TNT Diner

Pacific Southern opens in Tacoma

Secret to delectable chicken and waffle is in the 22 minutes it takes to make

Robert "Chef Bob" Walpole, of Pacific Southern in Tacoma, said it takes 22 minutes to prepare his signature dish from start to finish. Walpole mixes New York flair with down-home country flavors in his restaurant on Pine Street.
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Robert "Chef Bob" Walpole, of Pacific Southern in Tacoma, said it takes 22 minutes to prepare his signature dish from start to finish. Walpole mixes New York flair with down-home country flavors in his restaurant on Pine Street.

Tacoma’s Pacific Southern bills itself as “Southern meets Northwest fresh.”

After an anonymous first-bite visit, I want to call Pacific Southern, which opened Sept. 16, a little bit Northwest, a little bit Southern and a whole lot of comfort food.

It’s probably more accurate to say the menu is a reflection of the cooking resume of executive chef and general manager Robert “Chef Bob” Walpole. Restaurant-watchers might recognize his name from when he was one of the earlier chefs of Crockett’s Public House in downtown Puyallup.

Walpole is originally from New Jersey, but has a Southern cooking streak handed down from his mother, who grew up in Alabama, and has family in Kentucky. He attended the Culinary Institute of America.

The menu reflects broad territory. From the Southern category, there’s okra, hush puppies and gumbo on the appetizer menus. Po’boys, fried catfish, fried chicken, pulled pork sandwiches, chicken pot biscuit, shrimp and grits, and jambalaya also pepper the lunch or dinner menus. Yet, there’s also a reuben sandwich, beef short ribs, burgers, vegetable lasagna, kale salad and pecan-crusted trout.

Breakfast gets a nod to the South with shrimp and grits and chicken and waffles, but the rest is pure breakfast standards of chicken fried steak, corned beef hash, biscuits and gravy, cinnamon roll French toast, omelettes and hot cakes.

Prices are modest, with breakfast at $6.99-$11.99; lunch at $8.99-$12.99 and dinner at $9.99-$19.99. Find a full bar with a tap list featuring South Sound brewers.

Think of this as a neighborhood joint, one where breakfast is served daily until 3 p.m. and Hawks specials pepper the weekend menu.

The dining room was fluffed and buffed and given a more modern look, with wood floors and a clean paint job. As Walpole said, “It’s not frightening to go into anymore.”

The new owners took over in the spring and spent six months changing the interior and planning the new menu. The restaurant spent its former life as the Pine Street Landing, a place probably better known for its lounge than its food. He added, “We (remodeled) it without closing the restaurant. We were up for hours and hours working, and then we would open the doors in the morning. We wanted to do the remodel without making people mad about the transition.”

Speaking of Southern cuisine, the Proctor neighborhood restaurant Soul is bringing its unusual combination of Southern and Latin American food to the Tacoma Community College neighborhood. The restaurant intends to open an outpost where I Love Bento previously operated, across from the college.

Sue Kidd: 253-597-8270

sue.kidd@thenewstribune.com

@tntdiner

PACIFIC SOUTHERN

Location: 3832 S. Pine St., Tacoma.

Contact: 253-474-9898 or pacsouthtacoma.com.

Hours: Serving breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner daily. Seahawks events on game days.

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