The Best Breakfast Places in Tacoma


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The Best Breakfast Places in Tacoma - Review by Don and Peg Doman - 2011

The Best Breakfast Places in Tacoma Review, tacoma restaurants, breakfast restaurants tacoma, lobster shop, the spar, shenanigans, dirty oscar annex, alfreds, marcia's silver spoon, harvester, knapps, old milwaukee, The Best Breakfast Places in Tacoma Review wa washington.


Perfect hashbrowns.I haven't eaten at every Tacoma restaurant for breakfast. Having favorites tends to reduce the choices when it comes time to go out for a great breakfast.

Great restaurants aren't perfect, they still need a little help from their guests to provide the best meals. I always say, "I like my hasbrowns burnt, burnt, burnt. With an onion cut up in them." I make a motion with both hands to show cutting up an onion. This seems to help. Peg orders hashbrowns the same way. When we are with friends, they sometimes echo our order for hashbrowns, "What she said!" I don't really expect to be served burnt hashbrowns, but by going overboard and making it clear what I am after I quite often am served hashbrows that are not pasty white or simple browned on either side. This doesn't work all the time. Some waitresses and cooks don't seem to care. In those cases I vote with my feet. If you are a regular at a great breakfast restaurant, they should remember who you are and how you like your food cooked. Years ago I went into a restaurant in Centralia. A few minutes later, while I was sitting at a booth, the cook came out and told me, "I put the hashbrowns on when I saw you walk in." Now, that's the kind of restaurants I love.

Hashbrowns mean shredded potatoes, not cubed potatoes, not patties, not tots. Hashbrowns should be simple and done right.

Pork is essential to breakfast. Bacon should be served thick and crispy, although I eat bacon in almost any condition. Sausage should not be over-cooked.

Gravy should not taste like paste or look like plastic. The best starts with flour in bacon fat. Add salt and pepper and a little garlic powder . . . and that's pretty much all you need to do besides stirring it and adding milk. Good milk gravy is great over chicken fried steak, buttered toast, and especially good biscuits.

Perfect biscuits.I love good biscuits, so the first time I order biscuits from a restuarant I'll try their biscuits. The second time around, I'll usually order sourdough toast. No breakfast place I know of serves good biscuits. Well, that's not exactly true. The best biscuits in town are served by Popeye's, McDonald's, and KFC, but they don't add bacon and eggs and gravy.

Great biscuits are made from scratch with butter or lard. My wife makes great biscuits as do our two boys. Our daughter makes great ragmuffins, which begin with biscuit dough. Our friends Donn and Debbie Irwin make excellent sage biscuits, but only on special occasions. But, really . . . great biscuits make any occasion special.

Even though my wife makes great biscuits, we differ a little bit on our preferences. She likes them smaller and browner. When cutting out the biscuits I search for the largest glass I can find. I like my biscuits with butter and jam. Leftover biscuits (a rare occasion) I prefer buttered when hot and then eaten at room temperature rather than warming them up.

Quality, not quantity . . . always.

For the restaurants below I've included links if available. Even in 2011 some of these places don't have a website . . . not even a Facebook page. I don't charge that much for a small website and it would bring them into the real world, but oh, well.


Our Favorites

  • The Harvester - The Legend Chicken Fried Steak and the Swedish Pancakes are our favorites. They listen most times for requests of burnt hashbrowns. Their bacon is excellent and so are the sausage links.

  • Knapp's - Consistantly good, although I hate their menu with the calories listed. Lunch and dinner are bland, but breakfast is good. Demand good hashbrowns and you'll get them.

  • Old Milwaukee - Pat and Chad try their best to give the customers what they want. I always order the same: SOS with sour dough toast and sausage patty. Tastes perfect each time. The gravy is probably the best in the city. Try the huckleberry pancakes during the season.

  • The Pine Cone - Good food and they generally take orders well.

  • The Spar Tavern - The food is not always the same, but still . . . great bacon and sausage links. They have these excellent sausage links and often over-cook them. For shame! Biscuits and gravy with sourdough toast instead of biscuits are recommended. All their pancakes are excellent. They serve a large glass of juice, which they refill. And, they are happy to combine: cranberry and orange is our favorite combination.


    Honorary Mention

  • Denny's - I've never had a bad breakfast at Denny's AND they do serve grits. The problem with homemade grits is that someone has to clean up the pan and grits tend to stick hard and fast if you set the pan down for any length of time. Peg complains loudly if I cook grits and don't clean up my own mess, therefore I usually eat grits elsewhere. I used to enjoy the grits at Alfred's before they first went upscale and then downhill.

  • Shari's on North Pearl - You have to admire a place that deep fried my hashbrowns when I asked for them to be "burnt, burnt, burnt." (CLOSED)


    Sunday Brunch
    Both places serve an excellent Sunday brunch.

  • The Lobershop (Ruston Way) - This place offers more fish than Shenanigan's.

  • CI Shenanigans - Shenanigans has different ethnic foods to accompany breakfast. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.


    On Our List to Try

  • Berry Land Cafe in Sumner - This might be worth a trip out the Puyallup Valley.

  • Leila's Deli - Lu has been offering great sandwiches and salad bars . . . and desserts. Breakfast should be good, also.

  • The Hub - I love The Hub for lunch and evening entertainment. Breakfast should be tasty.

  • Parkway Tavern - I love their salmon burgers and soups. How could they not serve a good breakfast?

  • Mary's Burger Bistro - Mary has great shakes, fries, and burgers. I order her salmon burgers every chance I get. Her cookies are great, too.


    Only Okay

  • Marcia's Silver Spoon - Piles of hasbrowns that are flabby and white, just don't make it for me.

  • Ben Dew's: Clubhouse Grill - Okay food and okay service, so no real reason to go there unless it's half-way between us and the homes of friends we're joining.

  • Elmer's - This used to be our granddaughter Daron's favorite place for breakfast until we took her to The Spar.

  • Shakabra Java - They serve good coffee, muffins, and cookies, but don't offer hashbrowns, but rather chunky potatoes cooked crispy.


    Won't Go Again

  • Alfred's - Poor service can't make up for good food. (See note below!)

  • Carrs Restaurant & Bar - Poor service and huge amounts of unseasoned food won't get us out the door for the drive to Lakewood, again.

  • Paddy Coynes - Okay, so I haven't eaten breakfast there, but dinner and a late night snack provided two strikes. I can feel the third one coming.


    Places to Try (from comments)
    Bablin Babs - I've eated then for lunch and dinner, but it has been a while. They have great beef and sausage products. Fine dining for the Proctor District.

    Dirty Oscar's Annex - A completely new suggestion. I hope Oscar was a hog. - Update - Visited there for breakfast in late May - I hope they get better: Chicken Fried Steak and Fried Chicken & Waffle Review.

    Allenmore Golf Course Restaurant - I used to eat there when I golfed more regularly. I'll revisit.

    Alfred's - I enjoyed them before, but bad service twice in a row got them crossed off. I will put them on probation and try them, again. - Update - Check out Breakfast Redux - Good food and good service!

    La Quinta for Sunday Brunch - I have eaten there when Peg when we stayed over-night. I'll try it again.


    My Guilty Pleasure

  • McDonald's - On the road . . . in a hurry . . . morning meetings . . . I am often forced to grab a bite on the way. I choose a Sausage McGriddle. One is enough, but sometimes I order two along with a large orange juice.



    Comments from Readers

    We've had great input from our readers. There were a number of comments sticking up for Southern Kitchen. Two mentioned their Corn Cakes. Those were good, but I can't get over their hashbrowns. Not having mentioned Shakabrah was brought up. They were on the "Okay" list, but I didn't put them into the story because they are closing.

    Here are some of the reader comments:

    I really think you should try Paddy Coyne's for breakfast. I think they do Irish potatoes and not your beloved hashbrowns, but they have amazing steel cut oats with brown sugar coated coconut shavings. Yum. Add Irish soda bread with marmalade butter and early bird specials on mimosas & bloody mary's and I'm in heaven. Plus, it's not a madhouse in there on weekend mornings - yet.

    Have you been to the Mandolin for breakfast with the new owners (yes again) yet? I haven't either, but that might be another on the list to try...

    Ok, may I add Southern Kitchen, the best corn meal cakes ever!

    The Spring Lake (Poppy Seed) Cafe in Fircrest is always good too.

    Also, surprisingly enough, Allemore Golf Course's restaurant has good cheap eats. The hash browns are pretty decent, though the coffee is terrible, which makes it really difficult for me to go there in the morning.

    A place that's good for a Sunday Brunch is LaQuinta. I just ate there for a meeting... tons of food (too much) for reasonable price.

    Give Alfred's another chance. We had great breakfast Sunday at 11 with good service even with every table full. Omelettes and Doman Style crispy hashbrowns for the guys and a pecan waffle with one egg over easy for me. Warm syrup too.


    Agree? Disagree? Tell Us About It!

    Did we insult your choices? Do you agree with us? Want to try some of the places we recommend? Think we should try other great places for breakfast? Revisit some places? Tell us what you think. Invite us to breakfast! Thanks.

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    The Best Breakfast Places in Tacoma Review, tacoma restaurants, breakfast restaurants tacoma, lobster shop, the spar, shenanigans, dirty oscar annex, alfreds, marcia's silver spoon, harvester, knapps, old milwaukee, The Best Breakfast Places in Tacoma Review wa washington.


    The Best Breakfast Places in Tacoma Review, tacoma restaurants, breakfast restaurants tacoma, lobster shop, the spar, shenanigans, dirty oscar annex, alfreds, marcia's silver spoon, harvester, knapps, old milwaukee, The Best Breakfast Places in Tacoma Review wa washington.

    The Best Breakfast Places in Tacoma Review.

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