Old Town is getting a new restaurant in former Montamara space
Old Town Wine Skins is coming to Tacoma’s Old Town neighborhood.
Late August or later is the target opening timeframe for the wine bar and small-plates cafe that will be across the street from The Spar. The eatery and bar is at 2208 N. 30th St., in the former home of Montamara Kitchen, which closed in November. UPDATE: The wine bar opened on October 19, 2020. You can read more about the opening menu and other details here.
The business comes from PLU business professor Cosette Pfaff and her husband John, who is a longtime self-taught foodie and the food inspiration behind the restaurant. His family raised cattle on the Snake River, so he’s a guy who knows his way around beef.
Cosette Pfaff is the oenophile who grew up with an appreciation for wine from her Italian grandmother. She has an approach to building a wine list that diners will love: affordable and interesting.
Cosette’s past work has intersected with restaurants and John has had careers in a variety of fields, including restaurants, but this is the first time they’ve owned a food-and-beverage business together of this kind.
It’s also a pretty fun second act.
“We want to do something together in the second half of our lives,” said Pfaff. “We’ve never worked together. We’ve been crazy busy raising kids and now this is the next thing for us.”
“We thought, ‘Let’s do something fun together.’ We’ve been talking about this forever,” she said.
That conversation started with an idea for selling tacos at a pop-up food stand at farmers markets or a food truck, but the labor did not pencil out.
What they wanted, ultimately, was a gathering place. They settled on a combination wine lounge and eatery not far from their home in Proctor.
KID-FRIENDLY SCENE AT OLD TOWN WINE SKINS
The 40-seat space will be friendly to families with kids. Pfaff said she envisions parents popping by for an early meal. Her small plates will be flexible for appetites and palates with kid-friendly food available, as well as more complicated plates for the parents.
“We’ll have a good selection of tea, coffee. And soda for the kids,” she said. “We want people to feel comfortable and have a place to gather and talk even if we have to talk between plastic shields.” She said the space will be designed to encourage conversations, but when a big game is on, Old Town Wine Skins will be a place where sports lovers can gather and watch whatever’s playing on the televisions. Cosette and John are both huge sports fans.
Beer and cider will also be on the menu, which will feature a menu of all bottles, no taps.
Pfaff said she also wants to appeal to nearby retirees on a fixed income, who she’s afraid are getting priced out of local eateries. “I don’t want somebody who is 72 paying $9 for a house pour. I want them to come in and say, ‘I can get some real value and pay $6 and get a good house pour,’” she said. She’ll channel her family’s Italian heritage and source solid Italian wines for a good price. She also plans to offer Washington wines on the menu.
The menu theme will be small plates with crossover appeal for a broad contingent of palates. John, the chef, will be baking his own baguettes, serving pork sliders and fancy eggs, both pickled and deviled, plus offering an assortment of meat-and-cheese plates, seafood dishes and more.
They plan to incorporate family recipes from both sides of their families.
Dessert will be an important part of that menu. “My creme brulee recipe is from my Italian grandmother. My love of wine came from her. The other grandmother from the South, I have her Nanaimo bar recipe,” she said.
The opening timeline is flexible, depending on where the state is with its reopening phases and when they get their permits approved, but don’t expect an opening before late August. For starters, they’ll keep much of the menu focused on to-go. “About 70 percent of the menu will pack well and travel well as a to-go option,” she said.
OLD TOWN WINE SKINS
Where: 2208 N 30th St Suite #101, Tacoma
UPDATE: This restaurant opened October 19, 2020. You can read more about it here.
COOPER’S FOOD & DRINK NOW OPEN IN WESTGATE
Speaking of family-friendly destinations with something for both parents and kids, did you see that Cooper’s Food & Drink in Tacoma’s Westgate neighborhood is finally open? It’s been a long time coming. Here’s my first look at the restaurant, which has a killer cocktail list and beef on weck, a sandwich tough to find around here.