There are a few iconic businesses and places in Tacoma that have stood the test of time. One such place is The Antique Sandwich Company, located a stone’s throw away from Point Defiance Park.
The eatery has been a family business since 1973, when it was opened by sisters-in-law Tamie and Shirley Herridge along with their mother Arlene. Shortly after, Dick Meyer joined as a fourth owner.
The name stems from the original vision the trio of ladies had for their eatery. Back before they opened, the plan was to sell antiques as well as food. Their plan evolved as the trio looked for buildings to house their business.
Originally from Seattle, Tamie and her business partners weren’t expecting to find the perfect location for their budding business in Tacoma when they set off on this venture 45 years ago.
But, once they’d gotten the location locked down, they focused on the decor and creating an ambience. They found that ambience in the large wooden bar that also serves as the order counter. The bar is the centerpiece of the eatery’s decor and aligns so well with the theme of the establishment, that you would never assume it wasn’t a part of the building when they moved in. However, the women bought the bar at an auction in Seattle.
“It was disassembled and painted black, so we stripped it and refinished it,” Tamie says about the now beautifully restored wooden structure. She also admits there was a certain amount of naivete about the amount of work involved in such an undertaking. “We thought, oh, that shouldn’t be too much work, there’s a lot of flat surface. It took forever,” she adds with a laugh.
Just like the original vision for the restaurant evolved, Tamie says that over time the recipes have evolved a bit after 45 years in business. For instance, once upon a time, desserts weren’t such a prominent menu item.
“In the beginning, we were kind of afraid of making desserts. We just weren’t in that realm.”
The team gradually started making sweets, adding things as they tested and tried recipes. The first dessert item to grace their menu was the peanut butter fudge, a staple the eatery still serves more than four decades later. Besides learning how to make desserts as they grew in the business, they decided early on to only use honey as a sweetener.
“That added challenge was particularly tough when it came to perfecting cookie recipes,” Tamie recalls.
The restaurant only uses Timmons Honey House, a local honey from Graham, in their recipes. Jars are also for sale in the establishment. With the amount of desserts the staff at The Antique Sandwich Company whip up daily, you have to wonder how much they use in a typical week. After some quick and impressive mental math, Tamie estimates she and her employees go through about 300 pounds of honey every week.
As the name would imply, their menu offers a variety of sandwiches, such as the turkey sandwich, with the turkey baked and sliced in house, or the reuben. If meat is not for you, vegetarian sandwiches like the avocado, tomato, cheese, and sprout or the hummus, sprout, and tomato are available, as are a number of salads, soups, quiche as well as spinach lasagna.
Anyone with a sweet tooth will find desserts aplenty here, as they make scones, cookies and large cinnamon rolls fresh daily, as well as granola. Additionally, they bake a rotation of cakes, pies and cheesecakes daily, as well as preparing peanut butter fudge. If baked goodies aren’t your thing, Antique Sandwich Co. also serves milkshakes in a variety of flavors.
Drip coffee and espresso drinks are served, but there are a number of other refreshments available, like a variety of teas and hot cider. They also make a number of drinks in house, such as their chai, lemonade and orange juice.
Besides wholesome food and delectable desserts, patrons will find entertainment at the restaurant. Every Tuesday, The Antique Sandwich Company hosts open mic night, which happens at 7:00 p.m., a tradition that has been going strong for the last 40 years or so. Occasionally, in addition to open mic night, there will be an extra evening of entertainment, such as flamenco dancing, and every third Sunday they host belly dancers, an event that Tamie says packs the house every time.
The Antique Sandwich Company is located at 5102 N. Pearl Street and can be contacted at 253-752-4069 or find them on Facebook.