Tacoma’s Old Town Wine Skins is open and kid friendly
The first thing you’ll notice about Old Town Wine Skins is how light and bright the space has become.
That’s the work of co-owner Cosette Pfaff, who opened the wine bar and eatery on Monday in Tacoma’s Old Town neighborhood. The space formerly housed Montamara Kitchen, which closed last year. The footprint shifted a bit with the addition of a wine bar and high-top seating, as well as a significant lighting makeover.
It’s that light-and-bright interior that will attract parents with kids in search of an environment friendly to both grownups and children.
The wine bar opened with limited capacity, in keeping with current pandemic restrictions. There’s typically seating for about 40, but right now, there’s room for about 20.
THE ORIGIN STORY OF OLD TOWN WINE SKINS
As I reported back in July in this story, Cosette and John have both worked in businesses that intersect with restaurants, but this is their first food business together. Cosette currently teaches at PLU and John has worked in and around restaurants for chunks of his careers. He grew up in a cattle family that raised beef on the Snake River. Cosette learned her appreciation for wine and food from her Italian grandmother.
MENU NOTES AT OLD TOWN WINE SKINS
The menu is a conglomeration of family recipes from both sides of their families.
And John has created plenty of new recipes for the restaurant, including his fresh-baked baguettes. The fresh-from-the-oven bread comes with a delicious chewy resistance and is served with salted butter. You’re going to want to visit just to get a taste of that bread.
They’re doing a slow roll on the opening. The menu will be a bit limited to start. If there’s one thing you order, make it the cheese plate. It was curated with help from Jessica Armstrong, who most recently worked at Pacific Grill in downtown Tacoma before it closed permanently in September. Armstrong now works for high-end food purveyor Peterson Foods. She worked with Pfaff to design this beautiful cheese plate.
The board in its current incarnation includes Whatcom blue from Twin Sisters creamery near Bellingham, Cypress Grove goat cheese, a pimento cheese with a lick of heat, and a merlot-washed cheddar. Dried fruit – cranberries, apricots, figs and dates – rounded out the plate, which was served alongside crackers from Tacoma’s The Art of Crunch. Value is a focus at Old Town Wine Skins and it shows on the cheese plate, which was built big enough to be supper.
There’s also a meat board ($15), olives and valencia almonds ($10), a kale Caesar with smoked salmon ($15) and spicy Cajun shrimp ($15). For dessert, there’s creme brulee ($7).
THE WINE, BEER AND CIDER LIST
For reds, find eight by-the-glass selections ($6 to $12.50) and 17 by the bottle ($32 to $200). Whites are split between 17 by-the-glass ($6 to $14) and 17 by-the-bottle selections ($25 to $80).
The list is Washington heavy and features local wineries you won’t find on just every wine list, such as Portteus from Rattlesnake Hills and the sustainable estate winery Amavi Cellars from Walla Walla.
In fact, the wine list reads like my annual summer family wine trip to Walla Walla: Woodward Canyon, Leonetti, Amavi, Saviah and Rasa Vineyards. I appreciate the focus on sourcing local. This is a great spot to discover your next favorite Washington winery.
Beer geeks will find plenty to be happy about on the beer list, which includes 13 choices in bottle or can ($5 to $13) and covers the basics, such as Rainier to Georgetown’s Bodhizafa. Also find two ciders from Bad Granny ($6) and fancy sodas for kids or grownups ($3). There’s also coffee from Tacoma’s Valhalla and Mad Hat Tea.
What I really appreciate about Old Town Wine Skins is its affordability. Pfaff told me in July, when I first wrote about the wine bar, that she worries nearby retirees on a fixed income 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.
And on that, she delivers. I spotted multiple glasses in the $6 to $7 range that would make for an affordable night out. Get in there.
OLD TOWN WINE SKINS
Where: 2208 N 30th St Suite #101, Tacoma; 253-267-5325
NOW OPEN: SPICE LAB
Did you catch my story on Sunday about Spice Lab? It’s downtown Tacoma’s newest destination for upscale food in a casual spot. Spice Lab has opened inside The Harmon. Read more here.