“Only the best pastrami and corned beef are used here,” raved Frommer’s, a publication that’s been known to get around just a bit. But Roxy’s Diner doesn’t just stock quality meats—it also knows what to do with them. In the tradition of New York Jewish delis, cooks pile hot, tender slices of pastrami on light rye bread and top it off with deli mustard. The tradition continues in the classic reuben, a bulging feast of corned beef, homemade sauerkraut, melted swiss, and Thousand Island dressing. Diners can upgrade their sandwiches to New York size, which is big enough to clog a subway station. Add a pickle and a steaming bowl of matzo ball soup, and you have a meal that’s as comforting as it is delicious. Though Roxy’s robust sandwiches may physically tower over the breakfast dishes, the morning fare is equally as enticing. The challah french toast features two hefty slices of egg bread soaked in vanilla custard and cooked to a golden brown. The pastrami hash is a perfect middle ground between breakfast and lunch. And the cheese blintzes feature sweet farmer’s cheeses stuffed inside thin crepes and served with strawberry fruit sauce.
Sugar Skulls Beauty Bar's master stylists snip away at lengthy man-manes with precision to render new 'dos sculpted to customer specifications. A post-cut neck shave prevents pesky neck-bound fuzz from tickling fingers while they are trying to perfect their windsor knots. The staff lavishes royal hair treatments upon women, too, who can also refresh their epidermises with salon services such as facials and waxing. The community-minded cadre of stylists supports the Salons Against Domestic Abuse Fund's Cut It Out program, and offers donations-only haircuts for elderly and disabled clients on the second Sunday of every month. The Sugar Skulls staff is happy to accommodate clients by recommending hairstyles—though never legal advice; eyebrow trims and maintenance can be taken advantage of to achieve a ubiquitously tidy pate.
A curved rooftop and white-trimmed windows give The Otis Grill a quaint appearance, which aligns well with its menu of classic American comfort food. In the morning, the eatery's cooks griddle hot cakes and ladle gravy over fresh biscuits. Later in the day, they fry beer-battered shrimp, simmer chicken and dumplings, and grill thick, juicy burgers.
On the quiet, Monday-night streets of Puyallup, no one inside Ricky J’s Restaurant and Lounge seems to care that it’s a school night. The lights in the warm pub burn brightly, as local musicians jaunt onto the stage to enthusiastic applause. Servers raise their voices to be heard over the twang of guitar and the terrified screams of the drums, taking orders for pizzas and pitchers of beer. Between decimating plates of nachos or cheering at the end of the band’s set, guests engage in a little friendly competition at the pool tables. This is the scene of the pub’s open mic night—the first of many weekly events on a schedule flush with karaoke, bingo, and trivia.
As guests squabble over trivia answers or dance to DJ-spun tunes in the dining room, chefs are bustling through the kitchen. They top freshly made burgers with grill-blacked bacon and juicy pineapple slices, and dress pizzas with homemade sauce and creative toppings such as barbeque pulled pork and tortilla strips. The chefs are creative even with their side dishes, frying onion rings in homemade beer batter and painting portraits of tater tots dressed as Napoleon. In the mornings, the chefs turn their attention to breakfast items, including cheesy omelets, overstuffed burritos, and pancakes with banana, strawberry, and whipped cream.
At Flat Iron Grill, executive chef Jeff Olsen puts an international twist on traditional steak-house staples made with locally sourced organic ingredients. Small doses of chorizo, chimichurri, or chili-spiked truffle sauce lend distinctive Latin and South American flavors to the menu?s grilled steaks, black cod, and clam pappardelle. To accompany the rustically roasted entrees, the bartenders pour tipples from their selection of more than 180 whiskeys, which include rich bourbons, smoky scotches, and locally distilled creations.
Echoing the menu?s rustic elegance, the Western-themed dining room surrounds guests in warm-colored walls and metal work from Gagnon Welding. A spotlighted longhorn skull hangs on a terra-cotta red wall alongside local artists' black-and-white photographs of Washington landscapes. Patrons can also dine on an outdoor patio shaded by light-tan umbrellas and clouds lassoed into place by helpful cowboys.
Seasonal ingredients are the driving force behind Streamliner Diner’s daytime and evening menus, which change quarterly to reflect the freshest product the area has to offer. Breakfast sticks to classics such as omelettes, biscuits and gravy, and scrambles, but added ingredients like smoked salmon, pesto sour cream, and ginger-marinated tofu elevate them above typical diner fare. The dinner menu takes a truly upscale turn with pan-fried risotto cakes, beef tenderloin with rhubarb red wine sauce, and pastas interwoven with enough fresh veggies and herbs to make a multivitamin squirm. Streamliner Diner also features an extensive wine list showcasing vintages from Washington State.