TNT Diner

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

Category: Restaurant changes

July
25th

New on Sixth: Hawaiian food, Carolina pulled pork, an ice cream cafe and two restaurant moves

Co-owners, Angela Hernandez, left, and Gloria Gentry hold up a dish of southern fried chicken wings at Southern Exposure on Sixth Avenue. The restaurant opened in May and is one of several new restaurants in Tacoma's Sixth Avenue restaurant district. Lui Kit Wong/Staff photographer
Co-owners, Angela Hernandez, left, and Gloria Gentry hold up a dish of southern fried chicken wings at Southern Exposure on Sixth Avenue. The restaurant opened in May and is one of several new restaurants in Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue restaurant district. Lui Kit Wong/Staff photographer

Handmade pasta baked in a wood-fire oven.

Experimental vegetarian fare served alongside roasted bone marrow.

Argentinian steak paired with South American wines.

East Coast deli sandwiches.

And plenty of craft beer.

If you want it, Sixth Avenue’s got it.

Now add these to Sixth: lavender ice cream, a loco moco plate, Carolina pulled pork and Oklahoma burgers.

This is the summer for movement on Sixth Avenue — Tacoma’s most varied restaurant neighborhood — with four openings and two restaurant moves along a 2-mile stretch from Stevens to Steele streets.

So far this summer, Sixth Avenue has gained a Hawaiian plate lunch restaurant, a Southern restaurant with Carolina roots, an ice cream cafe and a pop-up restaurant operating out of a bar.

Next up is a big move for Primo Grill. That longtime Sixth Avenue anchor and respected chef-owned restaurant closes at Sixth and Pine on Saturday, with a planned reopening Aug. 8 a few blocks away at Sixth and Oakes. Another restaurant on the move this summer was The Red Hot, Tacoma’s go-to tavern for craft beer and gourmet hot dogs.

And then there’s this news: Hilltop Kitchen owners Chris Keil and Matthew Schweitzer are purchasing Sixth Avenue’s Marrow, the upscale restaurant with a dual purpose menu for vegetarians and meat-eaters opened by Jaime Kay Jones, Jason Jones and Kyle Wnuk in 2011.
Read on. Read more »

July
9th

Hilltop Kitchen owners purchase Marrow

Those kids at Hilltop Kitchen were up to something, I just knew it. Here’s the scoop: Hilltop Kitchen co-owners Chris Keil and Matthew Schweitzer have announced they are buying Marrow from Jaime Kay Jones and Kyle Wnuk, who opened their 50-seat Sixth Avenue restaurant in August 2011. Keil and Schweitzer will work with Wnuk and Jones through this month, with the intention of taking over by the end of July. Here’s the release from Chris Keil. I’ll have more details soon. Read more »

June
23rd

Coming to Narrows: A restaurant from the owner of Indochine on Pearl

Sean Yean and Hong Ngov in this file photo from way back in 2005. Expected this summer is Fuzion Cafe in the Narrows neighborhood.
Sean Yean and Hong Ngov in this file photo from way back in 2005. Expected this summer is Fuzion Cafe in the Narrows neighborhood.

Hong Ngov is branching out once again. The owner of the Thai restaurant Indochine on Pearl will open a restaurant later this summer in the Narrows neighborhood.   Read more »

June
16th

Now open: Parker’s at O’Malley’s on Tacoma’s Sixth Ave

The pastrami Reuben from Eleven Eleven, where Mike Parker previously cooked. File photo 2012.
The pastrami Reuben from Eleven Eleven, where Mike Parker previously cooked. File photo 2012.

Mike Parker’s made a career cooking in bars, but his food’s not the typical prefab pub grub.

The Tacoma cook with 16 years experience cooking at popular Tacoma bars now has his own place – and it’s a restaurant within a bar. On Thursday, he opened Parker’s at O’Malley’s on Sixth Avenue. Read more »

June
13th

First-bite report: Cafe Vincero in downtown Tacoma

Kevin Cornwell has just remodeled this downtown Tacoma space into his new Italian restaurant Cafe Vincero.  His team includes Connor Guzman (left), Bruce Barber, and Madisen Bryan (right).  Peter Haley/Staff photographer
Kevin Cornwell has just remodeled this downtown Tacoma space into his new Italian restaurant Cafe Vincero. His team includes Connor Guzman (left), Bruce Barber, and Madisen Bryan (right). Peter Haley/Staff photographer

Downtown Tacoma’s finest entertainment corridor percolates between Seventh and Ninth on Pacific Avenue. Consider it equally fit for nightlife seekers or daytime lunch grubbers.

At night, there’s the tiki bar Tacoma Cabana with handcrafted cocktails from Jason Alexander and island-themed “vacation fusion” eats from Robyn Murphy. The Tex-Mex restaurant Matador has a knock-out tequila list. The casual pubs Meconi’s, The Forum and The Office compete for the same crowd, but each display distinct identities.

The excellent Orange Door Vietnamese bistro and the lunch buffet at India Mahal get my vote for noon dining.
And then there’s that fun spot for kids of all ages, Dorky’s Arcade, with pinball machines from an era when we wanted our hair and music equally big and obnoxious.

It gets better. Two promising brewery-taprooms — Odd Otter Brewing Co., and Pacific Brewing and Malting Co. — are expected this summer.

Kevin Cornwell was smart for planting his casual Italian eatery in the middle of that stretch. He opened Cafe Vincero April 23 at 714 Pacific Ave. Cornwell, a South Sound native whose first restaurant job was working at Vince’s Italian Restaurant, carved a beautiful restaurant into the narrow space that previously held a retail shop. Read more »

June
12th

Restaurant update: Le-Le looks to be three months from reopening in Tacoma


LeLe is a longtime Hilltop destination that serves Southeast Asian cuisine in a vibrant atmosphere. File photo. Lui Kit Wong/Staff photographer

Water damage appears to be keeping Hilltop restaurant Le-Le shuttered for now. Here’s what I know about what’s happening next for the Tacoma Vietnamese-Thai restaurant. Read more »

June
10th

Construction update: Veltins Bierhalle, a German pub in downtown Tacoma

The old home of Neener's is getting a makeover before it debuts as Veltins Bierhalle later this year.
The old home of Neener’s is getting a makeover before it debuts as Veltins Bierhalle later this year.

Veltins Bierhalle, a German-themed pub and restaurant from the owners of Renton’s Berliner Pub, is still stuck in construction mode. A hopeful opening date was set for June, but it appears it’ll be at least three more months before an opening in downtown Tacoma. Read more »