When Dan and Jessica Rankin decided to open a tavern in Tacoma, serving food was part of the plan for the Airport Tavern, which opened April 8.
That is, until they saw the cost of a grease interceptor, a contraption that prevents grease from entering a sewer system.
Looking at an investment of about $25,000, they opted for Plan B.
The Plan B is right across the street on South Tacoma Way: Ah Badabing Pizza. The pizzeria run by Brian D’Millo is a New York-style pizza restaurant with a menu of pizza, calzones, fries covered with pizza toppings, and a handful of other dishes.
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Dan Rankin spent the better part of last week figuring out how to network an ordering system that could be keyed in at the Airport Tavern and arrive straight in the kitchen of Ah Badabing. It took a network guy and some ingenuity, but beginning last week, pizzas started crossing the street into the tavern.
In the interest of expediency, the menu offered at the Airport Tavern was pared to include just the pizzeria’s regular-size pies. The largest pies at Ah Badabing are supersized up to 30 inches. As Rankin says, “we don’t have a table here big enough to hold that.”
D’Millo said he’s focusing on menu items that take less than about 20 minutes to prepare.
Eventually, food made on-site might become part of the plan at Airport Tavern, but for now, find cocktails, such as old-fashioneds and black opals, made “proper” with high-quality mixers and ingredients, Rankin said. A tap list includes local beers from 7 Seas, Pacific Malting & Brewing and Wingman Brewers.
The tavern probably will become best-known for its live music acts. Rankin is a longtime music insider who has worked as an independent music booker at local clubs, including Jazzbones. Expect a range of bands to come through the doors of the 96-capacity tavern, which also has a pool table and pinball.
Across the street at Ah Badabing, D’Millo said remodeling is underway. He’s ditching his bar in order to add more seating. They’ll expand from about 70 seats to around 140, he said.
Where: 5406 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma; 253-212-0709; facebook.com/airporttav.
Hours: Opens at 4 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays. Closed Sundays.