TNT Diner

The Roadrunner Bourbon and Burger House now open in South Hill

The Roadrunner, a $15 burger from The Roadrunner Bourbon and Burger House in South Hill.
The Roadrunner, a $15 burger from The Roadrunner Bourbon and Burger House in South Hill. skidd@thenewstribune.com

A steakhouse and burger restaurant with high-end aspirations opened last week in South Hill. The Roadrunner Bourbon and Burger House moved into the low-slung brick facade strip mall also housing the New Beginnings Bridal Studio and Trellis Cafe, just off Meridian Avenue on 120th Street East.

The restaurant is registered to Ramesh Kumar, who owns nearby Karma Indian Cuisine and Lounge and downtown Puyallup’s Fiesta Taqueria and Tequila Bar.

Multiple messages left over several weeks with the restaurant’s representatives went unanswered.

Here’s a first-bite look at the restaurant, its menu and concept. It’s this newspaper’s policy to withhold criticism of food and service during a restaurant’s first month, which is why this report focuses on descriptions of those offerings, as well as analysis of the concept.

The concept: Is this a pizza joint? A burger restaurant? A high-end steakhouse? A bar? Well, it’s aiming to be all of the above. Consider this one of those far-reaching, and occasionally confusing, concepts.

The decor: The restaurant has been vastly made over and carries a sophisticated air in contrast to its former life as the sushi-seafood buffet, Oyama.

A bit of sparkle is a holdover from Oyama. The same light fixtures shine from the ceiling. Pillars are adorned with glistening mosaic tiles. Those neon lights that lit up Oyama’s old dining room are gone, however.

Layers of wood climb newly built partition walls, with two rows of cushioned banquette seating and another two rows of roomy booths in the main dining room.

Cloth napkins and tablecloths adorn tables. A bar featuring bourbon is tucked behind tall walls in the back of the restaurant.

The bourbon: A server gave us a guess of 100 bourbons on the bar’s shelves, but couldn’t say for sure. A list was not available.

Wine list: Short one-page list, including five whites by the glass ($6-$10.50); seven reds ($7-$12.75) and one sparkling ($7.50). By-the-bottle selections include six whites ($20-$44); 12 reds ($24-$130) and three sparkling ($28-$140). Washington wines are heavily favored.

The food concept: A collection of burgers, made with ground prime beef; a few pizzas; high-end steaks listed as prime (a coveted beef designation from the United States Department of Agriculture); and a happy hour menu, 4-6 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. Here’s a sampling:

Starters: Calamari, $9; Parmesan garlic bread sticks, $6; filet medallions, $20; grilled shrimp cocktail, $10; a block of fries, $6.

Salads: Wedge, $13; prime steak salad, $19; grilled chicken Caesar, $15.

Pizza: Three specialty pies, $13-$15, or build-your-own, $15.

Burgers: Five burgers, $13-$18, made with one-third-pound prime ground beef patties. Pick a side from a list that includes shoestring fries, onion rings, roasted potatoes, seasonal vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes.

Lunch: Four items, flatbread, $9; burger sliders, $12; small steak salad, $13; soup and salad, $9.

Kids: Yes, kids are allowed in the primary dining room. The children’s menu includes chicken strips, pizza or sliders, $8 each.

Entrees: Three sizes/cuts of prime steaks, $35-$70; grilled chicken, $21; grilled shrimp, $24.

The steak pricing: While the menu lists prime steaks, among the highest-quality steaks available for purchase, I balked at the prices: $70 for a 16-ounce prime ribeye; $60 for a 14-ounce prime New York strip and $35 for a prime 10-ounce flank steak (all come with two sides and garlic toast). Those prices will be a tough sell for a suburban strip mall restaurant that comes with a view of a parking lot and another shopping center.

For comparison’s sake, Northeast Tacoma’s Cliff House, a restaurant with a swanky atmosphere and stunning views, charges $44 for its 14-ounce prime ribeye with two accompaniments.

Hours: Open daily for lunch and dinner.

Live music: Finally, another live music venue in Puyallup. Opening weekend featured Tacoma musician Raymond Hayden.

The Roadrunner Bourbon and Burger House

Where: 10312 120th St. E., Puyallup.

Info: 253-446-7016; facebook.com/PuyallupRoadrunner.

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