February is shaping up to be the month of the burger for South Sound diners. Two retro-style burger restaurants plan February openings - DeLong's Deluxe in Lakewood and Shake Shake Shake in the Stadium neighborhood. Additionally, here's good news for Pick-Quick fans: The Fife burger restaurant reopens Friday from its annual two-month winter hiatus. Also at the end of this blog post, I have an update about Jubilee - a Lincoln neighborhood burger restaurant that closed in November and has been rumored as reopening. I've also got an update for diners on the Gourmet Burger Shop - the restaurant's move to downtown Gig Harbor has been delayed to March. Read on.
Shake Shake ShakeWhere: 124 N. Tacoma Ave. (corner of North Tacoma Avenue and North Second Streets, where the Stadium Corner mini mart once operated)Opening: Probably end of February, depending on construction and permitsThe food: Old-fashioned roadside burgers. They’ll serve hot dogs, too. Fries and shakes round out the menu
The opening is now just weeks - not months - away for Shake Shake Shake - a retro-themed burger restaurant opening in the Stadium neighborhood. Restaurant owners had projected a late 2012 opening, but construction and permitting delays have pushed the opening into at least late February. Shake Shake Shake is the project of business partners and local artists Steve Naccarato and Robert Stocker. Assisting with the restaurant is Steve’s brother, Gordon Naccarato - chef-owner of Pacific Grill in downtown Tacoma. The burger restaurant is something the Naccarato brothers have discussed opening for years.
A glance inside Shake Shake Shake reveals what happens when two artists design a restaurant. The decor is sharp, the colors striking - muted blues against electric orange. An oversized sign - made by Stocker - declaring “Eat” anchors the dining room. The spiffy retro dining chairs are re-purposed from the old Elks Club bowling alley.
There’s no drive-thru at Shake Shake Shake. It’s a walk-up neighborhood restaurant with a 40-seat dining room that includes an eat-in dining counter. The space formerly housed a mini market. Across the street is a new bakery and cafe called the Art House Cafe, which also plans a February opening (I’ll have a story this week about the chef and menu).
While Naccarato and Stocker have the decor well handled - the restaurant has looked physically ready to open for weeks - it’s the building’s infrastructure that’s causing the delays. The electrical and plumbing in the old building needed more updating than expected - requiring more time and permitting. Locals have been reporting for weeks that the restaurant is open for touring and the restaurant has been actively selling gift certificates.
While construction continues, the menu details are being finalized. I asked Gordon Naccarato recently about the food at Shake Shake Shake (which he’s nicknamed Shake3). Here’s what he wrote in describing the menu, “We all have a favorite burger that we grew up with that becomes your model against which all burgers get compared. We want to be your favorite neighborhood burger. In California it would be In & Out, in Seattle—Dick’s—here in Tacoma, Frisko Freeze or Pick-Quick. This won’t be a 'chef-y' burger. This will be a straightforward, roadside diner style burger. Inexpensive but with better products like hormone-free local Angus beef from the Tri-Cities. And house-made secret sauce. Very simple menu, 3-4 different burgers, a hot dog or two, fries and great shakes with seasonal local fruit like Puyallup berries, and so on. One will be the ‘Tiger Shake’ -since Stadium High School is just one block away – blended with Almond Roca, salted caramel and chocolate tiger ‘stripes’.”
DeLong’s DeluxeWhere: 8901 Bridgeport Way S.W., LakewoodContact: Facebook and a website; pictures of the construction; www.delongsdeluxe.comOpening: February 2013
Look to a February opening for DeLong’s Deluxe, a burger restaurant at the intersection of Bridgeport Way and Steilacoom Boulevard Southwest in Lakewood. The restaurant is a first food business for Milton retirees Tim and Marie DeLong.
Marie DeLong described a restaurant that would be walk-up only - there will be no dine-in seating. She said they intend to create a park-like setting surrounding the building. Sound a little like Pick-Quick in Fife? It’s a similar styled burger restaurant - order at a window and find your own seat in a grass courtyard that will surround DeLong’s Deluxe. Speaking of Pick-Quick, here’s a neat connection: The DeLongs are neighbors of Greg Burgi, son of Joe Burgi, who bought Pick-Quick in the 1980s and still owns the Fife drive-in (tip: The Fife Pick-Quick will reopen later this week after its two-month winter hiatus, read more below).
Pick-Quick was on Marie DeLong’s burger radar long before she moved near Greg Burgi. “My grandmother’s house was kitty corner from Pick-Quick. We’d go over there when visiting my grandma as little kids," she recalled.
This is a second career for both - Marie is retired from the Washington State History Museum. Husband Tim retired last year from a 25-year job with Tacoma’s Public Works department.
Marie DeLong described a “down to the basics” menu. Quarter-pound patties will be made from ground chuck - “fresh, never frozen,” as DeLong described. Cheese will be Tillamook. They make their own burger sauce, which Marie described as mayo-based. As for fries - sorry, fresh-cut fans, Delong’s Deluxe will serve frozen. The menu lists drive-in classics - a dozen burgers, hot dogs, onion rings and shakes. Check the menu below.
Gourmet Burger ShopCurrent location: 11717 State Route 302 N.W, Gig Harbor, 253-858-5205, Facebook Moving in March to: 4120 Harborview Drive, Gig Harbor
The Gourmet Burger Shop’s planned move in February has been delayed to March, due to unforeseen issues at the new building on Harborview Drive - the former home of Le Bistro. Travis Hightower’s burger restaurant right now operates in an out-of-the-way location near the Purdy Spit. Hightower serves gourmet burgers with addicting garlic-herb shoestring fries, thin-sliced beet chips and house-made aioli sauces. The new restaurant will seat 25, more than double what his current location can hold. Here's a review of the burgers from June 2011 and here's a story about the move, with additional information.
Pick-Quick reopens Friday
For more than 60 years, Pick-Quick has been serving burgers and fries in a park-like setting at its Fife burger stand. Every winter, the restaurant closes for a winter hiatus during December and January,reopening every year Feb. 1
. The restaurant is known for its fresh-cut fries, fresh-beef patties and cash-only payment system.
Note: The restaurant expanded to an Auburn location that does not close for the winter hiatus and also accepts credit cards. More information about both locations here.
And what about Jubilee Burgers?
There's no solid news about the future of the burger restaurant Jubilee, a Lincoln neighborhood favorite that closed in November, but was rumored to be reopening. Representatives from nearby Hong Kong Supermarket confirmed they purchased the property and are looking for a tenant. One representative from the market said he was contacted by a community member interested in reopening Jubilee, but he has heard nothing back. If I hear anything about a reopening, I’ll be sure to let you know.