Around the Corner Café #2 on South Tacoma Way is the off-shoot of the Around the Corner Café in Orting. I’ve never dined at the original Café, but I have dined numerous times at 5640 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma. Like many of the businesses on old South Tacoma Way, the location used to be something else. It’s right next door to where Russ Dunmier (I bought my third Mazda there), now Sabeti Motors, used to be. 5640 has been a Café or diner for most of the years that I can recall. The latest was the Jersey Diner and before that Zach Hill’s (Legendary Eddie Hill’s son) diner. This was a follow-up review.
The kitchen is in the back corner . . . a TV is playing . . . a white board has the quote for the day written on it. From the booths and the stools at the counter along with checkerboard square tiles on the floor, the interior just screams diner.
The first time here I ordered breakfast. I met two friends, Chris and Dave who joined me. Chris doesn’t eat meat so she settled for French toast. Dave ordered one of the Hobo Hash variations. I think he just had the half order. The full order weighs in a five pounds: bacon, sausage, ham, eggs, breakfast potatoes, and cheese. Dave ate about a quarter of his serving and then had some for breakfast and lunch the next day. Generous portions is low-balling a sales pitch. This time around I had the fish and chips.
My favorite places for fish and chips in Pierce County is Katy Downs along Ruston Way (great views of Vashon Island, Northeast Tacoma, and Commencement Bay), and The Spar (water views from the bar) in Old Tacoma. I think Katy Downs says they have the best fish and chips in down. I prefer The Spar, because they have home-made potato chips served with a squeezy bottle of sour cream . . . and they’ll give you more squeezy bottles. I love the fish in both places. When I order fish and chips, I always order an extra piece of fish if possible . . . sometimes to eat and sometimes to share with my wife. Some places refuse to sell an extra piece of fish because they have their ingredients meted out. Most good restaurants will accommodate what the guest wants, so the guest will be happy and return. Katy Downs, The Spar, and Around the Corner Café #2 comply. The extra charge at Around the Corner Café #2 was minimal: only a buck and a half for the extra piece. It was well worth it.
When I finished my meal at Around the Corner the waitress stopped by and I asked her, “Were these seasoned fries?” They weren’t. She then looked at the menu and discovered that the fries were supposed to be “seasoned.” She asked if I wanted some seasoned fries. Normally I would have said no, but because I wanted to taste them for the review, I said yes. She brought a small order and they were worth the wait. If you place an order for a basket or just fries, go for the seasoned ones. The fish and chips with seasoned fries was excellent. It came with two cups of tartar sauce without having to ask. I did not use malt vinegar on the fish or the fries, but only used lemon on the fish (two slices with the basket). I would rate Around the Corner Café #2 in third place, but that is in really, really good company . . . and with no water view.