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Hob Nob receives a facelift

Longtime Tacoma neighborhood diner goes gastrodiner

The Hob Nob's Side Door Lounge has received a facelift. Photo Credit: Jackie Fender

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You may have cranked your head while whizzing toward downtown Tacoma along Sixth Avenue. You break into a cold sweat. The Hob Nob looks different. The charming diner across from Wright Park has new outdoor signage. Has your favorite Tacoma hang for breakfast with the seedy intimate Side Door Lounge changed?


Being the "Grit City" we don't mind a little grime but you have to agree the Hob Nob needed a little TLC.

Enter Hob Nob General Manager Ben Marcus, formerly of the Powerhouse Restaurant & Brewery in Puyallup and From the Bayou in Parkland. He's spearheading a Hob Nob revamp that will include cosmetic and menu changes for the Tacoma dining staple. I called up Marcus for the scoop. Marcus' genuine enthusiasm is clear over the receiver as he starts digging into the impressive list of improvements already in the works.

"One of the first things we did was take the pull tabs out of the bar," he says. "We're really trying to move away from that direction. We're not trying to be something we're not. We are a diner, but we're striving to define ‘gastrodiner'."

Cosmetic changes include a brand new, beauty of a back bar to replace the shoddy one of the days of yore. And the real kicker, "hiding behind that old back bar there are some windows, so we are going to open those up and let some natural light into the lounge so it's not so dark and drab."

Breathe, breathe ... the mirrors are staying.

"Yes, those (mirrors) are staying," he replies. "As a matter of fact we are adding a couple more mirrors too."

Completed changes include new hardwood floors, with new chairs and booths following suit, reupholstered to match the floors. It's really about improving the quality of a diner's experience with an overhaul of ambiance and menu and every last detail, even down to the bathrooms which "weren't very pleasant," according to Marcus. Those bathrooms will be beautified.

Other changes include an increase from eight to 16 brews on tap with a special focus on microbrews and tasty beers such as the Epic IPA on nitro. Because we all know that a gastropub - sorry, "gastrodiner" - is nothing without craft libations to pair with the nibble selection.

Marcus' Southern roots will inspire the lunch and dinner menu changes, featuring a Southern vibe that will "by no means be Cajun." You will witness house pickling as well as housemade sausages such as duck, andouille and even a vegan sausage. Traditional lunch favorites such as the BLT will even get a little Southern hospitality with the addition of fried green tomatoes and lots of delectable pork products - including pork belly options.

He finishes by reiterating, "We are not trying to be something we're not; rather we just want to excel and join some of the other fun places on "The Ave" serving up craft brews and gastro-style dining."

The full renovations are expected to be complete come July 18.

Regulars are undoubtedly/hopefully enjoying the modern update. As for you newbies - this is a perfect excuse to check out this long-standing staple's facelift and welcome them to the Sixth Avenue party.

HOB NOB, 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, 716 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.3200

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