Engine House 9 has all the charm of its origins

Since 1909, the building at 611 N. Pine has been serving Tacoma residents, first as a firehouse, and now -  after nearly crumbling into ruin but being saved by local families – as The Original Engine House Number 9, a big, strapping restaurant having all the charm and trappings of the original horse barn firehouse.

The stall area is the bar, the sleeping quarters upstairs hold private dining rooms, and the brick walls and wood floors add warmth and charm. It is easy to look around and see the long-ago firefighters racing into their clothes and jumping onto the equipment as it roared out the doors.

Lately, the Engine Company has become a leader in the growing microbrewery movement, and you can have a mini-tasting at your table while you wait for your meal.

We had such a tasting, for $5.94.  Six 6-ounce glasses of beers, with varietal names, ranging from a tangy raspberry to a couple of dark varieties, as well as some lighter brews. Our server, Maggie, was happy to answer questions and was very helpful. It was interesting, and if I hadn’t been driving, I would have enjoyed drinking them instead of just having a tiny sip of each. I liked the darker varieties best.

We ordered from the pub grub-type menu, finding several favorites. We ordered a glass of strawberry lemonade at $2.75, the E 9 Sampler platter which was six Battalion chicken wings without sauce , eight onion rings, eight mac-and-cheese  triangles, eight mozzarella sticks, and over 100 tater tots with dipping sauces at $13.99.

We also ordered a Big Jimmy Greek Salad with grilled chicken, romaine,onion, cucumber, tomatoes, kalamata  olives, feta cheese and balsamic vinaigrette.  Tzatziki sauce drizzle and fried pita chips completed the plate at $13.25. Half a Bombero Taco Salad, served in a huge deep-fried flour tortilla, included lettuce, pico de gallo, green onions, cheddar-jack cheese, black beans, and sour cream, salsa, and enchilada ranch dressing or cilantro lime vinaigrette at $6.25. I had enchilada ranch.

The food was very tasty, bright, and the fresh salads had nice-sized vegetable pieces. Portions were huge, and we had plenty left over to take home.

Engine Company Number 9 is historical and welcoming.  Family-friendly, it is a great place to relax and have a good meal while being surrounded by reminders of first-responders of yesteryear.


The Original Engine House Number 9

611 N. Pine St., Tacoma


Open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily


Carolyn Augustine, who writes the Senior Eats column for Senior Scene, is a freelance restaurant writer.

Brick walls and wood floors add warmth and charm to the dining environment of Engine House Number 9.
Brick walls and wood floors add warmth and charm to the dining environment of Engine House Number 9.