Tucked into the building at the Tacoma Firs Golf Range is a tiny test kitchen churning out bowls of Bill Trudnowski’s famous mushroom soup, his legendary rigatoni and whatever else he feels like cooking.
Trudnowski, former co-owner and executive chef of Tacoma’s shuttered Adriatic Grill, is the executive chef behind a revamp that’s about to get underway at Tacoma Firs.
In the meantime, he’s operating a test kitchen four days a week before the big work on the building begins.
The new on-site venture at Tacoma Firs will be called Gamerz Golf, a $13 million project that will come with electronic golfing, heated golf bays, a 45-seat dining room, sports bar and party spaces with food delivery and a food-and-beverage plan covering the whole facility.
Think of it as a locally grown version of Topgolf (which also has its eye on Tacoma for a facility).
Diners have at least another month to get into the test kitchen before construction is anticipated to begin on Gamerz Golf and the facility shuts down.
In the meantime, Trudnowski is giving a preview for what comes next for Gamerz Golf.
“It’s been a blast,” said Trudnowski. “I’ve gone through this long career, all the way from dishwasher to corporate executive chef at a $100 million company and then owning a restaurant and all that comes with it. What does it all come back to? It comes back to your center point. What is my center point? My center point is food.”
He said he’s enjoyed getting into the tiny kitchen and playing around with the food ideas he has for Gamerz Golf.
“To have this little tiny kitchen, that I’ve kind of rearranged, to have that solely focused on the creation of food has been really fun. It is pure enjoyment for me,” he said.
“We made pesto every day at the restaurant (the former Adriatic Grill) and I hadn’t made it for a year,” he said of his now-closed restaurant. “That smell, and the look of it, it brought me to tears. It’s what it’s about. Something as simple as pesto.”
On his test kitchen menu right now is his famous mushroom soup, which was a menu staple at his Adriatic Grill. It’s a three-mushroom adventure made with porcinis, criminis and shiitakes cooked in a rich vegetable stock and finished with cream and herbs.
And those Adriatic Grill meatballs? Those show up as sliders served with marinara and mozzarella at Tacoma Firs.
Diehard fans of his pasta will be happy to see the return of his rigatoni with meat sauce, infused with a little cream.
Alongside those dishes, he plans to test and try all kinds of new menu items, he said.
The menu at the test kitchen will be fluid, so new things will be added and subtracted. Prices will be kept affordable — in the $2 to $11 range.
The test kitchen, which Trudnowski has nicknamed Chef Bill-T’s Test Kitchen, runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays until the facility closes for construction (that time line is a bit fluid).
When the new venture opens in 2020, Trudnowski will lead the kitchen at Gamerz Golf with a far-flung menu that reflects golf’s global reach.
“Golf is pretty much everywhere. South America, Central America, Northern Europe, Ireland and Scotland, the Middle East and Asia,” said Trudnowski, who will infuse flavors from all those places.
But there will be crowd friendly food, as well. A favorite, he said, is destined to be his Gamerz House Burger, made with bacon, cheddar, caramelized onions, arugula and garlic aioli.
Tacoma Firs Golf Center
Where: 4504 S.Tyler St., Tacoma
Info: 253-472-6899 or tacomafirsgolfcenter.uschedule.com