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Best of Tacoma 2008

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Best Advocate for Food

Charlie McManus rolled the dice as the ’90s closed and invested his talents in Tacoma opening the area’s first bistro-like, artsy, finely crafted restaurant — Primo Grill. He gave us a reason to eat well again, ushering in the next decade of upscale restaurant explosion in the South Sound. Prior to McManus, Tacomans ate at corporate type eateries, dining mostly on the same old same old — steaks, salmon and chops all in a butter, white or wine sauce. Primo Grill, however, changed that — helping us to discover finely-crafted food.
While some of his brethren have come and gone, McManus still prospers, in fact, opening up his second place just last year — The Crown Bar. What we like best about McManus, besides his fried oysters, comes from the work he does promoting and supporting locally sustained foods. McManus befriended the farmers in this area to purchase their crops because local foods tastes better and give us better energy both physically and cosmically. McManus expects to turn both his establishments into 100 percent locally sustained in the coming year. And that, my friends, makes us all better people. — Ken Swarner

Best New Restaurant

There are very few restaurants that I’ve seen come online in the last five years that were greeted with such anticipation and open arms as Maxwell’s Speakeasy + Lounge. In keeping, this restaurant has most certainly given the people what they want and need. Since its opening, this restaurant has been filled with happy faces and bellies, and it’s provided Tacoma with yet another cool place to hang out. I love chilling at the bar, sipping on mojitos or fancy wine and nibbling on Maxwell’s rotating cheese plate, while admiring the beautiful and often influential people who frequent this deliciously cozy location. — Natasha Gorbachev
[Maxwell’s Speakeasy + Lounge, 454 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253.683.4115]

Best Old Restaurant

In the last Best of Tacoma edition, I gave  Pacific Grill the Creative Cuisine award, but this year I’ve had to take it a big step further: They have the best food EVER. Within the last year, Pacific Grill has continued to amaze me with their unique and mouth-watering approach to food, and anytime I try something new on their menu, I know I’m in for such a treat. Let me just drop these suggestions: Lamb tartare, broken lasagne and deep-fried corn on the cob, and Pappi Swarner has dreams about the lobster spaghetti. Chef Owner Gordon Naccarato and Executive Chef Aaron Valimont do nothing but tease me with their Chef’s Blog where they post the most intimate details about new or special menu items. And as always, the PG’s happy hour completely rocks. — NG
[Pacific Grill, 1502 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.627.3535]

Best Hash Browns

It may bum you out, but the best hash browns in Tacoma remain locked up during the breakfast hour. You could take your bed-head down to El Gaucho for some, but no one is home at 8 a.m. You must wait until dinner with a wad of 20s in your pocket to get at these babies. Worth it? You bet your tater tots.
Can you order a side of hash browns and a Bloody Mary at the bar to avoid the high cost of eating in Tacoma’s swankiest locale? No. But look on the bright side, these browns make the $50 steak worth every dollar.
The large slab of shredded potato arrives crisp but not chewy or hard. Fresh in flavor, the slices are thick enough to soak up the beef juices yet thin enough to be light and airy.
At El Gaucho, diners choose from a list of sides creating the classic indecision of our generation — baked potato or hash? You’ve heard the story a million times. Choose the hash people — it gives your four-star meat the accompaniment it deserves — and helps transform you to a different time and place when Frank Sinatra, just waking up, stopped into 21 at 9 p.m. for the same thing. — KS
[El Gaucho, 2119 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.882.0009]

Best Gourmet Breakfast

While Tacoma has no shortage of quality breakfast spots, we’ve yet to find one that starts a day as perfectly as Babblin Babs Bistro. Let us count the reasons why: freshly baked croissant filled with French ham, egg, and homemade hollandaise over the top; homemade waffle with Riesling flour layered with wild nova smoked salmon and drizzled with creme fraiche with dill, jalapeno pepper, green onion, and lemon; Cubed La Brea bread in an egg custard with swirls of orange, cinnamon, organic maple butter, and lean hickory-smoked bacon; homemade chorizo oven roasted and served with an egg. Add Lavender, rose, jasmine, violet lattes with a lively but not noisy atmosphere and you a great morning. — Ron Swarner
[Babblin’ Babs Bistro, 2724 N. Proctor St., 253.761.9099]

Best Greasy Breakfast

Marcia’s Silver Spoon Cafe is the epitome of the term “greasy spoon.” As long as you know what you are getting into, these kinds of breakfasts can be the ultimate cure for a quickly developing hangover. “More orange juice, please!” — this is how my east coast “aunties” cook on the weekends. Smattered among the typical American eggs, meat and pancake combos, the predictable array of omelet options are exactly what you would expect to eat farm-side on your way to the Kentucky Derby. The portions demand you have some for lunch at home, and the server is your mother, your grandmother and your best friend all wrapped into one smiling package. This is not gourmet or healthy food, and neither are the prices, sometimes it’s better to just take it one bite at a time and let the fat make you all better. Go ahead, get cheddar and gravy on your hash browns, I dare you. — Daniel Blue
[Marcia’s Silver Spoon Café, 2601 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma, 253.472.0157]

Best Vietnamese

When we wish to dine in another world, slightly Third World, steamy, exotic, Asian — as if out of a movie — Vien Dong in the Lincoln District fits the bill. Vien Dong envelopes the senses. The atmosphere takes us immediately to Vietnam without passing go. We pick one of the mix-match chairs, dodge servers moving quickly about, and wish 38th Street would transform into a Saigon side alley.
Start with iced French pressed coffee and sweet condensed milk — the classic Vietnamese coffee made to perfection. Sip while perusing the extensive menu — the descriptions are nearly as fun to read as the food is to eat. For a sure thing, order the red curry with prawns. Hot and hearty, the meal combines well with the hot summer weather. The soups are delicious. Vien Dong understands culinary craftsmanship. — KS
[Vien Dong, 3801 S. Yakima, Tacoma, 253.472.6668]

Best Intoxicating Pizza

The pies at Puget Sound Pizza are intoxicating for several reasons. First of all, the wonderful odor hits you like a ton of bricks well before you even set foot in the joint. The way that I order the pizzas there is intoxicating simply because lately I’ve been getting every single one with extra cheese ... yummm. When you take your first bite of the Hipster, the St. Helens or the Supreme, intoxication will immediately follow. The same thing happens when you get their weekday and weekend hangover breakfast. There are intoxicatingly wonderful people who man and woman this jumpin’ pizza joint. You can bust intoxicating dance moves during their karaoke nights. Oh yah, and you can drink there, too. — NG
[Puget Sound Pizza, 317 S. Seventh, Tacoma, 253.383.4777]

Best Worst Pizza

Getting home after a good drunk and finding no crappy frozen pizza in the oven is nothing but a major buzzkill. Thank goodness we have Terry’s Office Tavern to take care of us when our mental state has gone awry. Had a few beers? Tummy grumblin’? Think you could score with this chick sitting next to you but you haven’t sealed the deal yet so you don’t want to leave? Just order up a pizza off the menu and you’ll feel like you’re right at home. That’s right, you’re right at home minus the dilapidated couch and stench of urine we’ve heard about in your apartment. — Steph DeRosa
[Terry’s Office Tavern, 3410 N. Proctor St., Tacoma, 253.752.6262]

Best place to feel you aren’t in Tacoma
An Asian market pulsates to a different beat. The energy, the sights and sounds — the food literally envelops all five of your senses. Food changes in these places — it’s raw, oddly shaped and exposed — as if almost a freak show.
Step out of Tacoma and into the East Asian Supermarket in the Lincoln District. Don’t be afraid. Bugged-out fish eyes, red ducks hung by their necks, tripe — this is how the majority of the people on this planet eat.
The market won’t win designer supermarket awards unless the category reads: Best Use of Displaying Boxes in Every Nook and Cranny. People work here — food arrives and leaves without pretense. Need lotus buns? No problem. Want a Starbucks? Visit Beijing.
Our best advice: buy as authentic an Asian cookbook you can find, write down recipe ingredients, and enjoy yourself walking up and down the aisles finding ingredients you didn’t know existed. Go home, cook, feel the chi, and repeat often. Allow the market to transform your culinary repertoire without leaving the city limits. — KS
[East Asian Supermarket, 602 S. 38th St., Tacoma, 253.473.3799]

Best Quick Food

The Pita Pit on Pacific Avenue between South 9th and 11th has saved my drunk ass from death on several occasions. Open till 3 a.m. on the weekends, this Subway style pita creation has cornered the market on fresh and fast. If I have one complaint, it is the characterized vegetables decorating the walls. There is nothing creepier than a tomato with eyes, or a mustard bottle with a gaping smile. Décor aside, the pit is number one because you don’t have to sacrifice health for convenience. The pitas are huge and usually less than a super-sized meal at other fast food chains. The meat-to-veggie ratio is nearly 50/50 so you aren’t filling up on all saturated fats, and the carbs are low because a pita is thinner than a bun. It’s no drive-through, but you can usually get in and out in under 5 minutes. I suggest the Dagwood, with feta and jalapeno ranch. Five stars. Ten stars if you are drunk. — DB
[Pita Pit, 921 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.5727482]

Best Place to Loose  Tongue Skin

If you like it hot, and we all know that you do, Matador in Tacoma delivers food to the table primed and ready to sear the insides of your mouth. They put the wails in jalapeño at this downtown corner hot spot where long thick curtains at the entrance muffle your screams to the outside.
An import from Seattle, the Matador knows heat, designing a menu that not only embraces sinus-clearing, South-of-the-Border recipes, but offers no tissues to those who dribble on their carne asado. The atmosphere sits heavy in a dark vibe that pulls no punches. If someone calls you hombre they mean it, and unless you’re ready to throw back a couple of shots of tequila when you first walk in, stay outside on the sidewalk petting your mule, Pepe. Serious foodies eat here — the ones who lost all feeling in their mouths during their fraternity fire-breathing days and now show no fear when ordering the Habanera prawns. The tequila menu features more than 70 brands to help you forget how good it hurts. — KS
[Matador, 721 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.627.7100]

Best Bar Food

The Crown Bar channels cosmically the revelry occurring thousands of miles across the sea at the Crown Liquor Saloon in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Tacoma’s chef pioneer Charlie McManus, who has captained Primo Grill for nearly a decade, opened the Sixth Avenue spot last year choosing to honor his hometown and his love of great bars by naming his place after the Belfast icon. Built in 1885 with Catholic accents that may or may not have (who’s saying?) snubbed its nose at London across the way, Belfast’s Crown finds itself today owned by the National Trust as possibly the greatest of the Victorian gin palaces — and it’s Yankee counterpart tops our list for bar food too.
Tuck into the Charmoula beef — a marinade from North Africa consisting mostly of cumin, clove, olive oil, and coriander. The succulent, and I mean tender, beef arrives on two small skewers over a cous cous with a side of pita bread. The pita was the best I have had — crisp, flaky, aromatic. We also adore the fried oysters, roasted garlic tartar and Creole slaw. The oysters are crisp, not greasy, and they melt in our mouths — not a hint of sand. Great comfort food after a show or bar-hopping, you also can’t lose ordering Crown’s earthy zihua mushroom quesadilla or creamy Cougar Gold mac and cheese. — KS
[Crown Bar, 2705 Sixth Ave., 253.272.4177]

Best U.K.-style Pub

Not just because it’s stumbling distance from Rotary 8 meeting, either. Without going overboard on the whole Shamrock bulls*** that makes so many United Kingdom-style pubs intolerable, Doyle’s Public House operates on the simple “neighborhood bar” principle that dictates a good selection of international and domestic beer and booze at reasonable prices delivered without a wait. You can easily ignore the televised European soccer, and the Guinness fanatics. They host fun parties and Wednesday Knowledge Nights. Band nights are packed. Oh yeah, and they know what we want to drink before we even ask for it. — Ron Swarner
[Doyle’s Public House, 208 St. Helens Ave., 253.272.7468]

Best Place To Bring Friends

Strong friendships need heavy tables, a robust menu, deep flavors, room to converse — a restaurant that supports a table of foodies ready to drink and eat in a big way. Asado caters to friends. They’ll push tables together — strong, thick, sturdy mesas accentuating the dark woods, tiles and metals of the open room. Here you may speak frankly, get a tiny bit loud, and pass plates across the table until everyone tries what you are eating.
It doesn’t hurt that Asado serves exceptional South American food. The rising star of Sixth Avenue, copping a reservation here proves challenging, so do you and your friends a favor and call early.
Then, be in the moment — one that fairly consistently delights — Asado rarely misses a beat. Bring a big group and order everything — moving forks of food around the table in a clockwise fashion. If you lack enough friends, we recommend the specials, or from the standby menu, the hanger steak, stuffed pork chop or lamb shank.
Enjoy your friends and conversation because Asado even does the dishes. — KS
[Asado, 2810 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.254.0560]

Best Italian

Ultra-friendly management and staff (who are both accommodating and pleasantly gregarious) along with a warm, Tuscan interior design are just bonuses when it comes to Europa Bistro. We’d allow ourselves to be berated by owner Alfredo Russo for changing our minds mid-order to be able to dig into their generous portions of mind-blowing Italian treats. Northern Italian cuisine with a European fusion make every meal here a joy. — RS
[Europa Bistro, 515 N Proctor St., 253.761.566]

Best Burger

Where is the best burger in Tacoma? It’s a serious question that deserves a serious answer. The ketchup-, mustard-, and usually bacon-covered research I did trying to answer it is staggering. My arteries have never been harder.
The problem with defining one burger as the best in Tacoma is there are two types of burgers to consider. There are sit down burgers, and then there are fast food style burgers. Both are important. Both deserve equal recognition.

Best fast food style burger: This is the toughest one, and it usually invokes the strongest emotional response from people. For me, it comes down to two choices — Frisko Freeze or Little Holland Drive In. Both burger stands have their staunch supporters, and gawd bless all of them. But for this writer’s crinkled wad of ones, a Mikey Burger hits the spot every time. There’s something about that slice of Canadian bacon that’s hard to deny, and something about the sight of old ladies behind the glass at Little Holland making the goodness that makes this choice obvious. Burgers in Tacoma don’t get much better than at Little Holland — but just because this is the “fast food style burger” category, don’t expect it to be fast. Those little old ladies take their time. You can taste it.

Best sit down style burger: Almost every restaurant in Tacoma has a burger on the menu. Trouble is, some of them are average at best. As opposed to the fast food style burger, sit down burgers should be big, juicy, hand formed patties, and you should need to cut the thing in half with a knife to get your mouth around it. Of all the burgers I sampled, a few rise to the top of the list. E9’s burger shows promise. Mary’s is good, though perhaps a bit greasy for my liking (not to mention the seating sucks). El Gaucho has a happy hour burger that’s tough to beat. But if you’re asking me, and it seems the Weekly Volcano is, the Harmon’s Harmongous Burger is numero uno. If you can eat the whole thing in a single sitting you’re my new hero, and the tangy sauce the Harmon slathers only enhances the experience. Add in a Harmon beer and the Harmon’s parmesan French fries, and you’ve got yourself a burger-based feast. Just thinking about it makes me wish it was quitting time. — Matt Driscoll    
[Little Holland Drive In, 5008 Center St., Tacoma, 253.564.8661]
[Harmon Brewing & Restaurant, 1938 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.383.2739]

Best Deep Fried Fish

Standing in line at the often crowded Fish House Cafe, one can watch the cooks ripping boxes of fish open and hand dipping them in batter before throwing them into bubbly molten fat. Something about this place screams Tacoma louder than the Dome and the Cone combined. Home-laminated pictures of hush puppies and fish meals are hung in an arching semi circle over the cash register, and the now full tables of diverse clientele chow down and spare no spicy sauce with smiles on their faces. We Tacomans love our “little guys”, and the apartment kitchen feel of this shack of a restaurant brings to mind the most authentic of grandmothers forcing you to eat far more than you can actually hold. Cheap, quick and finger licking good, the Fish House is the type of business you don’t mind being busy, ’cause it means they are going to be open for a long, long time. — DB
[Fish House Cafe, 1814 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma, 253.383.7144]

Best Monte Cristo

Alfred’s Café & Bubble Room is owned by the flames. I have no idea what that means, but that is the definitive word on the street. In my opinion, the Monte Cristo is a strange and incredible creation of culinary genius. Three pieces of French toast are used to encase two sandwiches worth of turkey, ham and multiple melted cheeses. This stack of sandwich devilry is then grilled on all six sides like a cubic block and served with jelly. I suggest ordering a cup of ranch dressing to alternate dipping with the jelly. This leads to an interesting dichotomy of sweet breakfast and savory breakfast, which is exactly the type of thinking that would lead one to the act of using French toast as the platform for a sandwich. The Christo at Alfred’s is by far the largest and most delicious in town. The cheese literally drips from the meaty pockets like lava in a lamp. — DB
[Alfred’s Café & Bubble Room, 402 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma, 253.627.5491]

Best Authentic Restaurant

Italian chef extraordinaire Giuliano Bugialli wrote: “There are only two questions to ask about food. Is it good? And is it authentic? We are open to new ideas, but not if it means destroying our history. And food is history.”
Detto buono, fratello.
Food tells a story if you listen — but the storyteller must know what he or she is saying — or, cooking.
Vuelve A La Vida walks the talk. The flavors, the recipes, the tastes transcend —they tell the tale of Mexico — they remind those who know of home. Translated to mean “Back to Life,” or “Return to Life,” this Pacific Avenue hole in the wall offers a south of the border visit that keeps us returning. One meal here and you’ll know more about Mexican food than 20 visits to the other guys serving up their Americanized Mexican fiction. Mole is a best-seller at Vuelve’s. — KS
[Vuelve A La Vida, 5310 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.473.7068]

Best Vegan Restaurant

Quickie Too is far from quick, it is however the best vegetarian food money can buy. Handmade by Rastafarians whose dreds sometimes touch the floor, the atmosphere in this Hilltop diamond is kind of like shopping at a thrift store. The silver rarely matches, the plates are different shapes, the posters on the wall (while all reggae themed) seem to have weathered 40 years of sunshine, and the light is a mix of bulb and ambient that can only be defined as drab. But the food — man, THE FOOD! It is to live for. Blessed by Jah himself, it tastes like meat and fills like meat and smells like heaven and by golly: How did they get the meat out of this meat? Sprouted buns and home mixed sides all combine to fill one in the lightest most guilt free manner. I am never unsatisfied with the price, the service or the fare, this is our only hope of freeing ourselves from the slavery of animal protein. — DB
[Quickie Too, 1324 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma, 253.572.4549]

Best Organics

Those who know the old me might think it’s at least a bit humorous to find me writing the “best organics” entry in this year’s Best of Tacoma issue. Best place to buy Redvine licorice — now that people would probably expect. But best organics would seem out of my realm — at least for those who know the old me.
This old me I refer to, of course, is the pre-marriage me: The guy who fell asleep on the couch with Cheeto crumbs on his face five nights a week and sweated Cherry Coke. The guy with a 50-50 chance of developing popcorn lung.
But the new me is different. The new me knows my old lifestyle would probably have killed me by now, not to mention cause considerable rift around the Driscoll house, and also knows — deep down — that he feels a lot better since he stopped eating like shit.
When it comes to organic produce, unfortunately in Tacoma the pickens are still relatively slim — at least compared to progressive cities like Portland and Seattle. Let’s hope the coming Tacoma Co-op changes that.
This time of year, though, it doesn’t get much tastier or cost efficient than Terry’s Berries. Now, I know Terry’s Berries is technically in Puyallup (although their address says Tacoma), but I figure their participation in Tacoma’s Farmers Market scene makes them eligible. Greens, greens and more lush greens — if you like your produce crap free, locally owned Terry’s Berries probably knows your business. — Matt Driscoll
[Terry’s Berries, 4520 River Road, Tacoma, 253.922.1604]

Best Sauce

I have no idea how they make the white sauce they have cleverly named after their bar, but it is good and contains horseradish and sour cream probably for sure. This pure white sauce is best when put amply upon the chips by the same name. Get it? Spar Chips, Spar Sauce … anyway. You can almost feel it clogging your arteries, as you happily wash it all down with frothy beer, and the best part is that this yummy white runny paste is free. Sometimes I just go and put some on my finger or mix it into my beer. Try it on your burger, put it in the chili, soon you will find yourself sneaking the little plastic squirt bottles into your backpack and quickly home into your refrigerator. — DB
[The Spar, 2121 N. 30th St., Tacoma, 253.272.2122]

Best Coffee Roast

I prefer a black drip coffee to most any milk- or espresso-infused magic. I’m kind of a cowboy like that, I suppose. However, you will not find a more tasty morning mouth tingler than the specialty roast for Blackwater, a handcrafted blend conceived in cooperation by Blackwater owner Rachel Morshead and Valhalla owner A.J. Rumor has it that they stayed up for six days straight, roasting and tasting and roasting again until it was just right (subsequently they were out of their minds with jittery hallucinations). You don’t have to go through that pain, friends; get it fresh from the spout and hot in your mouth. I have no idea what Ethiopian Harrar and a Sulawesi Celebes means, but I hear it has blueberry notes and an earthy brightness that rounds out the punch. What I taste is nothing of the sort, but I’m a simple man with a simple tongue. To me it tastes like home. — DB
[Black Water Café, Ninth and Fawcett Avenue, Tacoma, 253.404.0000]

Hottest Male Bartender

The second Luke Larsen showed up on Tacoma’s Eastside as a Top of Tacoma bartender, word spread like wildfire throughout this city about this tall, dark and handsome man. After you’ve had a chance to settle in and get to know Luke and his dreamy blue eyes, you quickly learn that he’s smart, artistic, witty, charming and so freakin’ fun. Most recently I told him that posing for Harlequin romance novel book covers could be his manifest destiny. Naturally, you’ll never be able to deny his good looks after you’ve seen his band, Pioneers: West, perform. Yep, that’s hot. — Natasha Gorbachev
[Top of Tacoma, 3529 Mckinley Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.1502]

Hottest Female Bartender

Sasha Perfecto is the girl I know who can make a simple Cans trucker hat, a fitted T-shirt and a jean skirt look smokin’ sexy. I knew she was the hottest female bartender when I saw Sasha at one of Cans’ first Thursday night mash-ups. She was donning an eye-catching red dress that looked like candy, and her long legs with fancy heels were driving all of the men in the house crazy. She was even dancing by the window for the big group of guys who were outside smoking. I was convinced that their faces were going to have to be peeled off of the window. You go, girrrrrrl! — NG
[Cans, 100 S. Ninth St., Tacoma, 253.272.0777]

Best Bar Owner

Chris Miller and his family opened up a location that was so very much needed to help round out the Sixth Avenue restaurant and bar scene, and The Red Hot is a business that really reflects the Tacoma character. You’ll often find Miller and his parents working there, helping their regular lunch and evening prefuncers in serving delectable hot dogs, RC Cola, moonpies and a great selection of microbrews, along with excellent music and a local Tacoma ambiance. I admire Miller’s approach in bringing more and more people into The Red Hot fold with successful American Gladiator and movie nights. They were rightfully bombarded during Art on the Ave. I also love visiting Miller’s blog on a very regular basis to find out about the latest beer rotations and happs at this happenin’ spot. Most of all, I think that Miller and his family are simply great people, even and especially when Miller is flipping me crap, which is why you should go to The Red Hot now. — NG
[The Red Hot, 2914 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.779.0229,]

Best New Bar

You’ve heard about this bar so often in the Weekly Volcano, and the reason why is that we’re all so impressed with the Top of Tacoma. Proprietors Jaime Kay Newton and Jason Jones took this forgotten space and turned it into a comfortable neighborhood bar that feels like it’s been there forever. It’s amazing how quickly a scene has developed in this bar that has excellent, cheap drinks, great food, and all kinds of people including punk rockers, hipsters, Eastside neighborhood folks and anyone who’s looking to have fun. The Top of Tacoma is truly changing the face of the Eastside and McKinley Hill. — NG
[Top of Tacoma Bar, 3529 McKinley Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.1502]

Best Beer Club

When you operate a bar and restaurant in a retired fire engine house that was built in 1907 and your building is on the National Register of Historic Places, you’ve got to know that you’ll have staying power. But what makes E-9 even better is the legendary beer club that they roll with. If you wanna give ’er a whirl, all you have to do is drink some 47 beers in 90 days. The kind E-9 staff will punch your card as you go. After you’ve completed this drunken task, you’ll get a little plaque and your name on the wall that will reside next to the thousands of E-9 beer clubbers who have gone before you. You’ll also score a T-Shirt. If you’ve accomplished this feat three times and your liver is still intact, you’ll get a special card that entitles you to happy-hour prices on E-9 beers for the rest of your hoppy life. Drink up! — NG
[Engine House No. 9, 611 N. Pine St., Tacoma, 253.272.3435]

Best Happy Hour

There are many, many excellent happy hours in Tacoma. If you wanted, you could probably have an entire Happy Day. With a little time management one can eat like a king on the budget of a math teacher. The very best of these is difficult at first to ascertain, but in my opinion it is clearly the place with the best drink prices and the largest selection of fancy foods for at least half the asking price. The clear winner, even without counting the spectacular service, unparalleled view, and swanky atmosphere, is the old kid on the fancy bar block: Stanley & Seafort’s. Everything on the appetizer menu is big enough to be a meal and half the price. The drink specials are ridiculous, and the waitresses are all supermodels. The Food at Stanley’s is no joke. BACON WRAPPED SHRIMP LOLLYPOPS!?!? Blue cheese potato wedges, Kobe beef teriyaki cubes, and 15 other delights: Oh Lord, forgive me for the sin of gluttony. Sam and I usually order three plates a piece and gorge ourselves for less than the average meal at most sit-down restaurants. — DB
[Stanley & Seafort’s, 115 E. 34th St., Tacoma, 253.473.7300]


BEST SCONES: Corina Bakery
BEST CEVICHE: Vuelve a la Vida
BEST CUP OF COFFEE: Black Water Cafe
BEST BAR SIGNATURE DRINK: Pink Pussycat at the Tempest Lounge
BEST NACHOS: Harmon Brewery and Restaurant
BEST SUSHI: Twokoi Japanese restaurant
BEST BUFFET: Lobster Shop
BEST DINNER SALAD: Stanley & Seafort’s
BEST HAMBURGER: Parkway Tavern
BEST PIZZA: Puget Sound Pizza
BEST LOCAL CHOCOLATE: Johnson’s Candy Company
BEST PICNIC SPOT: Point Defiance Park
BEST ICE CREAM: Stone Cold Creamery
BEST SOUP: Infinite Soups
BEST CATERER: Pinwheel Catering
BEST WINE BAR: Pour at Four

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History of Tacoma Jazz

Comments for "Best restaurants, bars, dishes and more" (3)

Weekly Volcano is not responsible for the content of these comments. Weekly Volcano reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

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Sam said on Oct. 10, 2008 at 10:21pm

the best Monte Cristo might have competition with Moon
Rise Cafe in Lakewood! also the best breakfest! hhmmm...I should investigate further~!

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Grrrray said on Oct. 20, 2008 at 2:07pm

Where's the Best Mexican Food?

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Heavymetaldave said on Apr. 09, 2009 at 11:44am

You REALLY need to review Johnson's Candy on MLK and 10th. They have been there for eons and still make the best candy around. Their chocolate covered coconut is fantastic and their open faced caramels are to die for.

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