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Tag: Charlie McManus Primo Grill

Jan.
18th

Q&A: Charlie McManus and Jacqueline Plattner of Primo Grill

This 2008 photo shows  Charlie McManus shopping at the newly opened  Sixth Avenue Farmers Market. The market that operates in the summer is located steps away from his restaurant Primo Grill. Peter Haley/File photo 2008
This 2008 photo shows Charlie McManus shopping at the newly opened Sixth Avenue Farmers Market. The market that operates in the summer is located steps away from his restaurant Primo Grill. Peter Haley/File photo 2008

Ask chef Charlie McManus a simple cooking question and you’ll get a five-minute earful about technique and history, you might exit the conversation with a much broader knowledge of something fun or complicated – like how a biga works (it’s a sourdough starter that McManus uses to give his pizzas their distinctive tang). Wife Jacqueline Plattner is a daily fixture managing the operations at Primo Grill, the Sixth Avenue Tacoma restaurant the couple opened in 1999. They also opened Crown Bar, a few blocks away, in 2007. That eatery is a pub serving high-end bar food and cocktails. Read a review published today about Primo Grill here.

Of all the chefs I’ve written about in Tacoma, McManus is the one who consistently has served diners locally sourced ingredients. He’s had a longtime partnership with Cheryl Oullette, who locals may know as Cheryl The Pig Lady, who provides McManus with a whole pig one Friday every month that McManus roasts overnight in his wood-fired oven and serves as a special all weekend. Dan Hulse, who owns Tahoma Farms in Orting, said he valued working for Primo Grill – he worked in the front of house busing tables while a college student.  After Hulse started his own farm,  McManus became a customer. Hulse said in a message that McManus and Plattner have made a difference for farmers who want to reach diners with their produce – a philosophy he said needs more support from Tacoma chefs. Wrote Hulse in a message, “When I started working at Terry’s Berries, a couple of years after graduating, and then when we started our own farm, Charlie and Jacqueline both have always been supportive of the local food and farming community. In a town with very few chefs and restaurants willing to work directly with farmers, their support makes a big difference. I just wish we saw more of it in Tacoma.”

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