Point Ruston is just down the hill from us. Although we have a view of the water, we can't see anything of Point Ruston other than a crane. This was the second time I had gone to Point Ruston and lunched at Two Town , a coffee shop, pub, and Café. The first was with friend, Jim Harris and the second time was to take Peg out to lunch.
I'm guessing that the name Two Town refers to the cities of Tacoma and Ruston. I love the logo with the ore cart wheel, which ties in with the history of Ruston.
Two Town is a coffee shop with sandwiches and salads. While having lunch we ran into friends Cassandra and Will Rabena. Cassandra now works for Goodwill Industries, but still has the same wine party business as when I first met her. Will is in communications and owns Integrated Network Consultants. He works with network design billing audits where he finds the most cost effective networks for businesses.
The first thing I noticed about Two Town when I walked in is that the stools and chairs have small, flat wooden seats. I don't like bleachers and benches, and I especially don't want to sit on a mini-bench. There are two tables that have comfortable upholstered chairs. With Peg in tow I headed to the only open table with comfortable chairs. We might have stayed if the good chairs were not available, but it wouldn't have been for long.
Two Town opens at six during the week and seven on the weekends. They mostly have scones and muffins to eat with your morning coffee. They also had a small lemon poppy seed loaf as well. With a little loaf of lemon poppy seed and a comfortable chair I would find this a nice place to sit and think. The wait staff is friendly and helpful.
When I had eaten here with Jim I had the tater tots to snack on. They tasted like "tater tots." The special sauce was lost on me. This time around I ordered a side of their French fries to share.
The fries were piled high. Dark brown and slightly greasy . . . they were excellent. Although a slightly thicker cut, they reminded me of the fries at Pick-Quick in Fife. Pick-Quick's fries have lots more salt, which means I like them more, but the Two Town fries were healthier and very tasty. Both Peg and I enjoyed them. We targeted the slightly over-cooked ones. I ordered the fries to sample, but by the time we left, there were less than a dozen on the plate. They went really well with Heinz Ketchup. Again . . . the special sauce? Not so special.
Peg ordered a salad that had fried garbanzo beans and goat cheese - Apple Bacon Fried Garbanzo Bean Salad. These waxy beans have never been a favorite of mine. I can choke them down in Italian soups, and I do love hummus, but the thought of garbanzo beans on a salad held no appeal for me. Luckily, Peg asked about the beans. Our waitress explained that they were fried and then had honey poured on them. Peggy really like them. I tried one . . . and then another. They were chewy rather than crunchy with a taste kind of like a candied pecans.
Marinated red bell peppers were also on the salad. The dressing was poppy seed. I would order this salad to share. My side salad Caesar was mundane. It cost a buck and a half more that the regular side salad. The standard side salad with poppy seed dressing might work for me next time . . . or as I said a share of the garbanzo beans!
I had the prime rib dip, which like most things at Two Town was a little bit different. It was served on slices of grilled toast rather than a French or Hoagy roll. Although grilled it didn't have the oily feel when held. This is good and bad, of course. I like the taste of butter. The Toad Special at the long-closed Spout 'N Toad on Center street was a grilled cheese and roast beef sandwich with fresh tomato sliced. Here the prime rib sandwich had slightly caramelized onions and sliced mushrooms. A mashup of the two would make an excellent sandwich.
The dip part of the prime rib dip was also different. Actually, I've had this sandwich twice now and the dip was different each time. The first time the dip was a really thick gravy of sliced mushrooms and caramelized onions. It was so thick that I had to scrape the sandwich across surface rather than dipping into it. This time the dip was mostly brown gravy with slices of mushrooms on the bottom and pieces of beef and onion that fall from the sandwich. Over all, the dip tastes like mom's instant brown gravy at Thanksgiving. Au jus would work better I think.
As we started to leave we stopped by Cassandra and Will's table. They were dining with friends. The friends seemed to be our kind of people.
The Two Town has outside seating in the good weather. On the exterior deck there is a partial view of Puget Sound and Vashon Island. It's a little strange dining along Ruston Way and not enjoying the view. The coffee shop faces south; the view is north. There are a number of flat screen TVs in the establishment. The owners might want to consider placing an all-weather video camera on one of the buildings that look out over the water to give a faux picture window to the customers inside. While we were there the, charter boat, My Girl anchored off shore. The My Girl is available for parties and excursions throughout the Puget Sound.
One of the main reasons we want to see Point Ruston do well is feature films. The development will include movie theaters (11-screen Century Theater). Currently inside Tacoma there are no first-run theaters. Although the Grand Cinema does have first run films, they are not main-stream Hollywood productions. The Blue Mouse Theatre gets second run films. Other than those two theaters you have to leave the city of Tacoma to enjoy the latest movies.
Since we live in the northend/westend and fairly close to the Narrows Bridge, we usually just hop across the water to Gig Harbor. When Point Ruston opens their new theaters we'll probably be buying tickets a couple of times a week. Point Ruston is less than half a mile away. Closer as the bald eagle flies.
The Copperline Apartments and Condominiums have private parking and fantastic views, but not all the apartments have the view. Those that do take advantage with glass railings. We had glass railings installed years ago. They are easy to keep up (maybe once a year we have them washed). On misty mornings, the moisture on the glass evaporates with the sun. The same for frosted railings in the winter.
For the apartments and condos without a view, they still have the amenities: just minutes to downtown Tacoma, shops, movies and restaurants just steps away from your front door. Point Ruston is within walking and jogging distance of Pt. Defiance Park, the Lobster Shop, Shenanigans, the ferry to Vashon, and much more.
I'm not sure of what else is on the planning stages for Point Ruston, but right now the main street area faces a nice green belt directly south and the town of Ruston to the west. I think there's going to be park-like features and underground parking or at least covered ground level parking. As it is now, parking is sometimes at a premium. With construction going on parking spaces are limited. Both times I gone to Point Ruston I've found parking close to Two Town, but the first time I went we took the last remaining slot.
I once thought that our lovely linear park along the waterfront was a strange idea and now it is a constant joy for so many people, so I think Point Ruston is going to really blossom as a gathering place, a shopping place, and a destination (even if the travel is only three or four minutes).
Point Ruston is built on the site of The Tacoma Smelter, which began melting metal ores in 1889. The smelter extracted copper, lead, and arsenic, which was shipped around the world from docks built along Puget Sound. A rail line also connected with the railroads in Tacoma. The smelter was known for its 562 foot smokestack. Because of environmental issues the smelter was closed in 1986 and then demolished in 1993. Ruston was officially incorporated in 1906. Ruston was named in honor of the industrialist who established the smelter. Point Ruston is named after the city of Ruston.
Since 1993, the smelter site and the surrounding areas have gone through a transformation. Some toxic materials were hauled away and some were safer to bury on the site itself. Peg and I produced a documentary about the smelter and the demolition of the smoke stack as well as videos about the clean up of nearby Ruston and Tacoma yards.
At Point Ruston they have honored the memories of those who worked at the smelter and the good it did for the Tacoma area. Down the hall from Two Town you'll find wall photos, and display cases featuring items from the bygone era. They have a plunger type detonator similar to the one used at the demolition in 1993. Constantly playing is a slide show of the history, which includes video from the stack destruction. If the slide show is not playing, you can activate it by depressing the plunger.
In 1992/93 we scouted out the best media locations for the demolition and traded video footage of the crowds and various views of the stack coming down with the local television stations. We also gathered personal clips from residents in the area. Our documentary contained about two dozens different shots of the smoke stack being destroyed.
Part of our video is included in the presentation in the museum. Our documentary also contained a music video, which we placed on YouTube.
We have a history shared with Point Ruston, so we want it to be successful. We expect to enjoy it many times. Perhaps, just over a cup of coffee and lemon poppy seed cake.