Cafés and Grills
Bair Drug and Hardware (1617 Lafayette, 253/588-9668, 7 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Tues., 7 a.m.–9 p.m. Wed.–Sun.) is an 1895 shop with a sampling of historic items on display and a 1906 soda fountain where you can still get a soda or sundae, along with something you wouldn't find in 1906—espresso coffees. Great baked goods and pies here as well.
Start out at Knapps Restaurant (2707 N. Proctor St., 253/759-9009, 6 a.m.–9 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 6 a.m.–10 p.m. Fri.–Sat.) in the Proctor District, where you'll find the best breakfasts in Tacoma, from pancakes to eggs Benedict.
Located in north Tacoma near Point Defiance Park, the Antique Sandwich Company (5102 N. Pearl, 253/752-4069, 7 a.m.–7:30 p.m. daily) seems a throwback to the early 1970s. The atmosphere is earthy; the menu includes good soups, clam chowder, salads, espresso, and sweets. Come back in the evening for live acoustic or folk groups. Another terrific lunch spot is Pastrami’s New York Eatery and Espresso (950 Broadway, 253/779-0645), which gets crowded at lunchtime.
Fife City Bar & Grill (3025 Pacific Hwy. E, 253/922-9555, www.restaurant.com/fifecitybarandgrill, 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 8 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri.–Sun.) gets kudos from Tacoma locals for its highly creative meals at surprisingly low prices. The menu includes a wide selection of lunch and dinner choices.
Primo Grill (601 S. Pine St., 253/383-7000, 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m. Fri., 5–10:30 p.m. Sat., 4:30–10:30 p.m. Sun.) has a wood-burning grill in an architecturally tasty setting. Another place to fill yourself is Southern Kitchen (1716 6th Ave., 253/627-4282, 8 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 8 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri.–Sat., 8 a.m.–7 p.m. Sun.) where the menu of home-cooked meals includes catfish, pork chops, collard greens, barbecued ribs, and sweet potato pie. This is a longtime Tacoma favorite.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition