TNT Diner

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

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Archives: March 2014

March
31st

Ale House plans summer reopening

Pictured in this July 2013 file photo, employees of the Ale House Pub & Eatery , from left, cooks Aldevon Brown and Jason Liston and bartender Steve Tarbutton, right, tended to landscaping chores a few weeks after the July 12 fire that closed the restaurant. Dean J. Koepfler/Staff photographer
Pictured in this July 2013 file photo, employees of the Ale House Pub & Eatery , from left, cooks Aldevon Brown and Jason Liston and bartender Steve Tarbutton, right, tended to landscaping chores a few weeks after the July 12 fire that closed the restaurant. Dean J. Koepfler/Staff photographer

Craig Dickens had hoped to reopen the Ale House Pub & Eatery around the time the Seahawks season started. Well, the season – and an epic Super Bowl win (shameless plug alert) – have come and gone and the University Place pub and restaurant still sits dark after a devastating kitchen fire closed the restaurant in July 2013.

However, after a lengthy process, permits now are in hand and Dickens has hired a construction crew to begin the remodel. His new estimate? If all goes well, plan for a summer reopening. Read more »

March
28th

Favorite Chinese restaurants: Yen Ching, Tacoma Szechuan and newcomer Malri Hyang

Frank Luu is head waiter at Yen Ching Restaurant on South Tacoma Way in Lakewood. He's the longtime face of the Chinese restaurant that's served Lakewood diners for 30 years. Peter Haley/Staff photographer
Frank Luu is head waiter at Yen Ching Restaurant on South Tacoma Way in Lakewood. He’s the longtime face of the Chinese restaurant that’s served Lakewood diners for 30 years. Peter Haley/Staff photographer

Readers frequently ask me about my favorite Chinese restaurant.

My answer is a neighborhood, not a specific restaurant.

Along a one-mile stretch of South Tacoma Way, in a Lakewood neighborhood known for Korean dining, three restaurants comprise what I call the Chinese Restaurant Vortex of South Sound.

One is an old-time find, a Chinese-American restaurant reminiscent of the chop suey houses of yesteryear. A second is a stylish, modern Chinese venture featuring some of the best Szechuan dishes you’ll encounter around here. The third is an unproven hybrid that offers something new for diners: a handsome Chinese-Korean bistro. Read more »

March
28th

Liquor application: Aviateur in downtown Tacoma

Downtown Tacoma restaurant watchers take note of this high-profile space: An application for a liquor license has been filed with the state liquor control board for a restaurant called Aviateur at 1498 Pacific Ave. Read more »

March
27th

More wings: Wingstop coming to Tacoma; Flying Boots also will have wings

How do you like your wings? Naked? Sauced? Dipped in blue cheese? (News Tribune file photo)
How do you like your wings? Naked? Sauced? Dipped in blue cheese? (News Tribune file photo)

The national chain Wingstop has a location planned near Tacoma Mall. This marks the first South Sound location for the 600-restaurant chain with Washington locations in Bellevue and Eastern Washington. It’s starting to look like a slightly more crowded wing market – locally owned Flying Boots and Wings plans to open in the next few weeks. That made-over Lincoln neighborhood haunt plans to open with a menu of wings. Read more »

March
25th

Opening this spring: Penny’s on the Boulevard in Lakewood

Pictured here is a towering burger from Lakewood Pub and Grill, which closed recently and will be replaced with Penny's on the Boulevard, also serving burgers, pizza, diner classics and American comfort eats. File photo 2011.
Pictured here is a towering burger from Lakewood Pub and Grill, which closed recently and will be replaced with Penny’s on the Boulevard, also serving burgers, pizza, diner classics and American comfort eats. File photo 2011.

Erin Mason-Esseln had one good reason for opening her restaurant Penny’s on the Boulevard – “Lakewood is starving for food. Good ol’ American type cooking is kind of hard to find right now,” said Esseln. She expects a spring opening for her full-service restaurant Penny’s, which will be in the space recently vacated by Lakewood Pub and Grill. Read more »

March
24th

Now open: Julianito’s, a taqueria in Graham

Julianito's tacoa

Julianito’s, a fast food style taqueria, opened Saturday in Graham. The Mexican restaurant takes over the space that formerly housed a coffee shop. Julianito’s is a small South Sound business with an outpost in Kent. Read more »

March
21st

Destination Walla Walla: Restaurants worth sampling

The Hemingway cocktail, found at Public House 124 in downtown Walla Walla. The formerly rural wheat town has awoken into a major wine and food destination in recent years.
The Hemingway cocktail, found at Public House 124 in downtown Walla Walla. The formerly rural wheat town has awoken into a major wine and food destination

Walla Walla as a wine destination is well-documented, but the recent growth of restaurants in that town might surprise a visitor.

It surprised me, at least, when I pulled into town earlier this year for a weekend of winery exploration and found a town with so many restaurants, it would take me a month to sample them all.

I had a tough time whittling down where to eat. Our Northwest Getaways section, published in Thursday’s paper for home subscribers, includes minireviews of where I dined as well as where to sip wine. But here is a bonus column: eight dishes you’ll want to eat the next time you’re visiting Walla Walla. Read more »

March
19th

Coming to downtown Tacoma: Italian eatery Cafe Vincero and two brewers, Pacific Brewing and Odd Otter

Grill ChillPacific Avenue is about to become even more robust for brew, wine and dining. When Cafe Vincero opens in April – permits willing – it will be followed by two breweries in downtown Tacoma. Pacific Brewing and Malting expects a spring opening and the newest brewer on the block, Odd Otter Brewing Company, expects to be brewing this summer.

That particular stretch of Pacific Avenue around Seventh and Ninth already is home to a number of entertainment choices, more than half opened in the last two years. The tiki bar Tacoma Cabana, Dorky’s Arcade, the Tex-Mex eatery Matador and the Vietnamese restaurant Orange Door are steps from Cafe Vincero. Also nearby are three other bars – The Office, Meconi’s and The Forum. Around the corner – cocktail bar and comedy club, 502 Downtown. Here’s a look at what’s opening next, with opening dates: Read more »