Fine food and hand-crafted cocktails, Perry’s Cocktail Bar opens this month
Expect an opening later this month for Perry’s Cocktail Bar. The downtown Puyallup restaurant and lounge will be a decidedly grown-up destination. Perry’s will offer a polished cocktail menu and a menu of playful New American food with a Northwest sensibility from Chef Cory LaFranchi, who is selling his food truck, Street Eats Mobile Eatery (but more on that in a moment). UPDATE: Perry’s Cocktail Bar opened to the public on Sunday, March 1, 2020. Get in there!
The restaurant will operate in a neighborhood already filled with great cocktails and eating at nearby Crockett’s Public House, The Forum, CaskCades, Bourbon Street Creole Kitchen and Bar and Giorgio’s. Think of this restaurant and lounge in the same category as Toscanos Italian Grill and HG Bistro, also in Puyallup. Perry’s Cocktail Bar will operate at 105 S. Meridian in the former home of the painting lounge, Arts and Corks.
The restaurant is owned by Laura and Ron Perry. This is Laura Perry’s first cocktail lounge. She and Ron also own Honey Baked Ham in Tacoma on South 38th Street.
This restaurant is her baby. And her 25-year dream.
Perry has been a student of food since she was a child living abroad. Her father’s Army career took the family to Korea and Italy. “I read cookbooks like they were novels even at a very young age. I loved everything about food,” said Perry.
Consider the opening of Perry’s Cocktail Bar a full circle back to her restaurant roots in Puyallup. She started in the business working at Sizzler by the fairgrounds. She’s worked both front-of-house and back-of-house and co-owned Three Chicks Catering. “I think I’ve done every position in a restaurant, except ironically bartending,” said Perry with a laugh as she sat a few feet away from the bar that anchors the back of the dining room at Perry’s Cocktail Bar.
PERRY’S PUYALLUP ROOTS RUN DEEP
Her local restaurant resume is deep. She worked at Salty’s at Redondo for many years, which is also where Chef LaFranchi started his restaurant career. Here’s a blast from the past for longtime restaurant watchers. Perry worked with Diana Prine, who owned Fife City Bar and Grill from 1994 to 2013, at the old Pacific Rim Restaurant in Tacoma. (Prine currently is a chef-instructor at Seattle’s Fare Start).
“I saw what she did, what she could do at Pacific Rim. She inspired me to become a chef,” said Perry of Prine. Perry enrolled in culinary school at South Seattle Community College.
Perry’s Cocktail Bar will come with 49 seats and a theme that will appeal to grownups in search of fine cuisine and upscale cocktails. No diners under 21 will be allowed. “Our tagline is ‘Where people come to sip and share.’ We want people to have that nice intimate experience with their friends and loved ones. It’s not going to be so loud that you can’t carry on a conversation,” said Perry.
Indeed, the dining room is warm and inviting, a vision Perry developed with help from Holly Bero Interiors. A cushy banquette spans the dining room that carries a distinctive midcentury modern vibe. The L-shaped bar will seat at least eight.
Perry has hired Joshua Hayes, a cicerone and sommelier, to guide the bar. She described a cocktail program with fresh-squeezed juices and housemade shrubs, bitters and tinctures. The flavor-laden cocktails sound as if they’ll blur the line between kitchen and bar. Expect to see classic cocktails from the Prohibition era to the more modern classics. She listed an Old Cuban, Sazerac and Paper Plane, among others.
LaFranchi designed the menu with a nod to Perry’s ties to the area. Perry is a Puyallup High School graduate (husband Ron went to Curtis). The menu’s Late Night Burger is a gussied up version of the drive-in classic burger at Tacoma’s Frisko Freeze, where Perry’s husband Ron proposed to her. The burger will carry LaFranchi’s housemade “truck pickles,” which he collected praise for (especially from this writer) when he served them on his food truck. The restaurant’s fried calamari will carry a hint of flavor from the Korean condiment gochujang, which Perry grew up eating in her Korean family.
He’ll focus on seasonality and intends to use produce from Puyallup’s Wild Hare Organics. “That’s important to us. With Laura being from here, we want to showcase this town and valley. We don’t have to get everything from a vendor. We can go into our backyard and pick what we need,” said LaFranchi of the restaurant’s proximity to Puyallup’s farms.
He was excited to talk about the restaurant’s 16-ounce, bone-in ribeye, finished with a compound butter, and served with Syracuse salt potatoes and roasted radishes. He expects to keep a rotation of compound butters to complement the restaurant’s bread service. Flavored fats are a recurring theme in his basket of chef tricks. He also plans to work with infused olive oils.
“We’re working with infused olive oils throughout the kitchen. We’ll use all kinds of things to change the flavor profile a bit.”
He described steamed clams with a spiked tomato sauce and fresh basil. A risotto dish will be fortified with roasted Brussels sprouts, asparagus and shaved Parmesan.
The menu will include a fresh sheet and rotating vegan and vegetarian offerings.
For dessert, he’ll whip up an olive oil cake with pickled berries and a champagne whipped cream with carbonated sugar, which is a nod to ‘80s-era Pop Rocks candy.
LaFranchi calls the menu “non pretentious with some fun touches, very playful and fresh.”
The restaurant will open with dinner-only service and will add happy hour later. There are no plans for lunch, but weekend brunch is a maybe for Perry. Stay tuned.
WHAT HAPPENS TO STREET EATS MOBILE EATERY?
LaFranchi’s next phase of his chef life doesn’t include his food truck, Street Eats Mobile Eatery, which he opened in the fall of 2018. He said he’s accomplished what he wanted to with the truck and it’s time to move on. He’s only selling the truck, though. He won’t be selling the recipes, concept or the rights to his catch phrase, “We just want to feed you.” Down the road, he’s thinking he’ll use those recipes at a brick-and-mortar location, but he has no definite plans. Reach out to LaFranchi here if interested in the truck.
PERRY’S COCKTAIL BAR
105 S. Meridian, Puyallup: instagram.com/perryscocktails
UPDATE: The restaurant opened March 1, 2010.
Did you hear that Tacoma’s St. Helens neighborhood is getting an upscale Mexican steakhouse? Cuerno Bravo Prime Steakhouse plans a March opening. You’re definitely going to want to check this restaurant out.