Top Pot Doughnuts announced last year that it planned to open doughnut cafes in two developments — Proctor Station in Tacoma’s Proctor neighborhood and The Village at Chambers Bay in University Place (that’s the shopping mall formerly known as Town Center).
Ever since, a question has lingered: Which will come first? A Top Pot Doughnuts in Tacoma? Or University Place?
“Our intention is to have the Proctor Station open first, just because that’s where it fell in line with our lease,” said co-founder Mark Klebeck by phone.
The University Place Top Pot opening, he said, would be right on the heels of the Proctor opening.
So when exactly will that happen?
“If I were to speculate, sometime between May and June,” said Klebeck, who noted that the projects are months behind schedule, and opening dates are contingent on the completion of construction.
Klebeck and his brother Michael are co-founders of the Seattle-based company of 20 doughnut cafes that in recent years has expanded to Texas. The doughnut bakery, with a tagline of “hand-forged doughnuts,” is known for its classic doughnuts with occasional fanciful flavors, such as seasonal offerings of cherry blossom or chai cake doughnuts. The bakery is also known for its coffee, which it has roasted for all its shops since 2002 at its Seattle Fifth Avenue location.
Opening in the South Sound has become a priority for the brothers, who grew up in Lakewood. Mark is a 1983 Clover Park High School graduate. Michael graduated in 1984.
While the brothers did sample from the bakery case at Lakewood’s House of Donuts, Klebeck said another local bakery was their gold standard for doughnuts. “The Golden Oven in the Tacoma Mall was a place my brother and I loved going to,” he said.
“Tacoma has such a great legacy … and an independent vibe,” he said. “My wife and I, we were down there, it was late fall, and we were driving through. It blew me away how much it had grown and how beautiful the area of North Tacoma is.”
And, today, he said, Tacoma is ideally positioned for restaurant expansion.
He’s not the only Seattle restaurant owner who says so. The owners of Seattle-based Rhein Haus are duplicating their Bavarian-themed beer hall in Tacoma’s Stadium neighborhood this year. Peter Levy, of Seattle’s Chow Foods, the operator of Endolyne Joe’s, The 5 Spot and other Seattle institutions, is working on Cooks Tavern, which he’ll open this year in the Proctor neighborhood.
Elemental Pizza, another Seattle-based restaurant, opened its Tacoma restaurant last October, and Vostok Dumpling House, the Seattle-based Russian dumpling restaurant, opened its downtown Tacoma restaurant in November.
When the South Sound locations of Top Pot open, they’ll be carbon copies of the other locations, with light colored wood and a nod to architecture of the ’40s and ’50s.
Expect seating for 35-40, with coffee and a choice of at least three dozen kinds of doughnuts.
However, those doughnuts won’t be fried at the Tacoma or University Place locations.
About 18 months ago, the company centralized its bakery operations and opened a kitchen in Tukwila that supplies all the King County Top Pot cafes with doughnuts.