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Pizza, beer, barbecue, burgers will join cidery at Tacoma’s Brewery Blocks

Brewery Blocks in downtown Tacoma announced its final roster of food and drink tenants, slated to open for business later this year.

The last two entrants are Dancing Goats, the 32-year-old Olympia-based coffee roaster, and Rockaburger, a joint venture between Layla Isaac of Ice Cream Social and Jordan MacDonald of Philly This, a farmers market food stand. Both officially signed their leases this week.

Incline Cider opened its cidery and taproom in October. Michael G. Malaier has also been running his Chapter 13 firm there for a few months. First Citizens Bank has also signed a lease.

The $100-million revitalization project on Commerce Street had previously confirmed Seattle’s Bitterroot BBQ and Vashon Island’s Camp Colvos Brewing.

In addition to the progress of these five bars and restaurants, the first wave of tenants started moving into the 49 lofts of the seven-story building, according to the project’s spokesperson Alaina Kitz. The timing of these two announcements was coincidental, she told The News Tribune.

Facing C Street on the upper level will be Bitterroot BBQ, yet another Seattle restaurant enticed by the success of other expansions by the likes of Cactus (in Proctor) and Rhein Haus (in Stadium).

Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters will open its sixth Dancing Goats cafe in the Puget Sound region. It also owns four locations in Atlanta, Georgia. Kyle Prosser of Lee & Associates, the broker for retail and restaurant leasing, said the exact name of the Brewery Blocks cafe could change.

The final roster exemplifies the vision of developer Mike Bartlett and Horizon Partners Northwest for Brewery Blocks, added Kitz. No two businesses are the same.

“We really wanted a unique food experience for each individual restaurant,” she said. “We didn’t want two cafes, for instance, or two burger places. It’s a very accessible and casual place: It’s very Tacoma.”

‘PIZZA, LIKE BEER, ENCOURAGES COMMUNITY’

Facing Commerce Street, Camp Colvos Brewing will open its second brewpub, replete with New York-style pizza. Big Mario’s, a pizzeria with three locations in Seattle, is consulting on the menu of New York and Sicilian-style pies.

“It’s gonna be killer,” Camp Colvos owner Matt Lawrence told The News Tribune. “Pizza, like beer, encourages community.”

He brews saisons, Belgian-style IPAs and German-style lagers and ales in a production-only space on Vashon Island, where he also operates a taproom and restaurant that serves German sandwiches and meat pies. Though in business for less than two years, Tacoma was always part of the plan.

“I wanted to be in a place that was still becoming itself,” he said, adding, “We built a Tacoma audience — people travel to Vashon.”

When his real estate agent mentioned the 2,800-square-foot Brewery Blocks space, he jumped.

Bartlett strived to retain the charm and grit of the century-old former Hunt Mottet building. The lofts boast nearly 10-foot-high exposed wood ceilings and concrete floors. Those beams are also central to Incline Cider’s space, where customer feedback of the experience and vibe has been “exceptional,” according to Kitz.

The space for Camp Colvos and Rockaburger has even higher ceilings and remnants of its manufacturing days.

The brewery, the cafe and diner are on a similar timeline, said Prosser. Bitterroot BBQ will likely be the first restaurant to open some time this summer, with the other three following suit.

Brewery Blocks Tacoma

2113 C St., Tacoma, breweryblockstacoma.com

Kristine Sherred joined The News Tribune in December 2019. She spent the past decade immersed in the culinary scene of Chicago and, for a time, covered the global chocolate and snacks industries. An avid home cook and beer/cocktail pro, she now explores all things edible and sippable throughout Pierce County. Reach her also at @kriscarasher on Twitter.
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