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Puyallup pub food

Sparks Firehouse Deli gets it right

SPARKS COMPANY: From left, Jeff, Ric and Austin wait for orders. Photo by Steph DeRosa

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Sparks Firehouse Deli

Where: 621 Fifth St. S.W., Puyallup, 253.840.DELI
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., breakfast, lunch and dinner
Cuisine: American pub and deli fare including hot wings, pizzas, sandwiches,
and salads
Scene: Casual order-at-the-counter, kid-friendly, firehouse-themed deli with neighborhood pub vibe
Drinkies: Beer and wine, standard non-alcoholic beverages
Damage: $5.95-$12.95

ANNOUNCER: Sparks Firehouse Deli opened at the onset of fall just as the leaves began to change color. Complete with a flashing siren, the former convenience store on the corner of Fifth Street across from Sparks Stadium in Puyallup is now tastefully outfitted with donated Puyallup Fire Department equipment, signs, and gear. Owner Christopher Johnston spent three years planning and developing Sparks Firehouse, now the go-to location for Sparks Stadium event attendees. It appears Johnston has succeeded in providing a comfortable place for those just looking to have a simple, tasty meal at a good price.

JAKE: At our wives’ dual suggestion, we’re getting a jump on our New Year resolutions by joining a gym; now Jason and I have a mutual understanding of pain. Whether it was because we were maddeningly hungry post-workout or the food at Sparks Firehouse was exceptional for pub fare, hot wings and Caesar salad were inhaled while we waited for sandwiches to arrive. The wings were impressive in appearance and taste. I couldn’t put my finger on it — Did I taste pineapple? We didn’t get a definitive answer from the staff; I’m guessing that wing sauce recipe is guarded well. We did, however, hear mention of a magical thing called piri piri — a concoction roughly made of hot chilies, garlic, and olive oil.

JASON: The wing consistency was a tad too soft for me; I like the outer skin on the crispy side. Very tender flesh inside made everything all better though. I relished the sauce so much that I skipped the blue cheese dressing. At a “two alarm” rating, the wings were spicy yet still enjoyable.

JAKE: No burned off lips here, so no need to guzzle my microbrew either. Sometimes I do want it real hot; this wasn’t one of those times. The salad was a standard Caesar: crisp, fresh romaine, loads of shredded Parmesan cheese and lightly toasted croutons. For me, the dressing had just the right amount of pepper, but still lacked the anchovy zing I adore.

JASON: Finding an anchovy Caesar dressing is almost like looking for the Holy Grail. Good luck on getting that at a pub. I’ve only found it at Sip in Gig Harbor.  The friendly staff carried out our order and had to rearrange plates to fit it on our table. Not in the mood to eat a whole pizza, Sparks came through with pizza by the slice, which was $4.95 including a soda. The monster hung off the plate! Half dollar size pepperoni and chunks of Italian sausage battled for real estate on the crisp crust; deep marinara peeked through gobs of melted mozzarella.

JAKE: Their pulled pork “The Hazmat” sandwich with gobs of barbeque sauce reminded me of a Sloppy Joe. Finger lickin’ good, ya’ll. A good size meat mound was shredded and doused in tangy sauce. For my accompanying side I chose pesto pasta. Excellent! The pasta was al dente; fragrant basil dominated light olive oil. Added earthy Parmesan, olives, onion and bits of sun dried tomato and peppers made this one awesome side dish.
JASON: Meat mound? Seriously? My sandwich, “The Chief,” was killer. Juicy prime rib arrived smothered in melted pepper jack cheese and thick sliced jalapenos. Lettuce and bright tomato acted as a cooling agent, but not before chipotle mayo added an additional zip to the hoagie roll encased meat masterpiece. Sweet maple baked beans were sweet yet not cloyingly so, and teased with bacon chunks.

JAKE: Wait a minute. You can use “meat masterpiece,” but my “meat mound” is off limits? Meathead.

I’m really not a fan of the whole order-at-the-counter thing, but it fits this place. It’s a real no fuss kind of neighborhood gathering spot. Table service was certainly adequate, prompt and subtly friendly — even through a steady early afternoon crowd.

JASON: I skipped dessert as the thought of our next trip to the gym and then our plans for breakfast here next weekend took hold. I hear they have a crème brulee French toast with macadamia nut infused syrup.

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Poona the what?

Comments for "Puyallup pub food" (1)

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FromTheValley said on Jan. 29, 2010 at 11:35am

I've read several critic reviews saying how wonderful Sparks Firehouse Deli is, but regular customers are trashing this place..what gives?

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