When Shaun Brobak opened Crockett’s Public House on East Stewart Avenue in Downtown Puyallup two years ago he was expecting a busy restaurant. His predictions were accurate and the gastropub that serves modern American fare with a bevy of beer and cocktail selections has seen steady growth in its early stages. The place was packed full of locals every day of the week. Sales were high. There was buzz. Then the hammer fell — Food Network star Guy Fieri brought his hugely popular show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” to Crockett’s to film a segment.
The episode aired at the end of February, and the result surprised the already optimistic Brobak — the bump in popularity and excitement over this piece of Puyallup’s 15 minutes of fame was immediate. “I anticipated a busy restaurant for this area. What I’ve found is we have exceeded all of our expectations. I didn’t anticipate being on “Triple D” … we’ve been very well received,” he said. “I think Puyallup is a little unique. I’ve owned Trackside Pizza here for seven years, and I’ve always felt that downtown Puyallup is undervalued as a good market. When I got down here there wasn’t a lot going on. What I saw was opportunity.”
So it wasn’t as if Crockett’s needed the boost. What did Brobek say when he received a call from the show’s producers? “They asked me if I wanted to be on the show. And of course I said no,” he joked. Brobak isn’t sure how producers found out about Crockett’s, but he was all in on participating. The process was interesting — first the producers picked a market. They chose Olympia, and somehow Crockett’s fell into their geographic range (the show previously covered restaurants in the Seattle and Tacoma markets). The show’s producers spent a good amount of time vetting the restaurant. They interviewed Brobak and his chef, Brian Johnston. They asked for recipes and took pictures of the space and food. All that took place a few months before filming.
The filming process was intense. The show’s crew worked on the segment for three days, for about a total of 13 hours. “It was very well organized. Amazing how the producer worked and how professional they all were,” Brobak said. The first day and a half was relegated to food prep and cooking. The remainder of the time was spent with shots of patrons enjoying Crockett’s, and Fieri chatting up guests about their favorites.
I said no,” he joked. Brobak isn’t sure how producers found out about Crockett’s, but he was all in on participating. The process was interesting — first the producers picked a market. They chose Olympia, and somehow Crockett’s fell into their geographic range (the show previously covered restaurants in the Seattle and Tacoma markets). The show’s producers spent a good amount of time vetting the restaurant. They interviewed Brobak and his chef, Brian Johnston. They asked for recipes and took pictures of the space and food. All that took place a few months before filming.
The response was immediate. “Once word got out in the beginning of November when we were filmed, we started getting busier. Our top-three selling items the week of the episode were the items featured on the show …Public House meatballs, fire-grilled artichoke and mom’s sloppy Joe,” Brobak said. It’s a small sample size of time, but he says Crockett’s sales have doubled since the show aired.
Other menu items include wood-fired Mahi Mahi basted in cilantro lime, served with Baja black beans, a Serrano corn cake and fresh avocado. The generous filet of fish is moist and flavorful and pairs well with the citrus from the lime and the freshness of cilantro. Speaking of generous, the flatbread club benefits from large toothpicks to keep it from falling apart. Flatbread is ideal for a sandwich like this — hunks of bread slices would get in the way of all the meat and cheese. All of the restaurant’s sauces are made in house.
Crockett’s also offers an extensive bar menu. The key lime martini is like dessert in a glass. The bloody mary is quite tasty — Crockett’s uses a secret signature mix also made in house. Bonus: it’s essentially served with an entire charcuterie plate on a stick (pickled green bean, thick slice of salami, cheese, grape tomato, plus your typical stalk of celery for stirring and munching).
Brobak feels fortunate to have picked an ideal location for Crockett’s and for having the opportunity for his restaurant to be featured on national television. The airing of the “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” episode coincided with the restaurant’s two-year anniversary. Brobak said they were so busy they couldn’t even do a proper celebration. He has no plans to make any changes to Crockett’s. “We’re just trying to get our arms around what we have,” he said. However, he is optimistic about growth. “I’m really proud of what we’re doing here, and I don’t have any plans to change anything. I think there’s another Crockett’s in the future, but I don’t know where it will go yet.” That’s shrewd optimism in this climate of economic uncertainty, but with Crockett’s recent celebrity, Brobak has every right to parlay his success.
When You Go
Crockett’s Public House
118 E. Stewart Ave., Puyallup
Mon.-Thurs.: 11:30am to 10pm
Friday: 11:30am to midnight
Saturday: 8am to midnight
Sunday: 8am to 10pm
Happy Hour: $5 appetizers and $1 off
all adult beverages
Mon.-Fri., 3-6pm and all day Sunday
Other Local Spots on the Show
“Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” has visited several South Sound hot spots. Try them for yourself.