South Sound Restaurants Get Creative During COVID

The past year’s COVID shutdown and restrictions were especially hard on the restaurant and entertainment industries. Despite the tough times, there have been some positives that have come from the pandemic. There have been many new restaurants, bars and businesses that have opened up over the past year in Washington’s South Sound. To celebrate the innovation that has resulted from challenging circumstances, we are going to share a few uplifting success stories. Many of these places have creatively adapted their business models to government orders or designed a space that allows for optimal ventilation and spread-out seating to keep the public safe and remain compliant with COVID opening regulations.

Below are just a couple of the South Sound eateries that have opened up over the past year, highlighted and shared by our NAIOP South Sound Committee Members.

Cooper’s Food and Drink
5928 N. 26th St, Tacoma

Layne Alfonso – “In the fall when all inside dining was banned, it was difficult to find a comfortable outdoor dining option. Initially my choices were very limited; however, as time passed establishments around town started to invest more in their outdoor seating areas. I kept a list of places that provided both covered and heated outdoor sitting. My clear favorite spot for outside drinking and dinning is Coopers Food & Drink located at N. 26th and Pearl.  The outdoor dining area at Coopers is superb. They furnished the covered patio with real chairs and couches, not the folding chairs and cold benches found at other spots. They placed plenty of heaters and fire pits around the patio to keep you comfortable even while outside. The patio area is equipped with ceiling fans to ensure good air circulation. Best of all -- the beer was cold and the food excellent. I have been back several times to find some semblance of normality in this crazy time."

Farm 12
3303 #B 8th Ave SE, Puyallup 

Natalie Schiro – “While Farm 12 did not open during 2020, they had only been open about 4 months before the shutdown. When I finally decided I felt safe enough in the fall to meet up with a friend, it was not an easy task to find a place to go. My friend suggested Farm 12. When I arrived, I was excited to see the “bubble tents” out front. We were seated in a large tent with open sides for airflow. The tables were generously spaced, and the service and food were amazing! They even had another barn open with spaced out fireplaces where you could stay warm while waiting for your table. While this was my first experience at Farm 12, I will certainly be back again soon! I also love that all of the proceeds go to the non-profit Step-by-Step and the restaurant provides job training and experience to local mothers in need.”   

These businesses not only exemplify the creativity used in the restaurant industry to open through COVID regulations, but they also speak to the growth and strength in the South Sound’s market and economy.

Watch our May 27th South Sound panel recording where we dive further into how landlords and business owners have fared over the past year. Hear answers to questions like:

  • Are restaurants still good tenants for landlords to consider?
  • Will there be more outdoor dining in our future?
  • How has financing for restaurants been impacted through pandemic shutdowns?
  • Are tenant lease terms being restructured? 
  • Will restaurant spaces be designed differently in the future to allow more space between customers?

The restaurants highlighted in the webinar include Cuerno Bravo, Gilman House, and Devil's Reef. For more information about getting involved in NAIOP and with the South Sound committee, click here.

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