It’s not often South Hill gets a restaurant opening that doesn’t involve a chain restaurant.
When it does, it seems the entire community turns out. On the first day of business.
The lines have spilled out the door since the Jan. 13 opening of The Hub at Puyallup, a 154-seat restaurant and taproom across the street from South Hill Mall.
In a community that has two Red Robins and two Applebee’s along a 4-mile stretch of Meridian, it’s only natural that the opening of an independent family-friendly restaurant with terrific pub eats and beer would garner a crushing level of attention from diners starving for something other than chains.
Consider waiting a few weeks before visiting to let the restaurant work out its opening jitters. When you do, you’ll find a brew-centric restaurant and atmosphere similar to the other restaurants in the Harmon Brewing Co. family.
It’s this paper’s policy to avoid criticism of food and service during a restaurant’s first month. Here’s a first-bite report:
Harmon Brewing Co.: This is the fifth restaurant from the Harmon Brewing Co., co-owned by Pat Nagle and Carole Ford. They operate the Harmon Brewery in downtown Tacoma, The Hub and Harmon Taproom in the St. Helens neighborhood, and The Hub at Gig Harbor.
Dining room: The entrance is flanked by a raised dining room with four-top tables and booths. A ramp leads to the main dining room that’s open from one end to the other. A bar is in the corner.
Theme: Bicycles, brews and mountains, which is similar to the theme for all The Hub locations.
Parking lot: It’s a tight fit with not enough stalls. Yes, you will end up circling the lot in search of parking.
Menu: Two pages of pub fare. Burgers, sandwiches, pizza and larger entrees.
Starters and salads: 17 small plates, including wings ($13), house fries, tots or onion rings ($7-$9), nachos ($10) and calamari ($10). Ten entree and side salads ($6-$17).
Burgers: Eight beef burgers, plus a vegetarian, a turkey and a salmon burger ($9-$15). Burgers range from a simple third pounder ($9) to the giant Wagyu half pounder ($15).
Sandwiches: Nine. Wagyu beef dip ($14), fishwich with beer-battered cod ($11), Reuben ($12), Italian on a French roll ($13) and three chicken sandwiches ($11 each).
Pizza: Most pies come in two sizes, priced $12-$23, cooked in a Wood Stone oven. More than 20 specialty pies, evenly split between meat and vegetarian. Meat pies represent the usual gamut of pepperoni, supreme and the wide world of pork-topped pies, plus three chicken-topped versions.
Veggie pies: Far beyond the typical cheese. A rustica is topped with artichoke hearts and black olives, garlic and fresh basil. A Greek comes with feta, arugula, kalamata olives, red onion and oregano.
Larger plates: Ten choices, including top sirloin ($22), ribeye steak ($26), beer-battered cod and chips ($15), three pastas ($12-$14).
On a first visit: Get the simply presented Schwinn with bacon and cheddar ($1 each) on a fluffy brioche bun that was buttered and toasted and slathered with a tangy dressing, lettuce and tomatoes ($9). The crispy chicken was an unusual presentation, with a battered, instead of breaded, crispy chicken breast with crisp veggies on brioche ($11). The crunchy cod street taco with sweet-and-tangy slaw is a must, as is the pulled pork taco served carnitas style with crispy-edged pork shoulder piled on a tortilla ($6 for two/$12 for four).
Taps: More than 20 featuring Harmon flagship and specialty brews, plus a full cocktail menu.
The Hub at Puyallup
Information: 214 39th Ave. SW, Puyallup; 253-446-6160; facebook.com/HubPuyallup.