Welcome to my series, "Checking it Out." I'm checking out places, so you don't have to.
...Unless you want to. That's cool, too.
For moms, finding a restaurant or shop that is accommodating to kids is like finding the Holy Grail of places. We are always searching for the place where both mom and kid can be happy. These rare, but beautiful places are perfect for meeting friends or just getting a change of pace from the house. With the winters here in the Pacific Northwest, we need awesome indoor activities because there are only so many puddles to jump in (and so much patience a mom has in getting completely drenched). Or, you can have my kid that doesn't like being cold, but doesn't like to wear a jacket either. Ugh!
I often find myself searching online for this Holy Grail of a place--always hoping a new place has opened or maybe the search this time will uncover something new. Or, if I hear "mom talk" about a potential place, I want to see if it'll truly be great before I actually go. Why? Because getting out of the house is a CHORE. I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but you have to corral the kid from running around the house, put on socks and shoes, get them in the car seat, go back in the house to grab them a snack because you forgot, drive to the place often with a whining kid in the back, get out of the car, put socks and shoes back on (remind me, why did I put them on at home again?), and then get them inside. Given this, I like to do some research before I go. Sadly, though, you don't often find all the information you want. For instance, I want to see what food/drink options are available, what exactly is kid-friendly about this place, photos (hopefully of someone with a happy kid), cleanliness, and does it look like a fun place to chill for a bit.
Let me introduce you to, "Checking it Out." Yup, I'm going to do my best to give you the 4-1-1 all the hot kid spots (oh 4-1-1, did you ever used to use that number? Did I just age myself there?). The caveat: 99% of the time, I'm with my son, so the photos aren't perfection and my brain will be split between evaluating the place in the moment and keeping an eye on my son.
One last thing before we dive into this. I'm going to rate places with thumbs up, thumbs down, or so-so (go to this video for clarification). I'm sorry to say, but I can be terrible at reviews. I know, that's the last thing you want to hear as you read a review post. But I find that if I use a 5-star system, I tend to default to 3.5 or 4 stars, which I'm going to try and avoid doing for you.
The Antique Sandwich Co. Review
Where is it?
It's located in Ruston on Pearl Street close to the entrance of Point Defiance at 5102 N Pearl St, Tacoma, WA 98407. It's a bit off the beaten path, but if you happen to be going to the zoo then you'll pass right by it.
What did I think of it?
Let's pretend we are in school and I had to do a word bubble of words to describe this place. Here are words I would write: eclectic, cluttered, outdated, warm, groups of people, homey, relaxed, hippy, locals, homemade. My husband and I have divided restaurants in Tacoma into two categories: old Tacoma and new Tacoma. Tacoma is growing and a lot of new businesses are coming in. These new places are more trendy and frankly feel more Seattle-like. These are "new Tacoma" places. Antique Sandwich Co fits squarely into our "old Tacoma" category. This doesn't mean it's bad, in fact, this place has been here a long time, tried-and-true, and an establishment of Ruston (Check this fun facts page out). So yea, it's been around and locals love it. The service was super friendly and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Take a Peek Inside.
You order at the front and then find a seat. The pastries are self-serve (they give you a place at the register for you to go get the pastry), but if you order a sandwich they'll bring it to you.
There is a lot going on inside. In the front is the register for orders, a menu on the wall, a pastry line-up along the counter, and a refrigerated case with pies. In the middle you'll see a little area with fair trade type things for sale, then there a stage with toys. Then the rest of the area is seating.
How is the Food?
In the time we've lived in Tacoma, we've been here about three or four times. We've been here for breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack. The sandwiches are decent. Nothing to write home about, though. I liked the freshness of the bread, but I wasn't keen on the shredded cheese. Spout-haters beware! I don't like sprouts and there were a ton on the sandwich. A solid sandwich, but it's not the first place I head to for a sandwich in Tacoma. For breakfast, the latte was mediocre - drinkable with caffeine, but not a coffee destination. The breakfast sandwich was good with fluffy eggs and cheese.
My least favorite food was when we came for an afternoon snack last weekend (that's when I took most of these pictures). We ordered a peanut butter cookie and a marionberry pie. I like peanut butter, but this felt like it was 98% peanut butter. It was dry and I needed something to help it down. The pie wasn't great either. The crust was darker in color - maybe they use whole wheat flour? And the crust was grainy and gummy. The berries were decent, so we ate those. Also, at the risk of sounding incredibly snooty, I wanted tea but it was all Celestial Seasoning tea. I can do that at home. I want some local tea! My husband kindly reminded me that sometimes it's more about the experience than the tea brand. He's good at brining me back to reality.
Is it Kid Friendly?
Yes! They were super sweet to Caleb and the customers also were friendly. For instance, an older gentleman offered a high five to Caleb. There is a stage area full of toys. The bummer is that the toys are very well loved. Some of the toys were missing pieces or broken. It felt like they were the toys you'd find at great grandma's house. That said, Caleb didn't seem to care at all and was very interested in the trucks.
The fact that we have only been here a few times over the past two-ish years says it's not a favorite. However, it is a good option for kids and you can get a standard sandwich that'll fill your tummy. I wouldn't say go out of your way, but if you need a hangout with friends with kids in Ruston or you're passing on your way to Point Defiance, then it would make a good spot. It seems like it's a hang out for both older people and families. Speaking of which, it seems they have a lot of groups meeting there - not sure who these groups are or what they do, but I'm guessing like book clubs or whatnot. I think it's mainly what experience you're looking for as to whether you'll enjoy yourself here. Are you coming for awesome food? Then maybe pass. Are you coming to talk with your friends and need to keep your kids entertained, so you can actually talk? Then this will probably fit the bill.
- Do they have High Chairs? Yes, and we saw about thee available.
- Can I bring my Stroller in? Yes, we saw some in there and it's a big enough place.
Quick Links and Other Info:
Have you been? tell me what you think with a comment!
Please note: I was not asked or paid to write these reviews. These were just my own opinions.