PUYALLUP — If you find yourself taking a trip down I-5 and looking for something to eat, look no further. On first glance, Puyallup — a fast-growing suburb nestled adjacent to Tacoma — might seem oversaturated with famous chains like BJ’s, Red Robin and Olive Garden. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll soon discover that Puyallup has bites that can compete with any big city. So much so that Guy Fieri decided to check out the city himself! With a restaurant featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” and a farm-forward bakery, here are a few Puyallup bites worth checking out.
Crockett’s Public House
11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday; 118 E. Stewart Ave., Puyallup; crockettspublichouse.com/puyallup
Upon walking into Crockett’s Public House and hearing, “I’ve been wanting to try this place since it was on ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’!” I knew I was drawn to this “greasy spoon” restaurant for the same reason as many of its customers — Guy Fieri.
At noon on a Thursday, Crockett’s was packed — so much so that there was a 10-minute wait for a table (and for the suburbs on a weekday, that’s saying something). The restaurant looks small from the outside — a brick, dinerlike building — but the inside is expansive with a large bar, open kitchen and plenty of seating.
Just about every party at the restaurant had an order of fire-grilled artichokes ($14.50) on their table, a dish that was featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” so I knew that was a good place to start. These hardwood grilled artichokes arrived at my table steaming. Fresh lemon and a Calabrian chili pepper aioli added incredible flavor to the smokiness. If you’re an artichoke lover, then this dish will likely become a new favorite, but as someone who best appreciates artichoke as an occasional pizza topping, I didn’t find myself able to finish the entire dish.
I also ordered the public house meatballs ($22.99), a mixture of fresh-ground pork, sirloin and prosciutto prepared in-house. These meatballs come with sourdough garlic cheese toast and pistachio nuts on top, two elements that texturally balance the tenderness of the meatballs and tomato sauce.
The lobster meat in the lobster macaroni and cheese ($29.99) is plentiful, a quality of the dish that I greatly appreciated. With a mixture of Tillamook white cheddar, fontina, Gruyère, Brie and Pecorino Romano cheeses, this mac and cheese is undeniably an explosion of cheese. But with chives on top, herbal notes lighten up the depth of flavor a bit. Add breadcrumbs, and I enjoyed a delicious mac and cheese — texturally interesting, plenty of lobster pieces and flavors that danced in my mouth. A great comfort-food dish.
You get healthy portions with both the meatballs and the macaroni and cheese, so if you’re dining solo, be prepared to take some food to go.
Crockett’s also features a well-rounded drinks list with cocktails, flights and extensive whiskey options. For $15.99, you can try out the whiskey flight. You get three ¾-ounce pours. Our drinks critic Tan Vinh recommends trying the Woodinville 100% rye, Westland American single malt and the Elijah Craig small batch. Cheers!
10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. Sunday; 3303 #B Eighth Ave. S.E., Puyallup; farm12.org
Like clockwork, I was craving something sweet after my midday meal at Crockett’s. Sometimes it can be hard to find cakes by the slice outside Seattle — trust me, I’ve searched far and wide — but Puyallup did not disappoint.
Farm 12 is a quaint farm-forward bakery and restaurant about 10 minutes from Crockett’s. It was once Van Lierop Bulb Farm, one of the dozens of flower farms in the Puyallup Valley. Run in partnership with Step By Step, an organization that supports low-income and at-risk mothers and families, the Farm 12 space hosts Step By Step’s headquarters, which includes a family counseling and educational center, a job-training and workforce preparation facility, a culinary training program and a greenhouse.
Aside from community outreach, Farm 12 is known for its baked-from-scratch cakes (you’ll find its new flavor concoctions each week on its Instagram) and baked goods. The goods are made with fair trade chocolate and flours that are milled in the Pacific Northwest, and the restaurant’s jams, curds and fillings are made in-house with fruit and vegetables from the Puyallup Valley.
Chai is one of my favorite flavors, no matter what season it is. With notes of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and more, it makes for a comforting addition to any dish or drink. So when I saw Farm 12 had a salted caramel spiced chai cake ($10), I was thrilled!
A light chai buttercream frosting is layered in between six moist and fluffy chai spiced buttermilk cakes. But it doesn’t stop there. Caramel apple sauce and sea salt are also layered on top of each buttercream layer, adding a sweet gooey sauce that compliments each spiced bite.
The restaurant’s savory treats are just as good as their sweet ones. Three pan-seared crab cakes ($18.95) are served on a bed of lettuce with housemade garlic aioli. They are savory and delicate, with bright citrus undertones thanks to the lemon and aioli. I added a little Tabasco sauce to kick the flavor up a notch, and I came away deeply satisfied. The crab cakes are the perfect size for sharing or to grab as a to-go snack alongside one of Farm 12’s freshly baked desserts.
Although I was too stuffed to eat more food, Farm 12’s cider brined pork chop with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and seasonal veggies ($32.95) caught my eye.
If you find yourself down in the valley soon, Crockett’s Public House and Farm 12 offer great bites to try. They’re both located only a few minutes off the freeway, so buckle up and, as Guy Fieri would say, take a road rockin’ trip down to Flavortown.
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