The Art House Cafe has announced it will officially open Saturday April 6. The cafe and bakery will open in the Stadium neighborhood, which most recently saw the introduction of another great dining find - the retro-themed burger restaurant Shake Shake Shake, which opened March 13. Read more about that restaurant here.
The Art House is the project of Lucy and John Armstrong, who opened the Stadium neighborhood’s Open Arts Studio in 1996. The Art House Cafe will be an extension of the neighboring art school that covers broad territory – from performing to visual arts, with classes for children, teens and adults. Cooking at The Art House will be Dustin Joseph, who will co-own the restaurant. If Joseph's name sounds familiar, that could be because he was executive chef at University Place's Chambers Bay Grill, a job he began in 2009 and left in February. While there, he developed a reputation and following for his Northwest-spun style of cooking. I like to call his food French in foundation, Northwest by design.
The 48-seat cafe and bakery will serve meals from morning through evening with an on-site bakery producing breads and pastries for take-away purchase. Among the bakery items for sale will be baguettes, buns, ciabatta, challah, muffins and herbed breads.
The restaurant will serve all three meals. An early draft of the breakfast menu sounded more polished than anything that’s offered in that immediate neighborhood. Joseph described a menu with house-made English muffins as a base for eggs Benedict with Carlton Farms ham and a citrus hollandaise. The house baked brioche will be used for the French toast, served with applewood smoked bacon. Joseph also planned to serve pumpkin pancakes with vanilla bean butter. This could become a neighborhood favorite - fried eggs over sautéed mushrooms with fingerling potatoes roasted in duck fat. Stumptown Coffee will be served.
At lunch, expect a menu of house-made soups and salads - like roasted beets with a gorgonzola vinaigrette and an iceberg wedge with candied applewood bacon, crisp leeks, dried blue cheese and a tomato vinaigrette. Served at lunch and dinner will be pizza. Joseph described his pizza as thin and crispy - Neapolitan in spirit. The pizza menu I saw leaned big on flavor with combinations like roasted butternut squash with chicken and caramelized onions topped with sage and blue cheese. The menu also listed sandwiches, such as cold smoked salmon with a caper tapenade and arugula on grilled herb bread; a brioche croque Madame and a grilled turkey with brie and apples. Joseph said to expect shared appetizers and other specials at dinner.
The restaurant won't take reservations - except for the nine-seat dining counter where classes and exclusive events also will be held. Kids and families are welcome. Expect a date-night atmosphere with live music on weekends.
Prices will be mid-level and up, with breakfast entrees starting at $9 and the lunch and dinner entrees priced around $9-$20. The restaurant will have a full bar serving craft cocktails and a wine menu with a by-the-glass selection.
Art House CafeWhere: 111 N. Tacoma Ave., TacomaOpening: Saturday, April 6