Lumpia Love has a brick and mortar restaurant in Tacoma for the first time
For the first time, Filipino mobile restaurant Lumpia Love has a brick-and-mortar location in Tacoma.
At least for a few more weeks.
The next two weekends, diners can pick up lumpia, pancit, sio pao, musubi and other Filipino favorites from the Tacoma take-out location that Lumpia Love owner Lynette Boado has been operating from since February.
Pickup is at The Gourmet Niche in the Narrows end of Sixth Ave in Tacoma. That shared kitchen space has evolved into a food hub in Tacoma over the last decade.
Some of the best eats in Tacoma come out of that commissary kitchen space, but it’s never been a place where diners could just drop by unannounced and pick up food – until now.
THE GOURMET NICHE POP-UP RESTAURANTS
Not only can diners pick up lumpia from Lumpia Love, but also blocky slabs of pizza from Tacoma Pie, Tacoma’s only Detroit-style pizza restaurant that also operates out of The Gourmet Niche.
Drop-in hours are a new thing for The Gourmet Niche. Typically, diners would have to make an appointment for pick-up from a food producer operating out of the kitchen.
“It’s the first for The Gourmet Niche, but I wanted to pivot with COVID and let both companies have the opportunity to try it out,” said Bette Anne Curry, owner of The Gourmet Niche. Curry is also a longtime local caterer.
For years, The Gourmet Niche has served as a health-department approved shared cooking space for small food businesses. Operators rent kitchen time from The Gourmet Niche, allowing many food operators to use the location as their home base or commissary (a health department requirement for certain kinds of mobile food businesses).
Cinnamon rolls, cookies, Paleo eats, tacos, pizza, lumpia, fresh-baked bread. The Gourmet Niche is among Tacoma’s most diverse kitchens if we’re talking cuisine style. It has been home to so many food operators, I’ve lost track. (But read to the end of this story for a list of food operators I like and think you should put on your radar, and also check out the list at The Gourmet Niche’s website).
For now, Lumpia Love and Tacoma Pie are the only pop-ups serving directly to consumers on a regular drop-in schedule.
“The Art of Crunch and Woodland Sunrise have pick ups available with an appointment-only status. I’m hoping to evolve into a more open-door policy with our food vendors. Structurally, we will need more of a pop-up environment – next door or on the sidewalk,” said Curry.
For now, Lynette Boado’s lumpia and Detroit-style pizza from Dean Shivers should be on your radar for dinner pick-up. This weekend is a perfect time to sample both. Come back to my website tomorrow for a feature about Tacoma Pie.
LUMPIA LOVE IS A LABOR OF LOVE
Boado has operated her mobile lumpia business since 2013, primarily selling at farmers markets. Puyallup Farmers Market regulars will recognize her as the smiling woman offering hand-rolled lumpia that she freshly fries to order at her food stand. She also sells frozen packs ready to take home.
She describes her food as Filipino-American and pan-Asian, a collision of the food she grew up learning to make from her grandmother and mother and adding her own modern twists.
“I guess you would describe my style as traditional with a Filipino-American twist,” she said last year when I wrote about her farmers market pop-up restaurant. “I am a third-generation Filipina born and raised in Tacoma so the Filipino-American aspect is definitely in there.”
She’s also a second-generation food business owner, following in her mother’s footsteps. Her mom operated Lynda’s Lumpia in the 1980s. Boado’s mom was among the first food vendors at the Tacoma Farmers Market.
Following that model, Boado also has built her business through farmers markets.
Rolling lumpia by hand is a laborious process. Boado gets help from her mother, who also sometimes assists at the farmers markets.
A nephew and other family members also help out. At the end of a farmers market day, Boado usually is exhausted, which is why she’ll put a pause on lumpia pick-up at The Gourmet Niche during the farmers market season, which begins for her in April. Find her at the Puyallup Market and check her schedule here.
For the next two weekends, find Boado at The Gourmet Niche. Online ordering makes the pick-up process super easy. Pickup will be available on March 19, March 20 and March 27.
Narrows neighbors are starting to discover her lumpia and Boado is happy to pick up new fans.
“We put this big old flag outside that says ‘lumpia’ and some of the neighbors came in when they saw the sign,” said Boado. “We encourage people to order online, but if they’re not into using that technology, they can stop by and pick up.”
Operating out of the space has allowed her to expand her menu some. “I’ve been trying new things and adding new items,” she said. “One new thing we have kept since the past two weeks that we haven’t had before is adobo fried rice.”
For newcomers to Lumpia Love, my advice?
Always order extra lumpia. Find her menu here.
Serving: Out of the Gourmet Niche through March, 7104 Sixth Ave., Tacoma
Serving days at Gourmet Niche: March 19, March 20, March 27
THE GOURMET NICHE
THESE FOOD OPERATORS USE THE GOURMET NICHE AS A HOME BASE
Boss Mama’s Kitchen
Jen Gustin’s popular burger truck is known for producing enormous three-napkin burgers with a side of outstanding customer service. The garlic fries are darn good, too. Gustin took a bit of time off this winter while her truck was being upgraded, but she’s back in action as of the first week of this month. Find out where Gustin is serving next on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Boss-Mamas-Kitchen-235823466752422/
Dean Shivers is a guy known more for his cocktails than his pizza. But you’ll definitely want to get to know his pizza. Fans of Smoke + Cedar and Crown Bar will recall Shivers from when he ran the bars at both those Tacoma spots. These days, he’s elbow deep in dough at The Gourmet Niche with pickup a few days a week. His style of pizza is Detroit-style. It’s baked into thick squares with a crunchy, cheesy edge and served in fat slabs that are a few inches thick. Order in advance. These pies reheat spectacularly at home. Find out his hours and what he’s cooking here: https://www.tacomapie.com/
The Art of Crunch
Rhonda Hamlin has been making her famous biscotti and cookie bars since 2011, but the idea for her baking company came long before that. In 2002, the Puyallup native entered her biscotti in a Washington State Fair baking competition. She took the blue ribbon for her white chocolate-dipped cranberry biscotti. Find out more about Rhonda’s biscotti and cookie bars at her website here: http://www.theartofcrunch.com/
Upper Crust Bistro & Bakery
If you lived in the North End a decade ago, you would remember Loren Robinson’s popular bistro. He closed his brick-and-mortar location in 2011 and moved his baking to The Gourmet Niche. He’s built a reputation as a staple at farmers markets. Find his breads, scones, cookies, brownies and more at the Proctor Farmers Market. Check out what he’s got cooking at his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Upper-Crust-Bistro-Bakery-55885395686
Carolina Konkol’s bakery, Woodland Sunrise, exited its brick-and-mortar location in Gig Harbor last year and she is currently producing her baked goods at The Gourmet Niche. Konkol’s cookies are edible works of art. Also find treasures such as handmade caramel-filled gnomes and hot cocoa bombs. Did I mention the alfajores cookie packs? Find out what Konkol’s creating these days on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WOODLANDSUNRISENORTHWEST
WINE PICKUP NEXT DOOR
Don’t forget to pick up wine to pair with dinner at neighborhood wine shop, Wildside Wine.