A few blocks north of the hospital district in Tacoma is a surprise.
Tucked into a residential area, with no parking to speak of, is Parkway Tavern, a pub with lots of wooden stools, open areas for standing and talking, a big wooden bar, very accessible bathrooms with designer sinks and subway tiles, lots of beer and walls covered with pictures of owners and patrons.
We went in on a blustery day and found a spacious room with a library feel and a nice server, Emily, who answered all our questions, helped us get seated, and brought everything in a timely manner.
We ordered a cup of Soup of the Day, a spicy vegetable (made by Tina, a deft hand with seasonings) at $3.50 and so good we ordered another cup to go as we left, a club sandwich at $8.50, a Mushroom Swiss Burger at $8.50, and half a quesadilla at $4.50.
The soup had fresh chopped vegetables in a tomato base, not overly peppery, and welcome on this chilly day.
The half-quesadilla was fine but very basic with cheese and tortilla and overpriced in my opinion.
The club: My pet peeve is a â€œclub sandwichâ€ without three slices of bread. That big sandwich at the golden arches happens to be a club. So this sandwich was just a meaty, cheesy sub with lots of ham, turkey, Swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, and mayo — very good, on a soft bun.
The Mushroom Swiss Burger was terrific! A really good hamburger to add to my collection. This was a flame-grilled, thick, large, beef patty with melted Swiss cheese, cut mushrooms, tomato and onion. Very tasty, and worth the money, It came with a salad.
I recommend the Park Way Tavern for atmosphere, burgers and staff. But be aware that parking can be a real problem, and they donâ€™t serve coffee.
IF YOU GO
Park Way Tavern
313 N. I St., Tacoma, Washington (Go to I and Division in downtown Tacoma and turn north on I. The tavern is on the north side of the street. Parking is as it is, on street.)
Carolyn Augustine is a freelance restaurant writer.