Washington may be known for organic, farm fresh foods and healthy, granola-loving locavores, but when the rain starts to fall and chilly weather creeps deep into the bone, nothing hits the spot like a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs, homestyle meal.
Comfort food has that unique way of not just filling the stomach, but also the soul. Traditional preparation soothes the mind while taste and smell trigger nostalgia and sweet memories from the past. Hearty, homestyle cooking can’t be beat and, lucky for us, Tacoma is full of amazing places to find your comfort food favorites.
Scroll through our list of Tacoma-area comfort food restaurants, so unique to themselves we can all find a spot to fill up, relax and let our minds drift away in delicious bliss.
Uncle Thurms Finger Lickin’ Ribs and Chicken
Few things compare to Uncle Thurms mashed potatoes, and Uncle Thurms is the only place in Tacoma you can find chitlins. If the southern cooking doesn’t win you over, just wait until Uncle Thurm starts chatting. His natural ease and charm radiates through the entire space, food and overall experience.
Insider tip: order the Medley. It’s combination of classic soul food favorites — corn bread, collard greens, candied yams, mac and cheese, fried catfish, barbecue ribs, and fried chicken wings. But Uncle Thrum’s is more than a full stomach; it’s pausing to indulge the sweet side of life and live in the moment. Don’t expect to read a book alone in the corner, though, because this is one welcomingly loud watering hole pulsing with energy and enthusiasm (and that’s without the live soul and jazz musicians!).
Uncle Thurms Finger Lickin’ Ribs and Chicken
3709 S G St.
This quaint and cozy cafe welcomes guests in with its inviting decor (an ideal escape for a lazy weekend), but its the expansive pastries (ranging from sweet to savory), gourmet coffee, and expansive tea selection that inspire patrons to sit and stay a while. You will have no qualms ordering dessert for breakfast and then ordering breakfast for breakfast all over again. Best part, the talents go beyond the front pastry case. Corina Bakery’s wedding cakes are as tasty as they are pretty and surprise!, your guests will never know if you go for the gluten-free or vegan option.
602 S Fawcett Ave.
Believe it or not, but the homemade biscuits and cinnamon rolls from Homestead Restaurant may very well trump your Grandma’s tried and true recipes. How this South Tacoma Way eatery manages to run an on-site bakery and provide a full menu of savory, traditional and hearty meals is a feat, but an even bigger challenge is if you decide to tackle Homestead’s Wagon Wheel for breakfast. Warning: This is not your average breakfast sandwich. The creative combination begins with Homestead Restaurant’s gooey cinnamon roll prepped as french toast, stuffed with ham, bacon, crispy hash browns and American cheese to finish. Don’t let this indulgence scare you though; it is winter in Washington, after all — not bikini season.
The Homestead Restaurant is family operated, and with its antique decor and wooden surroundings, don’t be surprised if you forget you’re in the middle of a thriving city and not enjoying a quiet cabin retreat.
7838 S Tacoma Way
Nothing says comfort more than a hot bowl of soup on a cold and blustery day. Plus, a visit to Tacoma’s Infinite Soups is more than delicious — it’s fun! Each trip is an adventure, as the menu is always changing, and as the name suggests, Infinite Soups selection is precisely that — infinite. The soup selection is vast and you can pre-sample everything before making a commitment. Every psychological profile can find a match; rich and creamy, meaty, hearty, veggie and even gluten free choices. Don’t expect to hole up and wait out the weather, though, this smorgasbord of liquid yumminess does not have seating, only to-go options. Insider Tip: Infinite Soups is a cash only establishment, so be sure to bring some green. We would hate to see anyone leave empty handed after smelling what is in this soup kitchen.
1102 A St.
Taste SOUL’s chicken and waffles just once and you will have to restrain yourself from making it a weekly tradition. Forget what you think soul food should be and get ready for an education. Everything is made from scratch, which will increase dining time, so prepare yourself to slow down and enjoy the experience. Take a breath, order an appetizer and drink while absorbing the laid back charm and ambiance this Tacoma eatery offers its guests. You are home my hungry friends, and you’ll understand why the moment you walk in. Southern comfort food meets a spicy Latin twist, proving true character is in the details. So pay attention or you’ll miss it. Great news for all you University Place residents: The Soul Man opened a second spot. Spreading his “love, peace and catfish grease” all over Tacoma, and many can’t get enough of it.
SOUL – Tacoma
2717 N Proctor St.
SOUL – University Place
1620 S Mildred St.
Duke’s Chowder House
What happens when you combine blackened chicken and creole seasonings with a rich and creamy base served hot in a fresh bread bowl overflowing from an edible bowl of starchy goodness? Joy. Pure, unexpected and tasty joy, otherwise known as Duke’s Chowder House’s Cajun Chicken Corn Chowder. And no wonder Duke is an award winning chowder genius. Lucky for us South Sounders, the best of these local chains sits right here on Ruston Way’s strip. Talk about the perfect pairing, rendering a combination that best describes our beloved northwest. Best part: Enjoying excellent food on the lamp heated deck that jets over the Puget Sound. There’s nothing fishy about these seafood standards.
Duke’s Chowder House – Tacoma
3327 Ruston Way