A Tacoma arts-and-music venue is about to add one more endeavor to its already eclectic roster: restaurants.
Honey and Matriarch are companion restaurants opening at Alma Mater, a two-story 22,000-square-feet venue and arts organization on South Fawcett Avenue that also is home to a 500-person music hall, an arts gallery, a recording studio, offices and shared arts studios.
Honey Coffee + Kitchen will be the all-day breakfast restaurant and will be the first of the two to open. If all goes as planned, the official opening date will be March 15.
Matriarch Lounge will follow in April.
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Family-friendly Honey will offer breakfast until it closes at 4 p.m..
“One of my biggest Tacoma pet peeves with restaurants is their hours. I want to be able to go to a place I like any day of the week,” said Rachel Ervin, one of three operators behind Alma Mater.
Matriarch will appeal to the evening 21-and-older crowd with a small-plates menu from afternoon through late evening.
The executive chef behind both will be familiar to restaurant followers.
Kyle Wnuk last cooked in Tacoma in 2014 when he and business partner Jaime Kay Jones opened Marrow in Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue neighborhood (they later sold it and it eventually closed).
After Marrow, Wnuk cooked at Olympia’s Three Magnets Brewing Co. and another restaurant in Seattle.
Wnuk said he plans to borrow from multiple cuisines for the menus at Honey and Matriarch.
“Taste and texture, regardless of origin, is the concept,” said Wnuk, speaking broadly of both menus. “I’ve got everything from Western Chinese to North African and Nigerian flavors.”
The opening menu of Honey lists breakfast entrees at $10 to $12 each, priced a bit below the city’s average for upscale breakfast.
Like his menu at Marrow, Wnuk features unusual meats, such as pig-head scrapple with a fried duck egg, hash browns and brioche ($12). There are also playful remakes of old diner standards such as the S.O.S. (which stands for something not suitable to print in a family newspaper) built with dried-and-smoked beef chip gravy on brioche with scrambled eggs and hash browns ($12).
Dutch babies come in three configurations. One is made with pork sausage with fennel, rosemary and apples, another with caramelized apples with brown butter and pecans or a raspberry-orange coulis and candied ginger version (all $11).
A play on a Swiss rosti (something like a potato fritatta) will be made with mushrooms and piquillo peppers ($10).
There also is a vegan hash with harissa-marinated tofu ($11), sweet-and-savory ebelskivers ($5 to $10) and a nod to eggs en cocotte ($12).
A full espresso menu will feature beans from Heart Coffee Roasters. Breakfast cocktails will be offered.
Jackie Casella, a longtime Tacoma barkeep who has worked at Brix 25 and Maxwell’s, will oversee bar operations.
Ervin described Honey and Matriarch as continuing the venue’s theme of promoting gathering spaces for varying pockets of Tacoma culture.
“We really want to bring people together around the things that unite people: music, food and art,” said Ervin, who is Alma Mater’s operations director.
Jason Heminger and Aaron Spiro are the other two partners who hold the titles of executive director and program director, respectively. The venue takes up the entirety of the old Carpenter’s Building, which its occupants own.
Honey will seat 40 with a roomy dining room outfitted with banquette seating, counter seating and a communal table for a dozen.
Ervin described the decor as refined industrial with cool blue tones, reclaimed wood, a sawtooth-style ceiling and black steel accents.
Honey will open to a garden.
“You’ll feel like you’re in a park setting,” said Ervin.
Matriarch’s menu will focus on small plates with an emphasis on charcoal-cooked skewers. Wnuk’s plan is to cook those skewers on Japanese konro grills fueled by binchotan charcoal.
Where: 1322 S. Fawcett Ave., Tacoma, almamatertacoma.com
Opening: Honey Coffee + Kitchen March 15. Matriarch Lounge will follow in April.