Peter Levy believes it’s important to offer his customers three square meals a day. Like his restaurants in Seattle, Cooks Tavern — his venture in Tacoma’s Proctor District — serves up breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Levy is a restaurant veteran, with his best-known restaurant being the 5 Spot in Seattle. He has his eye on Tacoma now, and has not only moved to the area, but has opened Cooks Tavern and Brewers Row.
“I just love it down here,” he said of Tacoma. “It’s just such a grounded town. A genuine town.”
Cooks Tavern’s name is an homage to food makers everywhere — from celebrity chefs to home cooks. On the wall are black-and-white portraits of Paul Prudhomme and Julia Child — the restaurant’s guardian angels, and successful cooks in their own rights.
The menu full of fresh, quality ingredients would make Prudhomme and Child proud. They also have a creative kids’ menu, 14 beers on tap that rotate, and a large selection of wine.
Get your veggies in at breakfast with the Clean Up On Aisle 12 vegetable hash ($13). It includes a perfect housemade biscuit and two poached eggs atop a combo of peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, sweet potatoes, and cauliflower. The entire concoction is blanketed with kale that’s so good, it will have you excited to eat your greens.
For a starter, try the popular Indian Candy Fry Bread ($10.50). The fry bread is crispy without being dense, oily, or limp. It’s topped with in-house smoked salmon, goat cheese, and arugula. Technically, it’s probably supposed to be a shareable plate, but it’s completely understandable if you eat it all. (No guilt!)
People are swarming to Cooks for a lot of goodness, especially the grilled Tutto Calabria lamb burger ($11). The ground lamb is mixed with peppers for a spicy and savory bite. It’s topped with colorful pickled onions, arugula, and a goat cheese spread. You can order the burger with Cooks’ hand-cut fries. Their fry sauce is good — and so is their green goddess dressing for dipping.
The menu has its standbys, but it also has a lot of new things to try, food from around the world. One day they may be serving warm beignets; the next it could be the most succulent pork chops or poutine. Be ready for a food adventure.
“It keeps us intrigued, and for a neighborhood restaurant, I think that our customers appreciate it as well,” said Levy.
Cooks Tavern is the latest incarnation for the property in the Proctor District. Previously, the building housed a nail salon, doggy daycare, and hair salon. It experienced a complete overhaul to become Cooks Tavern and the neighboring Brewers Row.
Levy had been looking at the Tacoma market for about eight or nine years. He considered between 30 and 40 buildings. But the spot at North 26th and Alder was it. “You just say, ‘That’s the one,’” he said. “This was the one for us.”
He was attracted to the building’s rich history and its former life as a grocery store along a trolley line many years ago.
Now Cooks Tavern is becoming a neighborhood staple.
When You Go
3201 N. 26th St., Tacoma
Hours: 8 a.m.-11 p.m., Sunday-Thursday
8 a.m.-midnight, Friday and Saturday