Old Elks Lodge: New McMenamin’s Hotel

Take a look at this place!

The current McMenamin’s project is staggering. Downtown On The Go put on a tour of the site last night for 100 lucky folks. It was pretty dark in there so please excuse that the photos are a bit noisy and blurry.
McMenamin's Elks Lodge in Tacoma
There is a whole lotta scaffolding in this place to access and repair the ceilings, plaster and crown moldings.
McMenamin's Elks Lodge in Tacoma
The intricate details found here are from another time and place. This will be the premier event space in Tacoma as soon as it opens.
McMenamin's Elks Lodge in Tacoma
My first thought was that this space could rival the market Showbox in Seattle.
McMenamin's Elks Lodge in Tacoma
Much of the building is hard to comprehend at the moment. Multiple bars and restaurants are slated to exist here within the next 2 years.
McMenamin's Elks Lodge in Tacoma
Syringes and human waste are long gone but a robust collection of graffiti remains to remind us of a recent, dark past.
McMenamin's Elks Lodge in Tacoma
The brothers McMenamin will be revered for taking on this project. In addition to the Elks Lodge, they are also up to the challenge of the Old City Hall Building.
McMenamin's Elks Lodge in Tacoma
Sitting on a steep hillside, the building spans several stories from Broadway down to Stadium Way.
McMenamin's Elks Lodge in Tacoma
The city owns the Spanish Steps adjacent to the old Elks Lodge and current plans are incorporating them into the renovation project. There will be a bar/restaurant entrance on the landing area midway down the staircase between Broadway and Stadium Way.
McMenamin's Elks Lodge in Tacoma
A look inside the walls. There are currently a few areas inside the building where you can see up or down hundreds of feet.
McMenamin's Elks Lodge in Tacoma
Nothing better than oversized columns to serve as goalposts for future mosh pits.
McMenamin's Elks Lodge in Tacoma
From what I gather, this entire site has been thoroughly sandblasted. Years in, an unfathomable quantity of restoration work needs to be wrapped up before re-finishing can begin.
McMenamin's Elks Lodge in Tacoma
The ornamental details in the wood and plaster here will put the California Bank building on Pacific to shame.
McMenamin's Elks Lodge in Tacoma
As dangerous as this site is now, it was far more dangerous 10 years ago. What the hell was it like in here when graffiti-happy punks and homeless addicts wandered these halls?
McMenamin's Elks Lodge in Tacoma
How did everyone used to get in here when it was “vacant”? I realize skate punks with spray paint can penetrate anything, but I’d like to know just how easy the access was. Clearly, hundreds of unwanted guests logged time here.

The ceilings are quite a project. If you’ve done much painting or drywall work, you know working on ceilings is always an extra challenge.
McMenamin's Elks Lodge in Tacoma
I’m envisioning private suites or luxury boxes around the perimeter of this event space. 22-year-olds could be overspending on bottle service at bad pop shows before we know it.
McMenamin's Elks Lodge in Tacoma

Best sandwich award: Harbor Greens

There’s a new sheriff in town. It’s not a new venue, but its footprint atop the sandwich-scape of Tacoma, quite frankly is new. Based on myriad factors, in a matrix of reasoning, Harbor Greens’ sandwiches are the new gold standard, narrowly beating out MSM and Met Market for the local crown. I will walk you through it.

Little Basil

Best single sandwich in town: Harbor Greens

The Little Basil is, indeed, the best overall sandwich in town. Chicken, pesto, mozzarella and basil, grilled on a panini is so much greater than the sum of its parts. Sure, you’re familiar with all the ingredients but you must experience the final product to truly know it. Paninis are grilled to perfection and the gluten free version is bigger than the standard. MSM’s Mike’s Deluxe and Met Market’s Prime Rib Sandwich tied for 2nd place.

Best overall sandwich lineup in town: Harbor Greens

From grilled to cold, standard bread to gluten-free, veggies to turkey, bacon and roast beef – it’s all top-notch. You bring the whole family and their dietary restrictions and Harbor Greens will have all the right sandwiches for $7 or $8 apiece. Of course, they also have an entire grocery store to back it up, which brings us to..

Best sandwich venue in town: Harbor Greens

You can’t go wrong with a sandwich shop that boasts a strong selection of drinks and side items. Harbor Greens is also a grocery store with a full produce section – additional shopping possibilities are endless.

Most convenient sandwich in town: Harbor Greens

Much like MSM (our silver medalist) Harbor Greens can only be fully appreciated when you call in your order ahead of time. As is the case with all great places, there is a good chance it will be crowded. Unlike all other finalists, Harbor Greens offers ample parking every time I visit. Fortunately it is located at 27th & Bridgeport in U.P. where there is NOT an obnoxious Meridian-esque median to navigate. If you do it right, you’ll be in and out in less than 5 minutes. Of course they also have a nice seating area where you can plop down and enjoy on site if you so desire.

Harbor Greens, 2620 Bridgeport Way W, University Place, WA, (253) 460-2901
Harbor Greens, 5225 Olympic Dr NW, Gig Harbor, WA, (253) 851-7911

Commercial tenants in Proctor Station

I’ll say this about the future tenants of Proctor Station: they better kick ass. It’s unfair and real. Everyone will stop super-disliking this building if we get something out of it. Most of us will never go above street level in this place so the street level shops are the only thing that will matter once it’s been around awhile. The building already looks not-that-tall to me, so apparently I’m getting used to it. We’ve heard rumors of the supposed search for tenants, but I will reserve painfully honest judgment until I get a look-see at what moves in. I’m difficult to please so it won’t be easy to stoke my favor. I would just assume fill the whole place with restaurants that stay open late. 

What businesses would you like to see operating in Proctor Station? Anybody have the inside track on who, if anybody, is slated to open up shop?

proctor station construction

Owners set to remodel classic Tacoma restaurant

Harbor Lights Harbor Lights Harbor Lights bar

Harbor Lights has been a staple on the Tacoma waterfront for decades. Over the years very little has changed here and its patrons love the consistency. Most people were a little nervous when they heard that the classic seafood joint planned to undergo a facelift starting today, March 11, 2013. It is rumored that the bar will be expanded and reoriented to maximize the water views from the inside. The signature food (crab) and the “strong pour” in the bar are rumored to be sticking around.
 
It’s rare to be stagnant in today’s world and be rewarded for it, but that’s what has happened with Harbor Lights. What a luxury, to have most of your loyal patrons prefer you NOT update with the times. This update seems like a roll of the dice to me..but I’m hoping for the best. See you on the other side!

“Bring on the Slice” There’s pizza and then there’s PIZZA!

Ah Badabing logoIf you’re from NY and missing the pizza you grew up with, or are just looking for a new adventure in Pizza, Ah Badabing is for you. Tucked away in Lakewood on 100th Street, across from McDonald’s in the little brick shopping strip, it is worth the effort to find. Owner/operator Brian D’Millo introduces the authentic NY style pizza that North Westerners have been missing out on! Hand-crafted with fresh ingredients and signature sauce created from Brain’s childhood memories, this pizza is perfect whether you are hosting the gang for Monday night football, grabbing lunch, or just enjoying a quiet “pizza and a movie” night at home. Pizza from $4.99 a slice that easily feeds two, to a 30″ multiple topping pizza that feeds 8-16 people, depending on the number of teenagers! Try it once, and Ah Badabing Pizzeria will become your “go-to” Pizzeria!

Ah Badabing Pizzeria, 6101 100th St SW, Lakewood, WA, (253) 582-2170

Brian D'Millo holding a slice of pizza Ah Badabing Storefront Brian D'Millo throwing dough