To many, the term “pub” is something as simple as a bar or tavern. Yet the word “pub” was originally a shortened way to describe a “public house,” something far different than a standard bar. The focus of a pub is not to highlight any particular food or drink, but to embrace the concept of a community hangout, a place for people (of all ages) to meet up and enjoy each other’s company. To that end, Auburn natives Matt Altick and David Allen dreamed up the concept of Oddfellas, a public gathering place for their hometown community. And with a second restaurant opened in Tacoma, Altick and Allen hope to deliver the same kind of friendly atmosphere and casual playfulness to the City of Destiny.
Originally opening its Auburn location in 2010, Oddfellas was designed with the European-style pub in mind. “We took that European-style pub idea,” explains Altick, “as well as our food expertise, and wanted to keep that feel.”
To achieve this, Artick and Allen used the ground floor of Auburn’s historic Truitt Building to create the Oddfellas Pub & Eatery. The name Oddfellas derives from the Truitt building, which was once an Odd Fellows Hall, an old fraternal order akin to Freemasonry.
This clever wordplay is just one example of Artick and Allen’s desire for their pub to be a little, well, odd. With menu items like Poutine Your Mouth, Sid’s Caesar, and Bump & Grinder, it’s obvious they’re bringing comfort with a sense of humor. “We don’t take ourselves too seriously,” says Altick. “We want to provide exceptional products, but we’re not food snobs. A simple menu done uncommonly good.”
One of the more interesting menu items is their Rooster Wings with Bravo sauce. “My father, who is retired military, came up and kept bragging about these wings he had in a pub in Oregon. Together, we duplicated the sauce. Originally, we were going to call it the Colonel Sauce, but not wanting to be confused with KFC, we named it after Bravo 1, my father’s call sign. It’s got an Asian flair to it, both sweet and hot. The hot comes from the pepper flakes, the sweet from the ginger.”
Yet if standard pub fare is more to your liking, there’s plenty to be had. From their locally sourced bangers n’ mash to their schnitzel, pub crawlers are sure to find something to their liking. They even have full breakfast options on the weekends (along with clever names like Patriot Toast and The Benedict Oliver). And with 24 rotating taps of predominately local beer, there’s plenty to wash the food down with.
Yet when pressed as to what sets this pub apart from the rest, Altick is quick to go back to the atmosphere. “Lots of warm colors and lots of warm food,” Altick muses. “We wanted comfort food in a comfortable atmosphere. I think that’s what sets us apart. We work very hard on the atmosphere. We want people to feel like guests in our home. Our service philosophy is treating our guests as just that. When you come sit at the bar alone, we hope you leave having three new friends.”
To continue with the pub feel, Oddfellas in both the Auburn and Tacoma locations, have a BAT (big ass table) in the bar section as an effort to bring small groups together. “We found it’s not unusual for small groups to come together as friends,” Altick says. By the end of the evening, it’s not uncommon for the entire table to be on a first-name basis.
But above all, Oddfellas was created for the entire community, not for just a few beer enthusiasts. “We are a family-friendly restaurant. We’re kid tolerant, but we don’t have kid menus. We don’t hand out crayons, but want to appeal to the 20 somethings, 30 somethings and families. We found that we appeal to the foodies, the beer geeks, and the wine connoisseurs, and all of the above. We chose Tacoma because it’s frankly an up and coming neighborhood. We wanted to put that pub concept into a new neighborhood.”
Oddfellas is located at 5741 North 26th Street, Tacoma, WA 98407. For more information, click here.