Primo Grill’s old home on Sixth Avenue will have a much different smell wafting from it - pancakes, instead of wood-fired pizza. A restaurant that is micro focused on breakfast - and only breakfast - is slated to become the next tenant at Sixth and Pine Streets.
Expect to see a November opening for the Original Pancake House. The restaurant space’s former tenant, Primo Grill, left that spot in late July (it opened there in 1999). Owners Charlie McManus and Jacqueline Plattner moved their restaurant a few blocks to Sixth and Oakes, to a building the couple owns that also houses their sister restaurant, Crown Bar.
Original Pancake House is an Oregon-based chain with locations nationally. The Sixth Avenue restaurant will be operated by franchise owners Ryan Medford and Blake Williams who opened the South Hill Original Pancake House in June 2009. They opened another in Maple Valley in 2013.
The Sixth Avenue Original Pancake House will duplicate the South Hill menu with a micro focus on more than a dozen styles of pancakes and a narrow category of made-from-scratch breakfast foods, including omelets, biscuits and gravy, corned beef hash and home fries. The restaurant might be best known for its Dutch baby, a puffed up pancake souffle served with lemon and powdered sugar. I admit a fondness for the restaurant’s bacon pancakes, which are served with the house-blended maple syrup.
Diners are more likely to find an Original Pancake House in suburban environs, which makes the urban Tacoma location unusual. Medford said in a phone interview that the location's proximity to Tacoma's business base was a real draw. They’re adding a conference area in the hopes that nearby university employees and office workers will book breakfast business meetings. Medford did not yet have the exact operating hours of the Sixth Avenue restaurant. The South Hill restaurant originally opened with daytime hours, but later expanded to serving breakfast into dinner hours.
“We’ve looked all over South Puget Sound,” said Medford of the location choice. “We’ve looked in Gig Harbor, Silverdale, Lacey and Olympia. There are a lot of nice areas, but for us, it comes down to individual locations when one’s available. We heard Primo Grill was moving. One of the biggest things that attracted us is that it was a successful business that was moving down the street… There’s always a stigma of going into a restaurant space that failed.”
The space will undergo construction that will shift the kitchen from its current open concept to a kitchen with a pass-through window. Sorry folks, no wood-fired pancakes will be on the menu. Primo's old wood-fired oven will find a new home, said Medford.
Seating at the restaurant will be around 110-120, depending on how final plans are configured. As planned now, the remodel will take about three months, with an expected opening in November.
Original Pancake House
South Hill: 16116 Meridian Ave. E., South Hill, Puyallup; 253-604-0791; Facebook
Tacoma's next location: 601 S. Pine St. More information on the OPH restaurants in Puyallup, Maple Valley and Tacoma here.