Karen Peterson

Karen Peterson: Stop in at the Diner; help solve a mystery

Same diner, new digs.

It sounds like something restaurant critic Sue Kidd would write on her TNT Diner blog, but this time the new digs are for the Diner itself.

Last week, we moved TNT Diner off its separate blog platform online and planted it directly on The News Tribune website. If you read online, your new bookmark is thenewstribune.com/tntdiner. (You also can follow along on facebook.com/tntdiner or @tntdiner on Twitter.)

As with many relocations, we’ve done a little remodeling on the TNT Diner page, including a new logo and cleaner design.

Otherwise, not much changes, including the content itself.

“I’ll still write in the same tone as I always have on the blog,” Kidd said. Her tone is conversational, but admittedly spicy. “I’ll still provide analysis of emerging dining trends. I’ll still tell you whether that new hot spot is worth your time and money.”

Kidd covers everything that moves on the Pierce County restaurant scene with a breaking-news sense of urgency. Most important, she’s the only professional critic still writing restaurant reviews in the South Sound.

Customer comments and ratings are easy to come by, particularly online. They’re also notoriously undependable. Some ratings come from real customers, but unscrupulous restaurants also can plant positive ratings.

Professional critics visit an establishment numerous times before writing a review. They know food. They rate its quality, the atmosphere and the service. They dine anonymously so they don’t get special treatment.

Kidd has been doing that for six years.

The new Web page links to a searchable archive of all those reviews. You want to know what restaurant operated at the corner of 15th and Pacific in 2008? No problem, that’s in the archive. (Answer: Sea Grill)

TNT Diner has become a reader favorite. More than 80 percent of its readers live in our local market, a higher percentage than any of our other content.

We’re not surprised. Kidd focuses on local businesses.

“We treat the dining beat as we would the city hall beat or the cops beat,” she said. “Any reporter in any part of the country can write about Applebee’s (or any generic chain restaurant), but only Sue Kidd can and will tell you what’s happening in Lakewood’s Korean dining district or the new restaurants on Sixth Avenue.

“Readers appreciate the encyclopedic knowledge beat reporters have in this newsroom, and I’m no different than any other beat reporter here.”

Many of the dining stories we post online also appear in print in our Friday GO section. TNT Diner’s online followers also get restaurant news as it happens, day and night, all week long.

So why did we move the content?

First, it allows us to play TNT Diner stories more prominently on our tablet and smartphone sites. Traffic from those devices is growing by thousands every month.

Second, Kidd can post her stories once, rather than filing to the website and separately to the blog. The change will save her about an hour a week.

“I plan to spend that hour writing more go-and-do items for the Wednesday food section and doing more short website posts about food events,” Kidd said.

Not only is she running a great Diner, but now you get extra helpings.


Dean Ehrenheim sent me a picture last week of a News Tribune pin awarded long ago to his father, Robert.

“My father was a TNT delivery boy in the early 40s, and he passed away last year,” Ehrenheim wrote. “I have come across this pin and wonder if you or someone from the TNT can date it for me.” He also wonders what his father may have done to win the award.

“He delivered at a very young age, and that income and discipline set the trajectory of his life,” Dean wrote. His father built the house where the family raised four boys.

We’ve passed the picture around the newspaper managers. No one here remembers the pins. Now, we’re sharing it with readers and hoping you can help us.

If you received one of these pins or know more about them, please contact me at the phone number or email address below. I’ll share the information with Dean.