TNT Diner

Here’s downtown Tacoma’s newest weekend brunch, and what to order

Wooden City in downtown Tacoma adds weekend brunch

Wooden City in downtown Tacoma now has weekend brunch service.  The restaurant serves upscale pub fare with chef's touches.
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Wooden City in downtown Tacoma now has weekend brunch service.  The restaurant serves upscale pub fare with chef's touches.

A few years ago, good luck finding brunch in downtown Tacoma.

Now, there’s serious competition. Pacific Grill started the trend with its weekend breakfast service in 2016.

Matador, En Rama, Stink and Honey Coffee + Kitchen (with daily breakfast service) followed in 2018.

Add Wooden City to that weekend rotation.

It started brunch service in November.

Much like the restaurant’s dinner menu, you’ll find classics that sound uncomplicated at first glance. Inspect the menu and chef flourishes appear.

The steak and eggs are made with Wagyu American beef. Hash is fueled by lamb ragu. The salmon on the Benedict is house-cured gravlax by chef Jon Green, an alumni of The French Laundry kitchen (yes, that French Laundry).

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The dining room of Wooden City in Tacoma. Sue Kidd skidd@thenewstribune.com

Green teamed up with longtime local and industry professional Abe Fox to open their first self-operated and owned restaurant in July. The two met while working in Seattle restaurants. Tacoma and its affordable rents and less congested dining market beckoned.

The duo transformed the former Wilder Local Fare + Libations space into a polished destination (that’s kid friendly until 8 p.m.) with a dining room anchored by a long cushy banquette in a beautiful shade of royal blue, drop lighting casting a moody glow by night and broad windows that flood the long, narrow space with light by day. It’s a sophisticated stop in a neighborhood filled with great eating and cocktailing.

Here’s a first look at the new brunch service.

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A bloody Mary from downtown Tacoma’s Wooden City. Sue Kidd skidd@thenewstribune.com

The menu: Has already changed once, so items described here might already be gone.

The selection: A short menu of five breakfast entrees ($11 to $18) with four pizzas from the restaurant’s wood-fueled oven ($13 to $18) and five salads and sandwiches ($10 to $14).

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Irish coffee with Jameson from Wooden City. Sue Kidd skidd@thenewstribune.com

Breakfast drinks: Six specialty cocktails, ranging from a boozy Irish coffee stoked with Jameson and cream ($10) and a bloody mary with a pop of chii salt on the rim and a tomato base fueled by horseradish with an impressive garnish tucked deep into the bar glass ($9). I gushed over the jammy Hotel Nacional with Plantation rum, pineapple, apricot and lime ($10). A sidecar ($10), peach aperol spritz ($9) and mimosa ($8) also are listed.

Coffee: It’s from Bluebeard, the Sixth Avenue coffee roaster. $3.

Wooden City steak and eggs 1.jpg
Steak and eggs from Wooden City in downtown Tacoma. Sue Kidd skidd@thenewstribune.com

Good eating: Steak and eggs impressed with a sliced five-ounce American Wagyu steak offering a delicate, chewy resistance ($18). Breakfast potatoes were perfect fried cubes built to carry the smoky salsa roja straight into my mouth. Garlic toast and two fried eggs festooned with fresh parsley turned the plate into a big feast.

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Salmon Benedict with a lemon-heavy hollandaise and breakfast potatoes. Sue Kidd skidd@thenewstribune.com

I dug into the best biscuits and gravy I’ve had in months ($12). Add a piece of fried chicken? And an egg? And for only five bucks? Don’t mind if I do. Two fluffy biscuits anchored the plate with a generous ladle of herbed, creamy gravy that was thick with sausage. The fried egg was perched on top of a crunchy jacketed and well-seasoned chicken thigh.

Wooden City biscuits gravy 1.jpg
Biscuits and gravy with a sunnyside up egg and fried chicken from downtown Tacoma’s Wooden City. Sue Kidd skidd@thenewstribune.com

I admired the ruby jiggle of the house-cured salmon that Chef Green told me he infuses with beet powder to achieve that glistening red color during the gravlax-style cure. That salmon topped sturdy wedges of good bread and was finished with a velvety drape of lemon-heavy hollandaise. Breakfast potatoes were perfect for swiping up that leftover creamy sauce ($16).

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French toast from Wooden City in downtown Tacoma. Sue Kidd skidd@thenewstribune.com

French toast was more sturdy than soft and custardy with a big pour of real maple syrup and topped with a pecan crumble and fresh blueberries ($11).

Wooden City

Where: 714 Pacific Ave., Tacoma

Info: 253-503-0762 or woodencitytacoma.com

Brunch: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

Kids: Allowed until 8 p.m.

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Sue Kidd has been The News Tribune’s restaurant critic since 2008. She dines anonymously and The News Tribune pays for all meals. Sue is a South Sound native. She writes about new restaurants, openings and closures and knows where to find the best tacos in every neighborhood.


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