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

Post by Sue Kidd / The News Tribune on March 19, 2014 at 4:47 pm | No Comments »
March 20, 2014 12:38 pm

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:

Cafe Vincero
Where: 714 Pacific Ave., Tacoma;
Expected opening: April 2014

Kevin Cornwell’s to-do list has been daunting, but that doesn’t stop him from chuckling about all the work he’s tackled to turn a storefront into a restaurant-ready space outfitted with a wood-fueled pizza oven and seating for just under 50.

He’s changed the floor plan, built a room to house his pizza oven, added a bathroom, dug out the floor for a grease interceptor, added a venting hood and applied for so many permits, it’s tough to keep up with his Facebook updates on permit approvals. When he’s done, the eatery will be part restaurant, part wine bar. Cornwell plans a list of 48 bottles – half of which will be offered by the glass – and has built a wine storage room to store it all.

Cornwell’s year-long dream nearly is a reality after a few more permitting hurdles and health department approval. Cafe Vincero will serve morning espresso, with daily lunch and dinner service featuring pasta, sandwiches and wood-fired pizza. Stay tuned on more details as his opening date nears.

Odd Otter Brewing Company
Where: 716 Pacific Ave., Tacoma,
Expected opening: Summer 2014

Five friends – including three current and past military  members – are uniting to open Odd Otter Brewing Company, a taproom and brewery at 716 Pacific Ave. They expect to be brewing by summer – earlier if construction plans work out.

The Odd Otter space abuts Cafe Vincero and the brewery owners and Cornwell have already discussed serving Cafe Vincero pizza at  Odd Otter. The brewery’s owners don’t plan on installing a kitchen. Outside food will be welcomed.

Consider Odd Otter a quirky outfit – a strong sense of humor is evident in this crew of brew lovers. Beers sound flavor-punched and interesting. Odd Otter brewer Owen McGrane is considering a “pancake porter” fueled by maple syrup. Nods to fruity flavors show up in the form of a cherry chipotle cider and strawberry blonde ale. Odd Otter’s signature beers include a blonde ale, ESB, IPA and amber. Read more beer descriptions on the company’s Kickstarter page.

McGrane, an emergency room physician at Madigan, is head brewer. John Hotchkiss, a former Army physician, is chief operations officer for the brewery. Pablo Monroy, who is a member of the Army National Guard, will act as chief of daily brewery operations and his husband Derrick Monroy will act as chief executive officer. Teresa Smith will act as chief administrative officer.

Pacific Brewing and Malting
Where: 610 Pacific Ave.,
Opening: Spring 2014

After securing a permit a few months later than expected, Pacific Brewing and Malting is under construction at 610 Pacific Ave. The brewery plans a spring opening.

Head brewer Steve Navarro and owner Brent Hall, a local who has a background in funding craft breweries, named their brewery with a nod to Tacoma’s history in suds. Pacific Brewing and Malting operated more than 100 years ago in Tacoma’s old brewery district near 25th and Jefferson. Before Washington adopted Prohibition in 1916, Pacific Brewing was the second largest producer of brew in the state.

Pacific Brewing intends to be a family-friendly brewery and taproom that will offer tastes of beer, but no kitchen. Outside food will be welcomed. The taproom will open with 10 taps, which will include occasional guest taps from other brewers. Navarro has a porter, double IPA and strong ale planned, and also is considering a lager.

On the other side of Pacific: In Tacoma’s old brewery neighborhood, Veltins Bierhalle, a family-friendly pub featuring an extensive German beer selection, is still in the works. The pub will be at 2401 Pacific Ave. Read more here.

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