Johnny’s Seafood Market & Bistro

Johnny’s Seafood Co. has reopened as Johnny’s Seafood Market & Bistro after a top to bottom remodel that now features a cafe in addition to their longstanding seafood counter. Diners can sit at the bar, inside near the seafood counter or on the outdoor patio on the Thea Foss Waterway. There’s even a great view of Mt. Rainier.

Tacoma has needed another casual waterfront seafood restaurant, and I was eager to check it out. There’s Steamers Seafood Cafe on Titlow Beach, but I’ve never found the quality or portion size to be good for the price.

We stopped at Johnny’s for dinner tonight, and I wasn’t really planning on blogging about it, so I didn’t take any photos of our food…and I’m not seeing the menu anywhere online at the moment, but the food was generally really good, so I thought I’d share our experience.

It’s a little awkward walking into Johnny’s because the seafood counter is to your right, and the tables are to the left — which isn’t really the problem. I know they just reopened, but while watching numerous people come in and try to purchase seafood at the counter, there was a lot of confusion with the process, and there wasn’t always a staff person to help people at the seafood counter. Once they get the hang of it, hopefully it’ll go more smoothly. The staff was very friendly and the food was served very quickly after ordering, but the seating and general entrance was a little odd.

We ordered the bay shrimp cocktail ($5.95), and though the shrimp were fresh and sweet, the plating (in a little cup, topped with sauce atop a salad of lettuce and celery), was a little different than I’m used to.

The Caesar salad ($8.95) has lightly grilled romaine with options such as adding crab, shrimp or blackened salmon or chicken for an additional reasonable fee. The blackened salmon was high-quality, well cooked and flavored with a nice kick from the blackening spice, and the crab was fresh and pJohnny's Seafood Tacomalentiful atop the salad.

We’ll definitely be back for either a quick lunch or easy dinner. The menu features favorites like clam chowder, fish and chips (including gluten free fish and chips!), Copper River salmon, prime ribeye steak, lots of sandwiches, cioppino, salads, fish tacos, crab and shrimp cocktail, beer and wine.

I also glanced at the seafood counter and noticed they had fresh whole trout, which I haven’t seen anywhere else in Tacoma. In addition to seafood, they also sell beef and pork from Snake River Farms.

The prices were generally reasonable and it seemed like it would be family-friendly. It’s definitely worth checking out.

Johnny’s Seafood Market & Bistro | 1199 Dock Street, Tacoma | 253.627.2158
Open 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. daily

Maxwells’ Chef Hudson Slater Wins Ethan Stowell Charity Cook-Off

Tacoma’s own Chef Hudson Slater of Maxwell’s Speakeasy and Lounge won first place in last weekend’s Ethan Stowell Fried Chicken Cook-Off for charity. Ethan Stowell Restaurants, which include Staple & Fancy, Tavolata and How to Cook a Wolf, just to name a few, held the charity cook-offs to benefit Fetal Hope Foundation.

Ten chefs competed, including Josh Henderson from the Huxley Wallace Collective; Ryan Donaldson, chef at The Stone House; Tricia Marino from Stoneburner; Tobie Robinson from Parsnips Catering; Dan Braun from Oliver’s Twist, Paul Rosquita from Taste at SAM, as well as Ethan Stowell himself. Four home cooks also competed, including Joe Jeannot, Rocky Yeh, Luuvu Hoang and Cameo McRoberts.

Attendees of the event voted for their favorite fried chicken entries.

Chef Slater won with chicken that he brined in a smokey brine for a day, then in buttermilk, maple syrup and hot sauce, which were then dredged in seasoned flour and fried.

“It was a great day with a lot of cool chefs,” said Chef Slater.¬† “We were drinking beer and¬†bourbon, eating chicken and talking smack. It was a lot of fun.”

To see what sets Chef Slater’s fried chicken apart, get to Maxwell’s early each Monday. You can order his winning fried chicken first come, first serve. It will be offered for as long as there’s demand.

Chef Slater is hoping to get involved in the next cook-off, which is slated to be macaroni and cheese, though so far there is no firm date yet set for this event.

“There was talk of mac and cheese so I would be pretty stoked for that, considering we have the best mac and cheese in town,” said Slater.

Tickets will be available to the public, so check the Ethan Stowell blog for more details.

If you can’t attend the Ethan Stowell Cook-Offs, make sure to check out all the amazing food Chef Slater and Maxwell’s is putting out right here in Tacoma on a daily basis.

Update: Maxwell’s has started serving the fried chicken on Mondays, and it’s a hit! Check out the photo below. Looks amazing.

Chef Hudson's winning fried chicken at Maxwell's

Photos courtesy Chef Hudson Slater

Breakfast at Art House Cafe

Art House Cafe in Tacoma’s Stadium District has been open since April of this year, and I haven’t been in since my first bite a week after their opening. I was due for a visit for breakfast, and this was the perfect morning to check it out. With the rain coming down, Art House Cafe made a cozy refuge from the weather on this lazy Sunday morning.

All of the new restaurant kinks I experienced when I first visited for dinner were gone. Our server was knowledgeable, helpful and made a mean latte and hot chocolate.

The fresh, airy cafe was bustling with couples sipping espresso, friends meeting for breakfast and my disheveled “I’m not doing my hair and I’m going to wear yoga pants” self. That’s what weekend breakfasts are for, right?

Actually, Art House Cafe serves a daily breakfast, meaning weekdays included, which is different from most Tacoma restaurants. Tacomans are hard-pressed to find a restaurant that serves breakfast on weekdays, and I’m thrilled Art House serves such a great one.

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Happy 40th Birthday to Antique Sandwich Company

I love a good small business success story, especially if it’s a family business. The Antique Sandwich Company on Tacoma’s North Pearl Street is celebrating its 40th birthday this month. The business, started in 1973 by sisters-in-law Tamie Herridge and Shirley Herridge and their mother Arlene, was later joined by Dick Meyer, owner of Traditions Cafe in Olympia. The community is invited to a celebration of their 40 years of business this Saturday, August 24, from 5 to 9 p.m.

Forty years is a long time for any business to continue on, but especially a restaurant, which faces stiff competition, rising food costs and a whole host of other factors that make keeping the doors open a difficult task. Antique Sandwich Company has not only survived, but flourished, maintaining a customer base that keeps coming back for their homemade pies, giant milkshakes, freshly made cinnamon rolls and sandwiches.
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