Beloved 13 Coins restaurant coming to Tacoma. Location plans underway
The iconic around-the-clock 13 Coins has held a decades-long reputation as a destination for wining and dining. It’s coveted for its private, high-back booths and the captain chairs providing a dinner-theater-style view of the galley kitchen, where flames from the grill seem perpetually on display.
One thing is for certain, 13 Coins, the beloved ‘60s-style supperclub restaurant from King County, is coming to Tacoma.
“We have no official announcement on a location, but we’re actively looking in Tacoma,” said owner Al Moscatel. “We’re just looking at multiple sites and figuring out the right timeline for us. We will be there. You can put it that way. We will definitely be in Tacoma.”
The decision to expand to Tacoma comes on the heels of another big expansion announcement for the institution that has operated Seattle-area restaurants since 1967.
The restaurant group announced earlier this year that 13 Coins will open on the Vancouver waterfront. That location will be the fourth for the restaurant group, which already operates in SeaTac, Pioneer Square and Bellevue.
The Vancouver 13 Coins will be tucked inside the Hotel Indigo, part of the project at The Waterfront Vancouver. Seattle-based El Gaucho also is opening at Vancouver’s Hotel Indigo.
13 COINS EXPANDING TO TACOMA
Tacoma’s development landscape at this moment feels right for the company.
“The redevelopment of the downtown area, the enhancement of public transportation and the growth on the waterfronts – not just Ruston, but also the Foss Waterway. All of that makes Tacoma attractive,” he said. “There’s a lot of energy in Tacoma.”
Moscatel described the company’s interest in the possibility of multiple Tacoma locations. In addition to opening a 13 Coins in Tacoma, the management team is reviewing locations for a sports bar concept, he said. And that sports bar concept could be located elsewhere in Pierce County, outside of Tacoma proper.
Gig Harbor? University Place? Puyallup? All of Pierce County is on the table.
THE MENU AT 13 COINS
The timeless menu is a collection of supper club American cuisine and classic breakfasts served (in typical times) around the clock – omelets, eggs Florentine and chicken fried steak, prawn cocktail, fried artichoke hearts, French onion soup, veal preparations, crab Louie salad, pastas, multiple cuts of steak and the restaurant’s famous “The Believer,” a massive mound of chicken parmesan. And bananas Foster for dessert. Always.
Complimentary crudite begins every meal. Its bar is lauded for a heavy pour. Bellying up to the counter is the must for a first-time visitor. The oversized captain’s chairs provide a cocoon for watching the dazzling saute work. Diners can hear, from nearly every corner of the space, the crew working on the line. “Full order fries! Tartar! Broccolini!” The call-and-response is ever present above the twinkling soundtrack of Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra.
Although the menu has shifted over the years and caught up with the times – they do have vegan food and an Impossible Burger on the menu now – one thing has never changed: Impeccable service from staff who carry the cadence of career servers. That and the decor that looks straight out of “Mad Men.”
With the exception of somebody who is new to the area or younger than 25, it’s a safe bet most locals in the region have a heartfelt memory of dining at a 13 Coins location. It’s a regional institution.
The restaurant group has expanded and shrunk over the years with locations coming and going from the Seattle area and beyond.
It’s traversed through three owners, with Moscatel leading the helm for about 15 years.
For generations of diners, the restaurant’s SeaTac location has been a 24-7 destination, especially for jet lagged travelers stepping off a plane in need of a respite in the middle of the night (this traveler included) or a place to park it before a flight.
THEN CAME THE PANDEMIC
The pandemic restrictions pushed 13 Coins to flex its model to include take-out, delivery, outdoor dining and a first-time reduction in operating hours for the restaurant that is notorious for operating 24-7.
“Covid was a very tough time. We’ve been 24 hours for so long, we never got to sit down as a senior leadership group and analyze everything,” said Moscatel.
Does that mean they’ll be ditching that “24-7” and “24 hour dining” taglines from the signage?
Moscatel said the restaurant group’s management team is still not sure if it will go back to offering around-the-clock service.
“We haven’t made a full decision to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” he said. “I think we can still do a very good job serving the community, which is important to me,” he said about scaling back hours. “It lets the restaurant rest a little bit. It lets the GM’s brain reset a little bit. But we’ll go back to getting late-night meals. We may not be 24 hours, but you’ll be able to get late-night meals.”
The restaurant group will make a more formal announcement about opening in Tacoma after the company finalizes its plans, Moscatel said.
SEATAC: 18000 International Blvd., SeaTac; 206-243-9500
PIONEER SQUARE: 255 S. King St., Seattle; 206-682-2513
BELLEVUE: 900 Bellevue Way NE, Suite 100, Bellevue; 425-455-1313
BOOM BOOM ROOM NOW OPEN ON SIXTH AVENUE
If you’re a fan of the midcentury interiors of all the 13 Coins locations, you most certainly need to see what’s inside the Boom Boom Room, new to Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue neighborhood. The lounge is filled floor to ceiling with vintage artifacts. The midcentury appeal extends from the cocktail menu to the cocktail glasses to the cushy booths. Be sure to pay a visit. Read more here.