The Main Ingredient opening in Tacoma’s Stonegate Pizza space. (Hint: NY style pizza)
Coming soon to South Tacoma Way is The Main Ingredient, a combo pizzeria and breakfast spot operating in the same space that formerly housed Stonegate Pizza.
The restaurant comes from Leland and Cristina Brechbiel, who are newcomers to owning a restaurant in Tacoma, but not newcomers to the restaurant world.
The Arizona transplants have restaurant experience. Leland’s first wife’s family owned a cluster of Mexican restaurants that he assisted in running. Cristina’s extended family also has a history with restaurants.
They hope to open in July, but what that looks like and when depends on permitting, plus Pierce County’s timeline for moving into the next phases for Covid-19 reopening.
The space is big and encompasses two sides of a building, just like Stonegate did. Jeff Call opened Stonegate in 2009 and it lasted a decade on South Tacoma Way. It originally opened as a pizza restaurant using a recipe from Larry Turco, Call’s uncle, who was the guy behind the original pizza dough recipe at Tacoma’s famous Cloverleaf Tavern. Call also added a rum bar with live music that was a nightlife destination.
The Main Ingredient will offer pizza, pasta, sub sandwiches and chicken wings in one half of the building. The other half of the building will host a breakfast-focused spot with bagels, breakfast burritos and other quick-service eats.
Once they open for dine-in service and are fully operational, they intend to serve a full-concept breakfast menu with a focus on Mexican recipes.
“It will be two separate restaurants that will share the same kitchen,” explained Leland Brechbiel. “We feel this model allows us to maximize both spaces, working together but separate. The breakfast side, using the kitchen in the morning, with a little crossover at lunch between the sides, as the breakfast menu winds down and the kitchen begins to focus on the pizza and wing menu,” he said.
They’re working out an opening timeline now. When they do open, they intend for take-out, but also well-spaced tables indoors and out to accommodate diners safely.
As a surgical nurse at his day job, he understands how much labor is involved in sanitizing. “I hope that my 17+ years of working in the operating room under sterile conditions will help people feel safer about how we will offer our service,” he said.
THE PIZZERIA MENU
“When the opportunity arose to revive the old Stonegate building, which had most of the equipment left in it, it just seemed like a natural choice to keep it a pizzeria,” he said.
“The Main Ingredient Pizzeria will be operated out of the 5419 side of the building that has the bar,” explained Leland. “It will be an approximately 60-seat, family-friendly, tableside service restaurant, with a 6-seat bar.”
He added, “We will serve a New York style pizza crust and offer a creative monthly special. We will have a 9-inch personal size and a large 18-inch family size. One of our goals will be to offer a Monday through Friday select menu of lunch specials where customers, from the time they order until it reaches their table, will be 10 minutes.”
They’ll have pizza-by-the-slice available for quick service, along with sandwiches, soups and salads.
He added, “… the pizza crust and all sauces will be scratch, as well as the salad dressings and tempura batter for appetizers. The sub rolls will be sourced from a local Tacoma bakery with simple ingredients.”
Moving into the evening pizzeria menu, Leland said the menu will include bone-in wings and boneless wing options with sauce choices that include “golden hot to sweet and spicy Asian sauce, to Mexican spices, and the traditional buffalo (prepared our way), and thick, sticky barbecue.”
He’ll have pizza bites, caprese salad bites, crostinis and tempura battered chicken strips and more on the appetizer menu. The sub sandwich menu will include a traditional Italian sub, a Philly cheesesteak sandwich, a sauteed vegetable sandwich and pastrami with ‘kraut. A few pasta dishes will be included, such as a lemon chicken with a cream sauce, plus a marinara, alfredo and garlic-olive oil.
The Italian sub will be a nod to a sandwich Leland grew up eating in Arizona. “One of my favorite childhood memories was my mom picking us up Italian subs from a place called Appetito’s, which is no longer around. It was started by some people from New York and the quality of food they served, I can still taste it. From the fresh baked bread with fine cornmeal still stuck to the bottom, to the thinly sliced lettuce tomato and onion, to the homemade creamy Italian dressing, which I have now re-created and will serve at TMI Pizzeria.”
He added, “ It’s still so fresh in my memory, even though that was 30+ years ago. It’s food memories like that, that we wish to create for our future customers. Cristina has similar childhood memories, but the common theme for both of us has been that food brings family and friends together, and if the food is amazing, the experience becomes richer.”
Expect happy hour service eventually. They’ll keep the 14 taps that Stonegate operated. Find a list of craft beers and ciders, plus a bottled beer selection. Their specialty cocktail menu will include a machine that will churn out frozen cocktails topped with Italian liqueurs, such as amaretto and limoncello.
Expect a game to always be on at The Main Ingredient’s bar. “The pizzeria will also have 8-10 televisions for sports. I’m a big football fan, so we will have the Sunday Ticket in order to air multiple games at once during the season.”
On the 5421 side of the building will be the breakfast restaurant. Expect a menu of bagel sandwiches, panini breakfast sandwiches and breakfast burritos. There will be a series of menu items with Mexican influences, which are recipes from Cristina’s and Leland’s experiences working in restaurants.
Leland’s struggle with asthma and food sensitivities will translate into a menu that can be modified for diners with food allergies and sensitivities.
They plan for gluten-free options. Vegetarians will find menu items, as well.
Leland’s diet requires that he skip stabilizers, preservatives and other food additives, so expect most everything to be made from scratch and in-house. When they can’t make it themselves, Leland said they’ll source from a local business that makes its food with as few ingredients as possible.
They’re hoping for a July opening, but are waiting on permit approvals. They’ll also open carefully to comply with all dining restrictions depending on which phase Pierce County reaches by the time The Main Ingredient opens.
THE MAIN INGREDIENT PIZZERIA
Where: 5419 South Tacoma Way
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