new digs. Yes, that means you’ll actually have to call and make reservations – how very un-Tacoman, right?

When fully operating, the 165-seat restaurant at the Allenmore Golf Course (both venues are open to the public) will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and bar dining. The decor is purely Northwest by design, a nod to the architecture of the lodge style building at Allenmore, built by the Elks lodge after the lodge sold its property across the street to developers. Interior design comes from McVey Oakley Design Studio, the same firm that designed the interior of Pacific Grill (the firm also is behind  Sky City at the Space Needle and Elliott’s Oyster House).

Pacific Grill items, such as the skinny fries with cheeseburger sliders and bacon-wrapped dates called "meat candy," hint at the playful menu diners will find at Smoke + Cedar, opening this weekend in Tacoma. File photo 2009. Janet Jensen/Staff photographer
Pacific Grill items, such as the skinny fries with cheeseburger sliders and bacon-wrapped dates called “meat candy,” hint at the playful menu diners will find at Smoke + Cedar, opening this weekend in Tacoma. File photo 2009. Janet Jensen/Staff photographer

Smoke + Cedar will serve polished modern American fare something like what’s found at Naccarato’s Pacific Grill. Naccarato described the Smoke + Cedar menu as more playful than his past restaurants. He prefers to call it “fun” dining, not fine dining.

Diners will find dressed-up sandwiches at lunch and a surf-and-turf menu with a smattering of pasta at dinner. Naccarato will prepare some items with the on-site smoker. Naccarato said he’s been experimenting with all kinds of smoking, and not just meat dishes. Think: House-smoked ketchup and smoked martini olives.

This is Naccarato’s first restaurant serving breakfast and he expects to introduce some of his favorite recipes, such as breakfast biscuits from cooking legend Shirley Corriher. His plans include eventually offering weekend brunch.

Naccarato said the menu will shrink and expand to accommodate most wallets.

The lodge space is separated into a dining area and a bar about the size of Pacific Grill’s. An 80-seat patio will be open during outdoor dining season.

Naccarato is son of longtime Tacoma sports promoter Stan Naccarato. The Stadium High School graduate left Tacoma bound for law school after graduating from the University of Washington, but wound up cooking his way through some of the best Los Angeles restaurants. His three decade deep resume includes working alongside notable American chefs Mark Peel, Nancy Silverton, Michael McCarty and Jonathan Waxman.

Naccarato returned to Tacoma and opened The Beach House at Purdy in 2002 with brother Steve Naccarato, a frequent partner in Naccarato’s restaurant. They closed that restaurant in 2008. Downtown Tacoma’s Pacific Grill opened in 2005. For that project, Naccarato partnered with Joe Hardwick Jr. In 2012, Naccarato opened Classics by Pacific Grill in the LeMay – America’s Car Museum. In 2013, Naccarato assisted brother Steve Naccarato and artist Robert Stocker in opening Shake Shake Shake in the Stadium neighborhood.

Smoke + Cedar
2013 S. Cedar St., Tacoma; 253-343-6090, ext. 100, smokeandcedar.com

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