The trio behind Paesan Kitchen and Bar quietly opened their newest Tacoma Foss Waterway restaurant over the weekend. Consider this the soft opening for the restaurant - it only will be open for coffee service and lunch today and tomorrow. Expect full operating hours on Wednesday.
Paesan is a small(ish) companion pizzeria to big sister restaurant Social Bar & Grill, which operates next door (around the back side of the building) in the space with the sprawling patio that has a stellar view. Paesan's menu is purely pizza - with a wood-fired oven the centerpiece of the restaurant. Paesan operates in the space that formerly held the Dock Street Sandwich Company.
Pronounced “pie-zahn” - Paesan is Italian slang for “friend” or “buddy.” Much like Social, Paesan intends to be a gathering place with shareable plates for groups of diners. However, instead of Social's menu of eclectic flavors tucked into small plates, Paesan's menu focuses on shareable pies. See a menu below that lists everything from pears to parsley, pesto to pomodoro, hot peppers to pineapple.
The three restaurateurs behind Paesan opened Social in July 2011. They're all former employees of the locally grown Tex-Mex chain Matador: Philip Panagos; Jason Bailey and Chef Rodel Borromeo.
The space at Paesan is much smaller than Social with space for about 30. Much of the seating is communal - from the small bar with about a half dozen bar stools to an area adjacent to the bar with bench seating that encourages scrunching around the high-top tables. An eating bar flanks the street-side windows with a view of Dock Street and nearby rail traffic. There are two tables for four diners each. Like I said - it's smallish. The decor is similar in feel to the hybrid industrial setting at neighboring Social. Both restaurants share something that people who like to cook will appreciate - much of the cooking is on full display. At Social, a floor-to-ceiling display kitchen yields a view of kitchen flurry like no other in Tacoma. At Paesan, the pizza prep is on full display adjacent to the wood-fired pizza oven that takes up a good chunk of real estate in the dining room.
What about the noise level - something a problem at restaurants with lots of hard surfaces and tall ceilings? While Social is a cavernous restaurant with a lively din (read: sometimes deafening), Paesan's intimate room produces a much less noisy dining experience. Look for an outdoor dining patio coming soon to Paesan.
Paesan Kitchen and BarWhere: 1701 Dock St., Tacoma, 253-301-3835, FacebookOpening: This week, but it may be a soft opening with irregular hours (so call ahead)