Tami Haskins is accustomed to running a restaurant that’s tough to find if you don’t know where you’re going.
Her Buttered Biscuit restaurant in Sumner, which she opened in 2007, is adjacent to the railroad tracks on North Street. The more commonly taken route, the one navigated by the locals, is to head down Main Street, turn on Ryan, then head down the alley adjacent to Sorci’s until you hit Buttered Biscuit. Yes, it’s in an alley.
Haskins’ second restaurant, Buttered Biscuit Too, which she intends to open this month in Bonney Lake, also comes with a tricky entrance and a precarious left turn from state Route 410.
Does that scare Haskins? Not at all.
It also doesn’t bother her that the two previous restaurants there had short lives: the White House Restaurant, and Andre’s before that.
“I can’t tell you how much that doesn’t bother me. The location is just something that doesn’t faze me,” said Haskins in a phone interview as she prepared final details for the restaurant opening.
The new Buttered Biscuit Too will be a near clone of the downtown Sumner eatery, which Haskins will continue to operate. The Buttered Biscuit isn’t the first restaurant she’s run in the Bonney Lake area. She previously operated the Sweet Shoppe in Buckley from 2005-2007.
The Buttered Biscuit specializes in classic diner dishes with regional American flourishes. The restaurant’s focus is on serving breakfast during all operating hours. Portions are so big they practically tumble off the plate. The chicken fried steak is one of the best — and biggest — in the area. It comes in two sizes, with three different preparations. Her “Don’t Be a Chicken” is the love child of a chicken fried steak, SOS, and biscuits and gravy. I’d call it a food dare if it weren’t so delicious.
A breakfast staple is a big wedge of cornbread, enough for two to share. The sweeter side of breakfast is a specialty, too, with the menu listing five waffles, four flavors of French toast, and almost as many kinds of crepes and pancakes.
At lunch, find layered sandwiches in messy, big portions. The corned beef reuben on rye is a monster of a sandwich, stacked three layers high. Meatloaf is served as an entree or a sandwich.
Haskins intends for every customer to cart away a take-out box with enough for a second meal. Tip: Order a “half order” and your meal will be smaller, and discounted. The restaurant offers gluten-free bread and other substitutions, and has a decent vegetarian menu.
Haskins is honing her menu to feature even more Southern fare: She’s adding gumbo, prawns, grits, and red beans and rice to the menus at both locations. She’s also hired a chef from Texas to work at the Bonney Lake location.
Inside the restaurant in Bonney Lake, she’s made minor cosmetic changes. The bar with the separate entrance remains off to the side of the building. Both restaurants will be about the same size — about 160 seats each.
Haskins shifted the decor to be a touch more homey. “I’m in love with it. We’ve taken a place that was not meant to be a restaurant and now this place is designed to be a restaurant. I’ve got pictures of my family and historical pictures of the Bonney Lake area,” she said.
Haskins is particularly fond of one photo. It shows her grandmother working as an usher at Tacoma’s Rialto Theater.