Tucked away on a side street, just off of Pacific Avenue in Parkland, is a hidden gem eatery called 208 Garfield. Besides being the name, the moniker is also the establishment’s address.

But it’s more than just a place to grab a mug of joe or a breakfast muffin. The eatery offers a variety of food, beverages and sweet treats available throughout the day. The menu items are influenced by European flavors and include Scandinavian inspired delicacies, as well as Mediterranean-style dishes.

208 Garfield in Tacoma
Liam Sigman, a PLU student, adds syrup for an espresso-based coffee drink. Photo credit: Amanda Bretz

The cafe is part of Pacific Lutheran University and because of that fact, outside of the manager and assistant manager, the rest of the 208 Garfield staff are students.

“We only hire students. We do a lot of mentoring and training, and prepare them for working in the real world after they graduate,” says Mary Lou Yeomans, manager at 208 Garfield.

Another unique facet of the eatery is that the restaurant uses as many local items as possible, not just for ingredients they serve in their dishes, but also for their beverage menu items. Only regional wines are served with wines coming from vineyards in either Washington or Oregon. Likewise, they also offer a selection of Northwest beer.

Additionally, several beers and wines served at the eatery come from breweries or vineyards either owned or operated by PLU alumni, a fact that the establishment proudly highlights on their menu.

“The letter ‘A’ beside the item means that item was made by a PLU alum,” Mary Lou says of the beer and wine menu.

In fact, Tacoma’s own Wingman Brewers is on the PLU alumni list and the brewery makes a special brew as a nod to the University’s Lutheran roots. Bottles of the Reformaiden beer is sold exclusively at 208 Garfield.

208 Garfield latte
208 Garfield incorporates regional ingredients in their food and beverages. They serve Portland-based Stumptown Coffee Roasters in all their coffee drinks, like the latte pictured here. Photo credit: Amanda Bretz

Besides their commitment to serving local food, the cafe also bakes all their own baked goods, and makes their soups and salad dressings from scratch. Their bakery items include fresh-made scones, plus chocolate-covered brownies, cookies and muffins. A variety of thirst-quenching drinks are also available, including smoothies and herbal spritzers, which are drinks made from soda water and syrups, like the Miss Beauregard, made with berry and violet.

Of course, there’s also a selection of coffee drinks and organic loose leaf teas available. Some teas include Indian black tea, Moroccan mint green tea, as well as staples such as Early Grey and English Breakfast. There are a variety of coffee drinks to choose from, like americanos, lattes, cappuccinos and more. For their coffee drinks, the establishment serves Portland-based Stumptown Coffee Roasters.

And there’s more than just drinks and baked goodies offered. Their menu features mouth-watering items that are basically a foodie’s dream come true. Two examples are the chopped chicken and kale salad, with roasted cauliflower, parmigiano reggiano, crispy prosciutto, and almonds, as well as the smoked turkey sandwich with house-made pesto, onions, romaine lettuce, lingonberry, and parmigiano reggiano.

According to Mary Lou, one of the most popular menu items is the pappa pomodoro soup, made with San Marzano tomatoes. Many of the menu items are budget friendly, for instance, the bowl portion of the pappa pomodoro soup comes served with a mixed green salad and grilled bread, all for just $5.

208 Garfield coffee
Liam Sigman, PLU student and part-time worker at 208 Garfield, adds steamed milk, making latte art. Photo credit: Amanda Bretz

Other popular and tasty dishes include their panini sandwiches like the tuna, made with pureed white beans in place of mayonnaise. Likewise, the grilled cheese with bacon, arugula, tomato and pluvius cheese is also a delicious twist on a childhood favorite. Or for a truly decadent treat, there’s also the grilled Nutella sandwich, which features the chocolate hazelnut spread on bread and then grilled.

There is a variety of selections for those with dietary restrictions, including gluten-free, vegan and paleo options. The eatery provides gluten-free baked goods like muffins and cookies, with a selection that rotates daily. Other specialty menu items include the paleo bars, which are made with chocolate, almonds and coconut, as well as the paleo BLT salad with avocado and almonds added. The cafe also serves non-dairy ice cream and a vegan caesar salad that features a white bean garlic dressing in place of the traditional dressing.

Besides their year-round menu, the establishment offers daily specials and a seasonal Christmas Scandinavian menu. And, occasionally, they have a special pairing menu.

“Every so often we do beer tastings and wine pairings,” Mary Lou says. Although there hasn’t been one this year, in the past, the wine pairings have typically been served with a four-course meal.

Reservations and larger parties are welcome in the space. While there isn’t a private meeting space, many teachers, student study groups and community groups have utilized the cafe for meetings.

208 Garfield is located at 208 Garfield Street in Tacoma near the Pacific Lutheran University campus. Reach 208 Garfield by phone at 253-538-5990. Find out more about the eatery by following them on social media, Facebook and Twitter.

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