The Foss Waterway got a new bistro Saturday. Except that it's only sort of new. Johnny's Seafood has been a Tacoma staple for 39 years as the go-to seafood counter in Tacoma. Now it's all that, plus a bistro. The casually-themed waterfront restaurant opened Monday. Here's a first look.
TNT business reporter John Gillie reported on the opening and history of Johnny's here. Johnny's Seafood closed in January for a building remodel that would boost the business, owned by Pacific Seafoods since 2006, from seafood purveyor to a waterfront bistro. The renovation added plenty of indoor and outdoor seating - about 48 seats in each area. There's also a bar serving wine and beer.
The revamp: Enter the building and veer to the right to pick up your seafood at the counter. Dining tables are adjacent to the seafood counter, which might seem confusing upon entry. Which leads me to...
Seat yourself: The restaurant is an absolutely casual endeavor, from the moment of entry when diners are instructed (or not, as in our case) to find a seat anywhere. The restaurant is still dealing with that new restaurant smell and hard working staffers looked to be still training.
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Outdoor patio: Sign me up for water-side dining at Johnny's Bistro because not only are menu prices pretty easy (see below), but the waterfront view is interesting - if you're a fan of industry smacking up against recreation. That's what I love about the Foss Waterway, although your idea of a great view might be the more leisurely Ruston. Me? I like watching the waterfront at work, which on my visit included a forklift driver moving cargo up and down the newly expanded esplanade that rolls right by Johnny's.
Menu: Casual food, lighter fare and plenty of seafood. Check out the menus below. I'll have a first-bite critical report after the restaurant's first month, but from what I saw, the kitchen is moving in the right direction considering this is opening week. This is not a wine-and-dine sort of place, but could fill a need for casual bistro fare when the mood strikes - and the sun is out.
Johnny's Seafood and BistroWhere: 1199 Dock St., Tacoma; 253-627-2158. Website here.Open: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. daily