Well, the wait is over. Four restaurants have opened in neighborhoods from Parkland to Tacoma. Find casual Hawaiian fare (loco moco plate, anyone?); wood-tinged barbecued meats; ice cream in fanciful flavors and gourmet hot dogs paired with the region's best craft beer list. Here are details of each opening:
Da Tiki Hut: This casual Hawaiian eatery opened last week in the Sixth Avenue restaurant district. It's one of just a few places around the South Sound to find a real-deal loco moco plate. What's that? A classic Hawaiian plate lunch of a fried hamburger patty slathered in gravy, topped with a fried egg and served with white rice (read: it's not diet food). The Hawaiian food market is limited around the South Sound to South Hill's Aloha Hawaiian Grill, Federal Way's Pac Island Grill and Lakewood's Polynesian Grill. It's convenient to find one more place serving kalua pork, that's for sure. At Da Tiki Hut, find the loco moco for $6.50 and the musubi at $2. Kalua pork will set you back $6.50-$8.50. Find Da Tiki Hut at 4427 Sixth Ave. (where Taco Time used to be). Find the restaurant's Facebook page here.
Warthog BBQ Pit: The longtime Fife barbecue restaurant Warthog BBQ Pit finally has sprouted its sibling restaurant in Parkland, on Pacific Avenue near Pacific Lutheran University. It's in a renovated location that was the former home of the Wagon Wheel. Owner Gary Kurashima, a Tacoma native, opened his Parkland restaurant in late June. The original Fife restaurant opened in 1999. Like its sibling restaurant in Fife, the Parkland outpost is outfitted with wood-wrapped walls, an order-at-the-counter protocol and a help-yourself barbecue sauce bar. Find the usual smoked meat suspects on the Parkland menu, including ribs, chicken and brisket. Also find prime rib every Friday and Saturday. Here's something neat. The Parkland restaurant serves weekend breakfast. Find the new Warthog at 11811 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; 253-426-1980 or warthogbbq.com.
Ice Cream Social: Self-taught dessert chef Layla Isaac has opened her ice cream café, Ice Cream Social, in Tacoma's Sixth Avenue neighborhood. Response to the opening has been overwhelming and the scoop shop has run out of ice cream at least once in its opening weeks. Isaac continues to sell ice cream at farmers markets and is still making her ice cream at her commercial space in the old Post Office building in downtown Tacoma. Find the ice cream shop at 2914 Sixth Ave., Tacoma; facebook.com/icecreamsocialcart or icecreamsocialtacoma.com
The Red Hot: Two weeks ago, the popular craft beer tavern and hot dog joint moved a door down to its new, roomier space. The restaurant is known for its playful hot dog menu (try the Tacoma Boys BLT, the Coney or Chicago). For its opening, the tavern partnered with Gig Harbor brewery 7 Seas to make a special brew, a Sessions IPA. Find more information at the tavern's Facebook page. Find the Red Hot (for diners 21 and older only) at 2914 Sixth Ave., Tacoma; 253-779-0229 or redhottacoma.com.