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Restaurant Rally – perfect carnitas tacos and beef on weck

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Today, I’m featuring Fiesta Taqueria and Cooper’s Food and Drink, two outstanding restaurants you should visit for Pierce County’s Restaurant Rally. 

I’ll be writing about locally owned restaurants throughout the rally, which takes place Nov. 8-12 and Nov. 15-19 at about 300 participating restaurants all over Pierce County. (Friday and Saturday dining is excluded).

Restaurants that participate in Restaurant Rally give diners a 30 percent discount off the menu. 

The lounge and bar at Fiesta Taqueria in South Hill.

That 30 percent offer is good for dine-in service or take-out meals – so if you’re skipping dining inside a restaurant right now, you can still participate in the deal by ordering directly from the restaurant via phone (third-party delivery/ordering is not included in the program). Where applicable, I will note if the restaurant has outdoor seating, and whether it’s covered and heated.

Read to the end of this article for more info on Restaurant Rally, or click here.

Chile relleno at Fiesta Taqueria.

FIESTA TAQUERIA

Mexican restaurant Fiesta Taqueria expanded right in the middle of the pandemic, adding a second location in South Hill, which is a short drive up the hill from its original location in downtown Puyallup. The restaurant comes from  Ramesh Kumar, who also owns Karma Indian Cuisine in South Hill. 

Carnitas tacos at Fiesta Taqueria in Puyallup.

Fiesta Taqueria’s focus is on family-friendly dining with an attached bar with an excellent selection of tequila and mezcal (although alcohol is excluded in the Restaurant Rally, make a note of it).

Chips and salsa, plus bean dip, at Fiesta Taqueria.

Every meal starts with the same offering for most sit-down Mexican restaurants: chips and salsa. But Fiesta Taqueria takes those chips and salsa next level with a garlicky bean dip, verde salsa, a typical restaurant salsa and habanero is available if you ask for it. 

I’ll steer you to the chile relleno, a poblano dipped in an egg batter, stuffed with cheese, and fried until crispy outside, creamy-gooey inside, served with beans and rice ($12.99). Delicate, long-cooked tripe is sunk deep into the chile-flecked broth in the menudo, accompanied by a spice-and-herb tray with fresh chopped cilantro, plus tortillas ($13.75). 

Tacos al carbon from Fiesta Taqueria.

Sometimes I’ll just assemble a meal from the appetizer and a la carte street taco menu. 

The carnitas street tacos are built with slow-cooked pork crisped on the grill just before stuffing into warmed double-layered corn tortillas with a creamy verde sauce, onions and fresh cilantro ($2.50 each). The ceviche appetizer comes with a copious pile of lime-kissed shrimp stacked deep on crunchy corn tostadas. It’s more sweet than spicy and accompanied by a ($11.25) 

Shrimp ceviche at Fiesta Taqueria.

Lastly, check out the tacos al carbon with steak. They’re filled with grilled steak, stuffed into a tortilla that’s been quickly dipped in a ranchero sauce, then fried to order ($16.75). 

FIESTA TAQUERIA

https://www.fiestataqueriaandtequilabar.com/

Downtown Puyallup: 506 N Meridian; 253-445-6525

South Hill: 10312 120th St E; 253-446-7016

NOTES: Open for lunch and dinner daily. Restaurant Rally is only applicable on dining out Sunday-Thursday dining Nov. 8-12 and Nov. 15-19. No third-party delivery is included, take-out customers should order directly from the restaurant by phone.

Sandwich
The Beef Weck at Cooper’s Food & Drink.

COOPER’S FOOD AND DRINK 

Cooper’s Food and Drink is the culmination of about three years of planning and labor by local restaurant owners, Greg and Tanya Troger, who also co-own The Forum restaurants in Puyallup and Tacoma, also participating in Restaurant Rally. 

Cooper’s opened this summer with a distinct neighborhood feel and a menu of burgers, sandwiches, pizzas and other casual cuisine and cocktails prepared in a style superior to most neighborhood restaurants. 

Patio
The patio lounge area at Cooper’s Food & Drink in Tacoma.

Longtime locals will know the space as Barb’s Westgate Inn (and a bunch of other bars before that), but it most recently was called Westgate Bar & Grill. Cooper’s has been completely made over in a quite attractive spot with a covered, heated patio for 21-and-older diners.

The menu is built to satisfy parents and kids alike. The kid-friendly menu includes $7 meals with four entree choices – mac and cheese, chicken strips, sliders and grilled cheese – with a drink and choice of fries, salad or fruit. 

fried pickles
Deep fried pickle spears from Cooper’s Food & Drink in Tacoma.

For grownups, the appetizer menu provides deep choices in cocktail-and-beer-friendly eats. Grab a beer (but remember booze is excluded from the discount) and an order of the pimento cheese dip served with toasted pita ($10), or the fried pickles coated in a seasoned panko and served as big, steamy hot spears (not breaded chips). It comes with a side of smoky house sauce ($10). If you need more to snack on, order deviled eggs ($10), a meat-and-cheese platter ($18) or three kinds of wings ($14). 

Did I mention happy hour runs every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.? Yeah, I thought you’d like to know that. Don’t miss the mai tai modeled after the one served at Hawaii’s Monkey Pod. 

Sandwich
The Beef Weck is a sandwich that’s destined to be popular at Cooper’s Food & Drink in Tacoma.

The entree menu tops out at $16, making this among the most affordable options in the area. 

Whatever you order from the sandwich menu, make it the Beef Weck, the restaurant’s take on the regionally famous New York sandwich. They slice the roast beef super thin – and do note that all meat cutting is done in house, nothing arrives pre-sliced. Then, the beef is dipped in a salty, beefy au jus, then piled on a salted caraway bun. Creamy horseradish comes on the side. Co-owner Tanya Troger has a tip: order an extra side of au jus for dipping. This one is good for dining in, but the bun can get soggy for take-out, so skip that.

cocktail
A barrel-aged old fashioned from Cooper’s Food & Drink in Tacoma.

The soups travel well for take-out and the Cooper’s French onion soup, as with The Forum, is one of my favorites, along with local Alsatian restaurant Citron European Bistro

Brunch is served weekends, FYI. 

COOPERS FOOD & DRINK 

Where: 5928 N. 26th St., Tacoma; 253-503-0329

Web: https://cooperstacoma.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CoopersTacoma/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/CoopersTacoma

NOTES: Open daily for lunch and dinner, weekend brunch. Kids meals, outdoor covered and heated patio for diners 21 and older, vegan and gluten-free options. Restaurant Rally is only applicable on dining out Sunday-Thursday dining Nov. 8-12 and Nov. 15-19. No third-party delivery is included, take-out customers should order directly from the restaurant by phone.

PIERCE COUNTY RESTAURANT RALLY INFORMATION 

  1. Third-party ordering and delivery services, such as Uber Eats, Grub Hub and Door Dash, are excluded from the program because the program is intended to directly support local restaurants, not give money to technology companies. (Read more about why that is here).
  2. Tipping etiquette suggests diners should tip on the full amount of the bill, not the discounted amount. Treat servers well, they’re stressed enough as it is.
  3. State regulations require dining room capacity remain at 50 percent, and only dining parties of 6 and fewer will be seated
  4. Make a reservation if the restaurant accepts them. Cancel the reservation if you can’t keep your reservation. Empty tables = lost revenue.
  5. Booze is excluded from the promotion.
  6. Diners can get the 30 percent discount on dine-in service and take-out meals at participating restaurants. Confirm with the restaurant that they’re participating before you order.

Restaurant owners have advice for how you can navigate Restaurant Rally here in this story.

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