We hit one of Tacoma’s best hidden treasures, The Fish House Cafe on MLK, for some greasy goodness.
On the corner of MLK and S 19th, looming beneath the shadow of the new St Joe’s hospital expansion, is a tiny blue clapboard building that is home to some of the best fried chicken and fish in Tacoma. It is one of the three restaurants, along with Ezell’s and Papa Jone’ BBQ, that make up Soul Food corner (or Cardiac Corner as Ravi so poetically refers to it), and shouldn’t be passed up on your Tacoma bucket list.
We get treated to dinner at Quickie Too, a vegan soul food restaurant on Hilltop
Gritty City Food is a labor of love. We love food and we love Tacoma. We’re not journalists and we don’t make a cent off the site (but we are certainly open to offers). When it comes down to it, this website is simply a vehicle for two guys with no culinary training at all to wax poetic about their favorite food and drink. We’ve met those who think any food critic should broadcast flaws with the same gusto they praise the food, perhaps wishing that we too turn our pinkies out and do our best impression of the waif-like journalist in Ratatouille. Good news. We’re not food critics. We’re just food nerds. Big dif.
We had the pleasure of meeting another food nerd in our travels, her name is Sandy. In fact Sandy shares our passion for the reveal, the sharing of excellence, so much that she graciously treated the GCF boys to dinner at Quickie Too, a vegan soul food joint on MLK. And I gotta say, I was ready to bust out my Ratatouille pessimist persona for this one, but I just couldn’t. The rat won me over. (There was no rat in this scenario. That was an allusion.)
We Attend 1022′s new menu party on 10/22
Hilltop. A place infamous to those in even the most remote places. Even Pullman, Washington. I’m not sure how a kid like me, growing up amid wheat fields and fraternities was allowed to develop any preconceptions about a geographical locale within a city on the other side of the state. The mention of Hilltop would elicit Compton-esque visions of drug trafficking and gang violence, all enshrouded within a stinky cloud of Tacoma Aroma so thick one could barely make out the unsavory spectacle before facing a mugging and/or an untimely death. Once I moved to Tacoma, and faced the reality that is Hilltop today, I felt a little…well…let down.
Hilltop. You used to be so…exciting. Whatever happened to that mystique? What will rural white boys fear beyond the comfortable confines of their idyllic little towns? Good luck attracting Anderson Cooper any time soon. Luckily for us there are a few places keeping Hilltop funky, keeping souls lubricated and expectations high. Places like 1022. The most literate bar in Tacoma is ready to teach you a few things.
We get a bit messy at Papa Jones BBQ at South 19th and MLK.
Pork 'n Fries and fried okra. Refuel that soul.
What is the hallmark of a good barbecue joint? I used to think it was the decor: rustic Southern inspired interior with a smattering of sweet tea and 70′s funk. The floor would be a mix of stained hotel carpet and yellowed tile, everything would be coated with slightly sticky residue, and there would be altogether too much gold accenting. The decor would age along with the well loved menu and master barbecuer, and the clientele would consist mostly of local equally aged regulars. Papa Jones proved this rather stereotypical assertion incorrect. The place exists at 19th and MLK within a brand new strip mall in the shadow of St Joe’s hospital. Spotless, full of busy working folk, and quite modern. The menu however is timeless.