Tacoma Original Pancake House Puzzle, Part One: We have Engine House No. 9 ...

By Ron Swarner on September 2, 2014

As News Tribune Lifestyle Editor Sue Kidd reported, the Original Pancake House will open in Primo Grill's old home on Sixth Avenue. According to Kidd, the "Sixth Avenue restaurant will be operated by franchise owners Ryan Medford and Blake Williams who opened the South Hill Original Pancake House in June 2009."

Hmmm ...

If you stand in the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Pine Street, next to the spot where the Original Pancake House will open in November, you could fling a pancake and hit six other joints serving breakfast ... six joints that serve a delicious breakfast.

If I were to stand in the middle of the intersection, I wouldn't be able to fling a fatayer and hit another Middle Eastern restaurant, or punt a Pot-au-feu at a bistro, spike aSpiedini alla Siciliana in front of a ristorante, flick a frikadellar, lob a labskaus. ...

When the X Group bought Engine House No. 9 in June 2011, Tacoma woke up and took notice. Having perfected the flavors at Asado and Masa, the X began tweaking E9's menu. The dessert menu received one of the initial changes. E-9 went from serving premade frozen sweet treats to housemade pastries, courtesy of its sister restaurant, Masa. The burgers received a positive makeover. Specialty runs were added, such as Italian week and Greek month. Families showed up to celebrate special occasions, or recap the week over Friday dinner.

Six weeks ago, Tacoma really woke up to E9. The vintage firehouse that has been serving beer for 40 years added a weekend breakfast. Traditional morning fare shares the long, narrow menu with such innovations as Kobe Joe's Special, Jalapeno Popper Quiche, House English Muffin Bread Sandwich and open-faced omelettes.

E9's sourdough pancake breakfast is particularly satisfying with two large, paper thin dark brown beauties with two eggs and a two bacon or two sausage decision (go bacon).

"The sourdough pancakes are quite amazing indeed," says E9 cook Tony Hedstrom. "There isn't any secret ingredient, however there is quite a bit of magic involved, and her name is Julia Hauntz Brown. We are very lucky to have such an amazing pastry chef like her on our team. She also uses her magic to create monolithic cinnamon rolls. She will cook them in batches of eight - because that's all you can fit on the pan at a time and this is done daily because any rolls not sold at breakfast are consumed by the staff."

Hedstrom couldn't pinpoint the most popular breakfast dish so far, as he believes people haven't made their way completely through the menu.

"If I was forced to name a dish right now, though, it would probably be the cheesy home fries side dish. What's not to like about home fries grilled in jalapeno honey butter smothered in cheese and seasoned to perfection?"

For a list of E9 breakfast items, click here.

ENGINE HOUSE NO. 9, breakfast 8 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday, 611 N. Pine St., Tacoma, 253.272.3435