TNT Diner

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

Category: Restaurant closings

Aug.
28th

Coming soon: Vegan restaurant Viva Tacoma will open in Proctor

These are enchiladas with seasoned walnut meat inside a tortilla made from cashews as prepared by executive chef Fransisco Hernandez at AmerRAWcan Bistro. File Photo 2012. Peter Haley/Staff photographer
These are enchiladas with seasoned walnut meat inside a tortilla made from cashews as prepared by executive chef Francisco “Paco” Hernandez at AmerRAWcan Bistro. These enchiladas will be on the menu of a new restaurant from Hernandez called Viva Tacoma. That restaurant will open soon in the Proctor neighborhood. File Photo 2012. Peter Haley/Staff photographer

The Proctor neighborhood soon will be gaining a vegan restaurant. Viva Tacoma plans to open at 2602 N. Proctor as soon as final inspections are completed. UPDATE 9/2/2014: The restaurant is now open.

The restaurant might be new, but the chef is someone South Sound vegan and raw diners will recognize. Francisco “Paco” Hernandez most recently was the chef of AmeRAWcan Bistro, a raw-vegan restaurant that operated in the St. Helens neighborhood from August 2011 until May 2014 when owner Darrin London closed the restaurant to focus on another business. Read more »

Aug.
21st

Coming to the Lincoln neighborhood: Chinese noodle house Hue Ky Mi Gia

Pictured here is the storefront of Hue Ky Mi Gia at Kent's Great Wall Shopping Mall. I snapped the photo last month while eating my way through the mall, which is home to a wide range of Asian restaurants, including the region's best dim sum restaurant - Imperial Seafood Garden.
Pictured here is the storefront of Hue Ky Mi Gia at Kent’s Great Wall Shopping Mall. I snapped the photo last month while eating my way through the mall, which is home to a wide range of Asian restaurants, including the region’s best dim sum restaurant – Imperial Seafood Garden.

Noodle slurpers – you’re going to want to read this. The Lincoln neighborhood is getting a Chinese noodle house in September.

This will be the third location for Seattle-based Hue Ky Mi Gia, which is named after owner Huy Tat’s Chinese-born grandfather, who decades ago operated a noodle cart in Vietnam. Read more »

Aug.
15th

Now open: Primo Grill in Tacoma makes its big move

Moving an 8-year-old biga — a fermented dough starter — across Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue was like walking a kid across a busy intersection. The caregivers moved carefully and hoped nobody lost their footing at the wrong moment.

For years, that biga has been a bubbling mass of yeasty dough, a continually fed entity living in the walk-in refrigerator at Primo Grill, which opened on Sixth Avenue in 1999.

The restaurant’s owners — husband-wife duo Charlie McManus and Jacqueline Plattner — joke that the biga’s practically become a staff member. Its job is to form the base of Primo’s pizza dough,

Read more »

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 »

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 »

May
21st

Tacoma’s Babblin’ Babs new home is on hold – for now

Pictured here in this 2010 file photo is William Mueller of Babblin' Babs, which recently closed its Proctor restaurant and is now searching for a new home. Dean J. Koepfler/Staff photographer
Pictured here in this 2010 file photo is William Mueller of Babblin’ Babs, which recently closed its Proctor restaurant and is now searching for a new home. Dean J. Koepfler/Staff photographer

Babblin’ Babs Bistro closed its Proctor neighborhood breakfast-and-lunch cafe in December with the intention of moving to Lakewood by this summer. However, the restaurant will not open in the Gravelly Lake Drive space that was planned for the new Babblin’ Babs. Read more »

April
4th

A tale of the Smitty burger – and where to find it now that Jubilee is no more

Jubilee sign picHere’s a fun story about a legendary burger, a tricky sign and a new cafe in one of my favorite dining areas, Tacoma’s Lincoln neighborhood.

The giant orange Jubilee Hamburger Restaurant sign remains a stunning marker in Lincoln despite the closure of that hamburger restaurant in 2012.

So, too, remains the legend of its Smitty burger.

The new cafe Amp opened in the longtime Lincoln burger joint in January. Since then, plenty of neighbors have stopped in to order a Smitty burger, the regionally famous burger known for its oblong shape.

The only problem is that the cafe doesn’t serve burgers, let along a Smitty. Amp serves a mean Philly cheese steak and BLT sandwich, though. Read more »