TNT Diner

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

Tag: Anthony’s Harbor Lights

March
6th

A Tacoma icon: After half a century, a remodel for Harbor Lights

Allie Leaphart, a bartender at at Harbor Lights on Ruston Way Wednesday banters with restaurant guests. The institution on Tacoma's waterfront will undergo a remodel. It closes Monday, March 11 for a three-week planned remodel. Dean J. Koepfler / Staff Photographer
Allie Leaphart, a bartender at at Harbor Lights on Ruston Way Wednesday banters with restaurant guests. The institution on Tacoma’s waterfront will undergo a remodel. It closes Monday, March 11 for a three-week planned remodel. Dean J. Koepfler / Staff Photographer

Vacationing in Maui, Donivan Fowlkes sat down at a bar. The bartender asked his hometown. “Tacoma,” he replied. The bartender shot back, “You ever been to Harbor Lights?”

You bet, Fowlkes has his own drink there. An uncomplicated concoction of vodka and water with a splash of Rose’s lime juice. His favorite Harbor Lights bartender asks Fowlkes if he wants “a Donivan” every visit. He has been dining and sipping vodka waters at Harbor Lights for 25 years with his wife, Becky, at his side.

Like many Tacomans, Fowlkes counts the waterfront restaurant and bar as an institution belonging to the people. The nearly 54-year-old restaurant’s got a far-flung reputation — from here to Maui, as Fowlkes discovered. Everyone in Tacoma’s seemingly been to Harbor Lights and if they haven’t, they’re too embarrassed to admit so (or should be).

But the iconic restaurant will be closing down for three weeks for remodeling, starting Monday, and Fowlkes’ hand wringing has begun. You can hear the undertone of “don’t mess with it” in his voice. He’s more diplomatic with his words. Read more »