TNT Diner

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

NOTICE: TNT Diner has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved TNT Diner.
Visit the new section.

Tag: Don’s Drive-In Puyallup


The tale of the South Sound Smitty burger, part II

A Smitty burger at Goofy Goose, although it's not called that.
A Smitty burger at Goofy Goose, although today it’s called a Goofy Burger.

You always can tell a Smitty burger by its shape. Think of the Smitty, served in these parts for more than 50 years, as something of a burger hoagie – a hamburger patty formed into a stretched-out oval with a hoagie or French roll standing in for a bun.

The fillings can fluctuate, depending on who’s assembling it, but a Smitty typically comes dressed with the cool crunch of iceberg lettuce, sliced or diced onions, thick tomato slices, pickle chips and almost always some kind of special sauce. If you’re doing it right, you’ll order it with cheese.

The story and lore of the Smitty burger stretches more than half a century in the South Sound. There’s actually two Smitty burgers – one still served locally, the other a burger an artifact of the Puyallup Fair (more on that in a minute).

Last week, I reported about the new coffee house and cafe Amp replacing Jubilee, one of just a few burger joints in the South Sound that was still serving the oblong Smitty. As a burger community service project, I wanted to make sure readers knew that Don’s Drive-In in Puyallup and Marcia’s Silver Spoon on South Tacoma Way still serve their versions of the Smitty.

I asked and readers bit with their own recommendations of where to still find a Smitty, whether or not it’s still called that. What follows is a touch more to the history of the Smitty burger, as told by Tacoma native and second-generation restaurateur Larry Zarelli, as well as burger recommendations from readers. Read more »


My top five South Sound burger stands, walk-ups and drive-ins

Which burger reigns supreme? Click below to find out.

I’ve given the obligatory test run of Five Guys Burgers and Fries – the first South Sound stores of the national chain opened in Lakewood last week and in Puyallup in November. I realized as I was eating at Five Guys that I had not collectively written much about our home-grown burger stands since my burger-stand manifesto in 2009. So I hit the pavement and revisited some of my favorites, along with two new burger stands you may not yet know. Click “read more” to see my top five South Sound burger stand picks. Read more »


Burgers and pie, oh my: Don’s Drive-In in Puyallup.

Yum, pie. Sour cream lemon and chocolate pictured here.

Burgers and fries and homemade pie. What’s not to love? When cars were lining up at the new Sonic on South Hill, I pointed my car down South Hill and into the valley to Don’s Drive-In, which has operated since the 1960s across the street from the Puyallup Fairgrounds.

Don’s is home to the Smitty burger, an oblong burger on a French roll not to be confused with the onion variety served every year at the fair (Don’s, in fact, is closed during the Puyallup Fair). Read more »