TNT Diner

Downtown eatery finally ready to reopen a year after a fire closed it

Meridian Cafe in downtown Puyallup.
Meridian Cafe in downtown Puyallup.

More than a year after a fire at a neighboring business forced its closure, Meridian Cafe finally is ready to reopen in downtown Puyallup. If all goes as planned, the restaurant intends to reopen sometime between Feb. 14 and 20.

That time line is dependent on the weather and other factors.

A two-alarm fire in October 2017 shuttered the restaurant. The fire started at a neighboring building undergoing some roof work. Because the buildings are connected, the fire had to be put out quickly before it encroached on surrounding buildings. The water damage was extensive.

Owner Shaun Brobak guessed at the time that a closure probably would be months, not more than a year.

As often is the case with fires in old buildings, reopening proved challenging. The old building was from an era of building codes that no longer are applicable to new construction. Some of the infrastructure had to be updated to current code. Additionally, “there was asbestos, so we had to go back to the drawing board and start over,” said Brobak. The asbestos was removed.

Some of the repairs required permits. Brobak said that work went about as smoothly as could be expected considering the extent of repairs.

He also took that time to reassess the restaurant’s needs. The kitchen before was small, cramped and not well equipped for a modern restaurant or for the volume of food he thought the restaurant was capable of producing.

“There were a lot of flaws, and we needed to fix those things,” he said. “It was so limited in what we could do for food. There wasn’t enough fridge space. We’ve corrected those things.”

“We took everything out,” said Brobak. “We have a brand new kitchen. We’ve redesigned the entire space.”

More fridge space means the kitchen staff potentially can expand the menu to add more items. There’s also more grill space. The design is more conducive to how modern kitchens operate.

The dining room has been updated, too, said Brobak. He added new hardwood floors and pictures of historic downtown Puyallup.

He also focused on comfortable seating. Booths, similar to those at Brobak’s other business, Crockett’s Public House in downtown Puyallup, were added. The redesigned dining room ended up making room for an additional 20 diners.

As for the menu, he said changes likely will come, but not at first.

“We’re going to reopen with the menu we had and then let our guests tell us what it is they’d like to see us do. We have the capacity to bring on more items. We’re going to bring the same attention to quality that we do at Crockett’s to our breakfast menu,” he said.

Meridian Cafe’s original menu covered all the classic categories for breakfast foods. Before it closed in 2017, the menu listed pancakes and waffles ($7.99 to $9.50), omelets ($8.99 to $10.99), biscuits and gravy ($7.99 to $11.99), breakfast sandwich plates ($8.99 to $10.99), breakfast burritos ($8.50 to $9.99) and classic diner breakfasts such as corned beef and hash ($10.99), chicken fried steak ($11.99) and a built-for-a-linebacker breakfast combo ($10.99). At lunch, the menu featured classic diner sandwiches ($7.99 to $10.99) and burgers ($8.99 to $10.99).

Meridian Cafe

Where: 213 N. Meridian, Puyallup

Info: 253-435-8833 or

Opening: Within the next week, if all goes as planned

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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.