TNT Diner

Yes, Fish Fish Fish is going to open in Tacoma (no, really, really, really)

Fish Fish Fish will operate in the Sixth Avenue neighborhood of Tacoma.
Fish Fish Fish will operate in the Sixth Avenue neighborhood of Tacoma. skidd@thenewstribune.com

A crane dropped a huge grease trap into the ground last week just outside Fish Fish Fish, the Tacoma fish-and-chips restaurant that has been trying to open for two years.

The trap is a device that intercepts grease produced by cooking before it meanders into the wastewater-disposal system.

That enormous trap took co-owners Robert Stocker and Steve Naccarato much more planning than they imagined, which led to a perfect storm of delays.

If all goes as planned, the duo plan a first quarter opening of Fish Fish Fish in 2018.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’ve heard that part about “opening” before. However, the trap is in the ground. The decor has gone from conception to installation, and they’re entering the final stages of planning and menu writing.

The concept will remain just as they promised in 2015: A classic neighborhood fish-and-chips restaurant catering to those who want a slice of nostalgia served alongside fried fish. Stocker and Naccarato will operate their Sixth Avenue restaurant with Stocker’s sister, Suzanne Roberson.

Consider it the seafood version of Shake Shake Shake, their retro-themed burger restaurant in the Stadium neighborhood known for its old-fashioned burgers, fries, rings, shakes and, more recently, pie by the slice. That stylish restaurant offers nods to mid-century design set against a memorable electric orange and aqua palette. Expect Fish3 to carry that same motif.

“Like Shake, and its burgers, we were inspired by the places we grew up with as kids, when going out for a burger or a shake was a big deal. An event,” Naccarato explained. “For kids today, much of that has disappeared. It’s become a non-event. It’s cheap food put out as inexpensively as possible to earn the greatest returns.”

He added, “We approach it differently. We are all about the experience, and the vehicle for that experience happens to be a milkshake or a perfectly fried piece of cod.”

The menu will be a collection of fish both familiar and uncommon. Expect to see the typical true cod but also “... haddock, which is what is predominantly used in Britain and is a firm, white flesh very similar to cod.”

Naccarato said haddock would be the foundation of their beer-battered, English-style fish.

In addition to cod, they’ll fry halibut. They’re also considering albacore tuna.

They’ll keep the menu small to start, then expand to specials that will include seasonal rotating items, such as Dungeness crab cocktail, a prawn sandwich, a po’ boy and Caesar salad.

“I’d love to do a crayfish boil during the summer, peel-and-eat shrimp, soft shell crab sandwiches, a classic New England style chowder and another specialty chowder. We also will offer fish tacos with house-made corn tortillas,” Naccarato said of the dishes that will cycle through the specials/seasonal menus.

Naccarato and Stocker are putting extra effort into the condiments.

“For the fish, we will have malt vinegar and pepper sauce that will be aged in whiskey barrels from Heritage Distillery,” said Naccarato. Cocktail sauce and tartar will be house made.

They also have plans for house pickles, mushy peas (that’s a British thing) and coleslaw.

As for the fries, those will be a thicker-cut fry that Naccarato said will travel well.

BOOM BOOM ROOM

As Stocker and Naccarato work on Fish Fish Fish, they’ll also work on a neighboring retro-themed lounge called the Boom Boom Room. That next-door business will take several more months to complete after Fish Fish Fish opens. In addition to a cocktail menu, the bar will serve a menu of grilled cheese sandwiches that will be made “with locally baked bread and common to exotic cheeses,” said Naccarato.

Fish Fish Fish

Where: 3018 Sixth Ave., Tacoma

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