It was a couple of days before Valentine’s Day. I had my present ready for Peggy, but had done no planning for dinner. We decided, since we hadn’t dined at The Harmon (multiply locations in Tacoma and Gig Harbor) for some time, perhaps we should give them a try. I checked online for both The Harmon on Pacific and the Hub near Wright Park in the Stadium District. The menu seemed a little sparse for The Hub, but they did still have the seared ahi appetizer, which I like (I usually order two). We decided to wait for warmer weather this spring when they open the overhead doors so we can enjoy the beauty of the local trees and flowers.
We found a number of items we liked on the menu for the downtown Pacific Avenue location, which is the main drag of Tacoma, which means the one lane road out of town. Peg called soon after they opened that morning. We decided on the Cowboy Ribeye (20 oz. bone-in steak), Prawn Pappardelle Pasta (and a few extra prawns), the apple and candied pecan salad with goat cheese, and the Seasonal Cobbler for dessert. We asked for it “to go” with pick up at 3:30. We were already disappointed and not even out of the gate. They weren’t serving the Prawn Pappardelle Pasta. Peg ordered the Alaskan Fish and Chips instead.
I dropped Peg off and drove away at 3:25pm. I circled the block and then parked in the loading zone about forty feet from their front door. I listened to several interviews on NPR until Peg came out with two bags of food for dinner at 3:50. Even though there was virtually no one in the restaurant she sat and waited twenty minutes for the food.
We arrived home hungry and divided the salad into two bowls. The candied pecans, weren’t candied . . . and the goat cheese was bleu cheese. I like bleu cheese, but had my chops set on a nice pungent goat cheese. The dressing was okay, but it really called for a tangy citrus vinaigrette.
The ribeye was boneless, and tasty. It was cooked medium rare just as requested. I shared with Peg. The Parmesan cheese fries were excellent. The Hub only offers seasoned steak fries, which are not our new favorite. Nice and crunchy . . . and flavorful. The fish and chips were okay, but not worth a trip downtown. The coleslaw was just bland.
Dessert was two huge portions of blueberry/cherry oatmeal cobbler with Olympic Mountain vanilla ice cream. We shared one and saved the other for the next day. Be wary of the cherries. My cobbler had three pits. I was shocked. It’s like serving mussels with the beards on them . . . or clams with broken shells. We were only a little disappointed up until dessert and then we were simply appalled. Dinner the next night also featured the same dessert. The ice cream kept well. The second night was a charm for the cobbler and we enjoyed it, again. There were no pits . . .
We will probably not try The Harmon on Pacific again, not because of the food and service, but because of the parking. I know they can serve better food. But for sure we will return to the Hub. Not only is the food good at the Hub, but it’s a great place to sit and relax after seeing a movie at the Grand Cinema (just a few blocks away). Plus, Wright Park is just a couple hundred yards to the west.
The Harmon on Pacific used to be my favorite go to pub. It was worth the drive and downtown parking challenges, but it has steadily been going down hill over the past couple of years. They used to have a pub club card membership and you could accumulate points and at various levels earn a free beer, appetizer, and even a dinner. They discontinued it a couple of years ago and that was the beginning of the down fall. I believe they changed owners last year and the menu was completely overhauled and not even close to what it used to be. They used to have the best nachos this side of the Puyallup (Mount Rainier Nachos), great wings, and bbq ribs. They still have great beers, but I need decent food to go with it. It is no longer the case. For example, they deleted all my favorite appetizers and added “avocado fries” as an example – I tried it and no thanks! And your right parking is not great. I’m done with The Harmon.
Don Doman says
Thanks for reading and commenting about my article.
Your comments reveal a “hard” fact. You never want to lose good customers because they are hard to replace. Good customers return . . . spreading the news and bringing friends. Lopping off favorite offerings or simply not having them available on a consistent basis sends out bad vibes that simply tells current customers, “we don’t care about you.” I truly hope this is not the case with The Harmon. Disappointed customers erode the base even more.
Thank you again for reading and sharing.
I ate there on Saturday. I had French toast, it was 1:15 pm and I was told I could only have brunch food. I waited almost an hour for two slices of French toast and three pieces of bacon. I had two bites of the toast, it was badly burned. The couple siting in from of me Waite over an hour for their meal and was told “ it will be awhile”. They canceled their meal and left. In addition the waitress told me that they stopped selling pizzas there 4 years ago, strange because I could swear I had one a little over a year ago there. Harmon’s on Pacific ??
Don Doman says
Thank you for sharing your experience with The Harmon. Are you sure you were at the Harmon on Pacific Avenue, and not the Harmon Hub on Tacoma Avenue? I don’t see a breakfast menu for Pacific, but do see one with French Toast for The Hub. Regardless, is looks like time management is a basic problem at perhaps at least two Harmon outlets. If so, I hope they can change things around. There is an ever growing restaurant population downtown and no need to give your business to those who don’t appreciate their customers.
Thanks for reading and commenting. I always like to hear from my readers.
Patty – The Harmon stopped selling pizza a little over a year ago, it was not four years ago as stated by the waitress. Their pizza was another favorite of mine and I distinctly remember when it was taken off the menu and the disappointment I felt. It was another indication to me of things going a different direction there. Just have to travel a couple miles downtown to their sister restaurant, The Hub, for pizza now. In fact, I’ll just go to The Hub for now on because they serve the same great micro brews. Don – you hit on a key factor here, the competition has and is growing substantially over the past couple of years around the Harmon area. The Harmon used to be pretty much THE main popular pub in that area.
Don Doman says
Thanks for writing and chiming in with more facts. It does seem strange that The Harmon on Pacific Ave has alienated their customer basis instead of embracing them. I have no problem with changes in menus and such, but for me it was irritating when their website menu was out of date. Slow service is never a good sign. We do like The Hub, although parking is a problem. I do hope they have our favorites on the menu when we return. I know beer is their key, but there is also a growing number of places offering many different brews. It’s always better to lead the charge than to run behind the leader saying we have that, too.
Thanks, again for sharing.
p.s. love the email address.
Jean S Reddish says
I hope you let us know if you hear from management. I’d be interested in their reaction.
Don Doman says
Thanks for the message. Yes, I always share.
Kris Quinn says
Your food review was interesting. I was struck by your comment about the fish & chips. In my experience, fish & chips does not travel well. Not sure how far you had to drive to get home, but this meal is best when consumed right after it’s cooked, otherwise it will become limp and soggy. Too bad the coleslaw was bland, though.
Don Doman says
Thank you for reading and asking a question. I don’t know how long the fish and chips sat until the entire meal was ready to go, but it probably took between ten and fifteen minutes to get back home. It would have quicker if we could have bulled our way into the left turn lane and gone the freeway to Schuster Parkway, but we traveled on Dock Street to Schuster and then to Ruston Way. We live just above Point Ruston. The fries perked up nicely. Not much would have helped the slaw. The fish made the trip fairly well. You’re right it probably lost some snap and crispiness. Fish and Chips was second choice when we couldn’t order the prawns and pasta (we were very disappointed there). They are probably not used to people ordering take-away, but menu items should always be available especially when there is virtually no one else in the restaurant. The fish had no become limp and soggy, however, so it stood up well.
Thanks for reading and commenting.