TNT Diner

Options from frugal to fancy near US Open shuttle parking lots in Puyallup, Lakewood

Parking is expected to be very limited in University Place during the U.S. Open, which is why the United States Golf Association will employ nearly 300 shuttles to ferry thousands of visitors from two main shuttle areas in Lakewood and Puyallup. Chances are, you’ll need to source a meal or two around the shuttle areas. I’ve mapped restaurants located within about a mile or two of each shuttle site.

You can find more restaurant recommendations for the greater Tacoma area at


Visitors traveling from the north or east of University Place will be directed to the Red Lot at the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup. Here are restaurants within about a mile of that shuttle lot.


Find burgers grilled to order, as well as terrific fresh-baked pies and soups at Don’s Drive-In (925 S. Meridian; 253-845-1790, $), with seating inside and out. My Cheese Shoppe specializes in any style of cheese you can imagine, but also lists a specialty sandwich menu, such as an Italian mortadella and asiago on ciabatta or rosemary ham, tomato tapas jam and aged sheep cheese on a grilled baguette (202 S. Meridian; 253-841-2011 or, $). Find high-quality sandwiches and handmade pastries at the Savory and Sweet Cafe (201 S. Meridian; 253-445-5922 or, $).


Three downtown pizzerias are within walking distance of the shuttle. Trackside Pizza is in a cute little building that’s close enough to feel the trains whiz by. Find pies and sandwiches (201 N. Meridian; 253-845-7437 or, $-$$). At Casa Mia, find straightforward pastas and pies made on chewy crusts (505 N. Meridian; 253-770-0400 or, $-$$). Sparks Firehouse Deli has wood-fired pizza and a beautiful alfresco dining patio. Be sure to order the Halligan sandwich. (621 Fifth St.; 253-840-3354, $-$$).


Happy Donuts serves straightforward doughnuts and espresso (305 Second St. NE; 253-840-9398, $). For excellent espresso and a quick bite, head to Anthem Coffee House (210 W. Pioneer Ave.; 253-881-1445, $).


Head immediately to Charlie’s for breakfast if you have time to sit and eat. Be sure to order the prime rib hash or the chicken-fried steak (113 E. Main; 253-845-0588 or, $-$$). At The Rose Restaurant, find plenty of strong joe and a straightforward diner menu that does cakes and eggs well (122 W. Main; 253-845-2874, $). Auntee B’s is another fine destination for breakfast basics (213 N. Meridian; 253-435-8833, $).


Find award-winning craft beer at the Puyallup River Alehouse, which features several of the brewery’s ales and a lengthy list of Northwest taps. Pizzas are on the menu, too (120 S. Meridian; 253-268-0955, 21 and older only, $). Station U-Brew is a small taproom with a handful of house brews, but no menu (211 W. Stewart Ave.; 253-466-3721, $). Powerhouse Brewing is a brewpub with a menu of sandwiches and its own brew on tap, including housemade root beer (454 E. Main Ave.; 253-845-1370 or, children allowed, $-$$). Find a menu of classic cocktails, beer and high-quality sandwiches at The Forum (208 S. Meridian; 253-445-6677, $-$$). TK Irish Pub (109 S. Meridian; 253-604-4791, $-$$) and Bumpy’s (116 E. Main Ave.; 253-841-2931, $) are two places to enjoy a pint, as well.


You won’t find restaurants requiring a jacket or tie in downtown Puyallup, but you will find chef-owned restaurants with Northwest sensibilities. Arista Pasta is one of the newest restaurants downtown, with a menu of handmade ravioli in myriad flavors (mushroom medeira, chicken gorgonzola, lobster) and heartier entrees, such as roasted duroc pork shoulder and Copper River salmon (109 W. Pioneer Ave.; 253-604-4288 or, $$-$$$). Toscanos Italian Grill and Wine Bar is just off the Meridian corridor on Main Street and serves a terrific pasta and surf-and-turf menu that’s best described as Northwest-drenched Mediterranean. A dependable wine and cocktail list invites lingering on one of the area’s loveliest patios, with a view of Mount Rainier (437 29th St. NE; 253-864-8600 or, $$-$$$). HG Bistro features Northwest cuisine in an attractive cafe setting, with decent cocktails and a tremendous happy hour. (1618 E. Main Ave.; 253-845-5747 or, $-$$$). Looking for straightforward pasta and sandwiches in a handsome dining room? And wine? Head to Mama Stortini’s for supper (3207 E. Main; 253-845-7569 or, $$-$$$).


Gumbo, po’boys, Cajun surf-and-turf, and crawfish boils, when in season, is what you’ll find at Bourbon Street Bar and Grill. This Louisiana-themed restaurant also lists a terrific cocktail menu and occasional weekend live music (401 S. Meridian; 253-604-4404, $-$$$). Crockett’s Public House is a lively gathering place, good for a noisy group. Find higher-end pub fare, such as sandwiches, tacos, burgers, and meatballs once featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” (118 E. Stewart; 253-466-3075 or, $-$$). Casual Greek fare can be found at Giorgio’s Greek Cafe, another downtown eatery with stellar patio seating. Find gyros, souvlaki, pizza, moussaka and the other usual Greek taverna suspects (328 S. Meridian; 253-200-2333, $-$$$). My Lil’ Cube has a quirky name, but ramen is the specialty. Get the excellent pork tonkotsu broth. (402 N. Meridian; 253-840-2158, $).


Visitors driving from south of the golf course will be directed to the Blue Lot at Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood. Traffic will be funneled down Bridgeport Way. These restaurants are along that corridor, from Pacific Highway Southwest to Steilacoom Boulevard.


Side-by-side German businesses share a roof, but not owners. Find great deli sandwiches and an endless selection of German cakes and pastry at the German Pastry Shop (6108 Mount Tacoma Drive SW; 253-588-5777, $). Across the hall, find fresh-baked pretzels and bread, more deli sandwiches and an impressive German grocery selection at Hess Bakery and Deli (6108 Mount Tacoma Drive SW; 253-584-1451 or, $).

The Indy Sandwich Co. will get you in and out fast with sandwiches that are five levels better than a chain sandwich shop (10240 Bridgeport Way SW; 253-589-3354 or, $). At Cascade Bagels, you can grab a bagel sandwich quickly for lunch or breakfast. The bagel bakery’s salt bagel should not be missed. They also serve espresso (6115 Motor Ave. SW; 253-984-6809 or, $).


Try the Original House of Donuts, an emporium for morning pastries and coffee (9638 Gravelly Lake Drive SW; 253-588-2647 or, $).


Find a straightforward taqueria menu of portable Mexican eats at Taqueria El Antojo. Tortas and tacos are must orders, get the carnitas. (11916 Pacific Highway SW; 253-983-1550 or, $). If you’re searching for quick Vietnamese eats, there are at least three pho restaurants along Bridgeport to Steilacoom Avenue.


Peppery gravy over split fluffy biscuits is a perfect way to start your morning at Moon Rise Cafe in the Lakewood Town Center (6020 Main St. SW; 253-983-9999 or, $-$$). Housemade raspberry freezer jam is a must try. Bigger-than-your-head breakfasts can be found at Carrs, but the kitchen can move slower than you want (11006 Bridgeport Way SW; 253-584-4622 or, $-$$). They also serve classic American eats for lunch and dinner. Find inexpensive breakfasts with up-and-down consistency at Burs, an American diner (6151 Steilacoom Blvd.; 253-588-4844, $-$$).


Have some time for a sit-down dinner? Find an old Italian spaghetti den that’s been around for more than 50 years. And don’t miss the meat sauce at Pizza Casa. Spumoni and grisini with every dinner (12924 Pacific Highway SW; 253-588-8135 or, $$-$$$). Long Beach Cafe specializes in rice, noodle and grilled dishes from Vietnam and Thailand, with menu accents from Malaysia, China and Korea. (10114 Bridgeport Way SW; 253-565-3269, $$-$$$). Great Cuisine of India is simply appointed, but with a dynamite lunch buffet and outstanding butter chicken and aloo gobi (9518 Gravelly Lake Drive SW; 253-581-1333 or, $$-$$$). At Green Coconut Tree, find a menu that meanders all over the world: Jamaica, China, Vietnam and even Louisiana. Get the gumbo. (8813 Edgewater Dr SW; 253-473-4444 or, $-$$).


About 4 miles from the park, find a grouping of more than a dozen Korean restaurants, not far from the intersection of South Tacoma Way and Steilacoom Boulevard.

Try your hand at grill-your-own Korean barbecue at these tabletop stops: Gangnam BBQ has the most spacious tables and attractive dining room (9104 South Tacoma Way; 253-581-1200 or, $$-$$$); O-bok is the most traditional (8600 South Tacoma Way; 253-582-6713, $$-$$$); and Cham Garden is actually an all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue buffet (10518 South Tacoma Way; 253-584-2287, $$).

Find one-stop Korean dining in the food court at the Paldo World grocery store. In addition to traditional Korean, you’ll find Chinese and Japanese restaurants in the food court. At the front of the store, find a French-Korean bakery called Boulangerie (9701 South Tacoma Way; 253-581-7800, $-$$$). Also at the mall are two outstanding lunch and dinner destinations. Tacoma Szechuan is the region’s finest Chinese restaurant, with a menu filled with fire and garlic, and hot pot, too (9601 South Tacoma Way; 253-581-0102 or, $-$$$). Next door, Cho Dang Tofu specializes in the Korean soft tofu soup soon dubu (9701 South Tacoma Way; 253-682-1968 , $-$$).

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