Plenty has been written this summer about “what’s coming next” for the Proctor neighborhood food scene.
Seattle’s Chow Foods is planning a Tacoma outpost of that restaurant group’s wildly popular neighborhood cafes. It will open just beyond the edge of the Proctor neighborhood.
Seattle’s Top Pot Doughnuts announced last month that it will open in the Proctor Station development, which is under construction.
And now there’s beer news in Proctor. That’d be premium beer, not your run-of-the-mill corner bar stuff.
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Peaks and Pints will have a focus on Northwest craft beer, and promises excellent tavern food. And unlike those Seattle restaurants branching into the “undiscovered” waters of Tacoma, this “coming next to Proctor” beer story is homegrown in the South Sound and is the kind of story I prefer to tell.
Ron Swarner, the former longtime publisher and columnist of the Weekly Volcano (his brother Ken is now in charge) is teaming up with tavern owners Robby and Justin Peterson to open the combination beer store, tavern and eatery.
The idea for Peaks and Pints was born from a friend’s suggestion, but the timing wasn’t right for that friend to enter the project. Swarner made a list of three potential partners. He never made it to choices two or three because the Peterson brothers said yes.
They’re tavern royalty in Tacoma, the offspring of one of the founders of The Swiss and co-owners of two taverns and a food truck — The Valley in the Tacoma Dome neighborhood, the Peterson Bros./Eleven Eleven in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood and The Galley food truck in Gig Harbor, which serves outside 7 Seas Brewery.
Swarner calls them the McMenamin brothers of Tacoma.
“They convert desolate buildings into cool restaurants. Two guys I have known for many years, whom are craftsman, artists, restaurateurs, hard workers, community conscience, pro-Tacoma as they come. Justin and Robby grew up in the tavern business, watching their father, Bob Hill, help build The Swiss into the Tacoma icon it is today. Our brainstorm sessions have been a thrill. Justin paces like a maniac, so Robby and I have to follow him around to add our two cents. We have a thousand ideas,” said Swarner by email.
Swarner has only got minimal details worked out, and the opening won’t be until at least December, but he described “a strong focus on local and regional craft beers and ciders, as well as … a selection of international craft brews. We’ll pour from taps and offer hundreds of beers in coolers. It’s a 21-and-older craft beer and cider establishment without sidewalk service, but windows that open to Proctor.”
Swarner intends his shop to be a go-to resource for craft beverage enthusiasts in a neighborhood that will welcome that sort of expertise. Swarner is an avid follower of the local craft beer scene and wrote a widely followed (this reporter included) beer column for his family’s newspaper. Although he no longer writes that column, he continues to chronicle beer happenings on his Facebook page.
The storefront is large — 3,600 square feet — and Swarner still is figuring out the details of how to configure the space, which formerly held a bike store, a movie house and a five-and-dime. This much is known: “It will feel as if you’re in a mountain lodge, complete with an atrium and fireplace,” said Swarner.
Deciding on opening in Proctor was easy for Swarner. He lives there.
“I will have the pleasure of walking every day to work through my neighborhood of Proctor, past the business’ insurance agent, past the business’ bank, past my daughter’s middle school,” he wrote.