Call the transformation of Gig Harbor’s Tanglewood Grill the second phase of a long-term plan from restaurant owner Jean O’Neill.
The name of the restaurant — and the sign — changed from Tanglewood to O’Neill’s Sports Pub in December, which prompted reader questions.
As The News Tribune reported last year, O’Neill purchased Tanglewood Grill in June from longtime owners Katie and Denny Driscoll (co-owners of Lobster Shop on Ruston Way and Boathouse 19 at the Narrows Marina).
As O’Neill promised early last summer, change would come slowly to the restaurant.
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First, she added a late-night eats menu with longer happy hours.
She made subtle changes to the rest of the menu, but more recently, changes grew more noticeable.
The dinner menu now has robust steak offerings with several cuts including a tomahawk ribeye ($75), filet mignon ($40) and a T-bone ribeye ($45).
Her new menus also emphasize Irish food. She added Shepherd’s pie ($14), corned beef and cabbage ($14) and lamb stew ($7 small/$9 large). The rest of the menu includes sandwiches and burgers ($11 to $16), pastas ($15 to $19), fish and chips ($14) and seared halibut ($24).
Beginning in October, diners also began to notice cosmetic changes, which O’Neill said she completed during off hours, much to the surprise of diners.
“The customers have loved watching it. It’s now kind of fun that people are asking, ‘What is she going to do this week?’” said O’Neill, who owned a restaurant consulting business in the Bellevue area before moving to Gig Harbor about four years ago.
In addition to making cosmetic improvements, the restaurant closed for five days to update the kitchen equipment and replace the floor.
The transformation has brought warmth to the space. O’Neill removed the carpet in the front and replaced it with stained concrete. She also built a rock wall that adds visual interest toward the center of the restaurant.
The bar also has been refaced and “when you walk in now, there’s no more logs surrounding the bar,” said O’Neill. “The floors have been refinished. There’s new furniture coming. We’re almost done.”
She said she plans a grand opening celebration after the remodel is complete in the coming weeks.
Tip: In the near future, she plans to add live music on the weekends.
O’Neill’s Bar & Grill
Where: 3222 56th St. NW, Gig Harbor
Info: 253-858-5555, oneillsbarandgrill.com
Hours: 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Saturday-Sunday
Happy hour: 4-6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.-1 a.m. daily