By Paige McDaniel
It’s very possible that I moved to the tastiest part of Tacoma completely by accident. As a person who claims breakfast is the best meal of the day, I was pleased to discover that the city’s most delectable breakfast nooks were located very close to my homestead. I’ve never been a fan of great chain restaurants, but instead have appreciated the feel of a cramped café packed with locals reading the community newspaper and rehashing their latest adventure with the waitress. If you’ve lived in Tacoma long, or even if you are a newcomer like myself, you already know that Tacoma is known for its eclectic food choices. Breakfast here is no exception. In my ongoing discovery of this new city, here are five breakfast places I recommend for your next Sunday morning outing.
Old Milwaukee Café & Dessert Co.
3102 6th Ave
Open at 6:00 a.m.
The moment you step into this corner café, you are a bit surprised by how small it is. Seating maybe 20, Old Milwaukee crams so many flavors and good vibes into a small space that you’re bound to start a conversation with a perfect stranger over the café’s strong coffee. Be prepared to wait a while as the place is extremely popular and run by few staff members; but trust me when I say it’s definitely worth the wait. One of the favorite menu items is the blueberry pancakes which measure 10” around and are packed with delicious flavor.
“The pancakes are to die for,” says patron Steve Albert. “I love this café because of the small town feel. It’s iconic Tacoma.”
If you are adventurous and looking for extra flavor to add to one of their famous Scramblette’s, ask the server to give you a quick tour of the various hot sauces available, most of which are locally made. Old Milwaukee prides itself on being a place of community and it’s definitely a great spot to catch up with an old friend or start off a relaxing weekend after a hard week.
1716 6th Ave
Open at 8:00 a.m. daily
Want to completely forget that you’re in Tacoma? Step inside Southern Kitchen and you will be transported to small-town Louisiana. The mom-and-pop Southern style restaurant was featured on the famed Diners, Drive-In’s and Drives and for good reason. The great service provided by the staff is uncanny to Southern hospitality and will make you want to order the corncakes and grits just to soak in the entire experience. Everything on the menu is made from scratch and I recommend ordering the Strawberry Lemonade topped with a heaping helping of whipped cream to accompany your entrée.
The Hob Nob
716 6th Ave
I love a good old-style diner that you know is going to be good the moment you walk in. The Hob Nob is perfect for a Sunday morning or early weekend afternoon with the family to start the day off right. Located across from Wright Park, this Tacoma icon has staked its claim as a beloved local spot and you’ll find that most of the staff and patrons are on a first name basis. If you’re looking for some home-style comfort food cooked just the way you like it, this is the place to go.
Marcia’s Silver Spoon Café
2601 S Tacoma Way
Open at 5:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. Saturday, and 7:00 a.m. on Sunday
Venturing away from Sixth Ave, Marcia’s Silver Spoon Café is difficult to find at first as you might miss it while driving by. But believe me, it’s worth turning around. Be sure to come in empty-bellied as their colossal portions will surely leave you satisfied. This old-style classic diner is a great place to take the out-of-town relatives to sedate them into a food coma before boarding a plane back home. It’s also a great spot to take an early date!
2618 6th Ave
Open at 7:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 8:00 a.m. on Sunday
Did you have a bit of a rough Friday night with your friends? Shakabrah Java is the perfect place for you. Upon entering Shakabrah, you will be faced with a colorful blackboard that assists you in the decision of choosing either the full-service side of the restaurant or the quaint, coffee shop-like self-service area. Either way, be prepared to indulge in delicious food. The French toast is quite possibly the best I’ve ever had but the staff here are more than willing to give you great advice.
“It’s the closest to home-cooked food you can get without making it at home,” says Shakabrah Java barista Karla Kelly.
The vibe is geared more toward a younger crowd with plenty of tables sporting college kids nursing a hangover or buried in studies. It’s one of those restaurants that you could spend the whole morning hanging out, working or taking advantage of the wide array of games and books available while nibbling at anything off their menu.
Be sure to visit these places and other nooks around Tacoma as you treat your palate to new and exciting tastes the City of Destiny has to offer.