We're moving to Tacoma, WA...
August 30, 2006 10:35 PM   Subscribe

Any Tacoma Me-Fites? We're moving to Tacoma WA and need recommendations for various things.

So my husband and I are taking the plunge into home-ownership, and that means we are moving from Seattle to Tacoma (since the cost of a house is about half of what is in Seattle).

Assuming the deal goes through and we get the house (and we are hopeful even though we know the deal isn't final until we have the keys in our sweaty little hands), we'd be living in S. Tacoma, off S. 38th St near I-5.

I'd appreciate recommendations for the following services, but feel free to include something else that you think would be helpful (a great grocery store, restaurants, etc.)

1. moving company
The total distance is about 38 miles. I'm wavering between renting a truck and calling in favors from friends and moving everything ourselves in one day or hiring a moving company to schlepp our stuff. (We'd pack everything ourselves. We just want to hire someone to load and unload the stuff.)

2. Vet in S. Tacoma area
We have two dogs and a cat.

3. Beer and coffee
Any nice pubs and coffeehouses we should know about?

4. Auto mechanic

Thanks for your help.
posted by luneray to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
I've just sent an email to my sister who lives in Puyallup, about 20 minutes southeast of where you'll be and might be able to give some tips. (I just looked at the map for the first time in easily five years, and was surprised at how big Puyallup is. No wonder their fair is so awesome!) Hey, you could also go to the fair and ask around in the animal barns. (If that doesn't creep you out too much.)

As someone who has gone the hiring route (for just the unloading) I have to say, it is worth every penny. Especially if you happen to need to move things upstairs (or in our case, elevators) your tired and frazzled mind will be so happy. I would suggest asking people in Seattle if they know of reputable Seattle companies for loading and Tacoma moving companies that just do the unloading. You'll probably at least find help on the Seattle end and maybe people who know folks who've moved to Tacoma.
posted by bilabial at 6:41 AM on August 31, 2006

Well, I've lived (both at 56th and in NE Tacoma) and still have family who live (84th) in that area. 38th and I5 can be a very rough neighborhood.

Having said that:
1) I've had excellent luck with All My Sons in that area, very nice.

3) Great little pub here Engine House No. 9

In general, 38th street area is very latino and I think Vietnamese as well. You're not going to find cute pubs or brewhouses there. You'll have much more luck in central or north Tacoma.

Here is a map of neighborhoods and you're right in South Tacoma.

In terms of nice grocery stores, probably the Safeway on 38th is the nicest around. I'm in Tacoma several times a week. Anyway good luck, and remember Tacoma isn't as bad as everyone makes it out to be.
posted by patrickje at 1:43 PM on August 31, 2006

Welcome to the Aroma!

I grew up in South Tacoma (where my parents still live) and while I can't recommend a good vet, moving company, or auto mechanic because I moved away from T-town in '95, I have e-mailed my parents and some of my Tacoma-based friends about those things and I'll pass along whatever info they return.

The city has some issues when it comes to night life and creating a space for cultural cohesion though the efforts I've seen on my return visits home are a vast improvement over a lot of what was offered in my youth. In particular, the revitalized downtown space with the union square and museum of glass etc is a nice effort and should be supported. Since my own High School days, I've been a fan of the area near Stadium / Wright Park and the stuff up Division Ave (well, more when it becomes 6th Ave -- which is also where you'll find one of the better Indian restaurants in Tacoma: Gateway to India - 2603 6th Ave).

Anyway, for bars I don't know your scene but try the Swiss (1904 S. Jefferson Ave.) or Magoo's (2710 N 21ST St.), or even the Spar (2121 N. 30th Street).

For that, OMG I'm in a giant teapot! kind of feeling, don't forget Bob's Java Jive (2102 South Tacoma Way).

Some other things to note: Tacoma Book Center (324 E 26th St. or, close to the dome) is probably the best used bookstore near you. I go there every time I visit. It took me a couple of years to understand how good this place was (but that was because I foolishly confined myself to the fiction section when I was younger). The Grand Cinema (606 S. Fawcett Ave) may still be the only place to see your more indie / art films. Please ignore the Hail Satan! site design, but for rock at a bar you're best bet is probably "Hell's Kitchen" (3829 6th Ave). I see the Melvins are coming through (ha! back in the day the Melvins played with Nirvana at Legends which, if I recall correctly was in a little more of the "hilltop" neighborhood which had a bad rep at the time; somehow I doubt the show will be quite as good as that one). If you're looking for a little more T-Town local action, I put forward The F'cking Eagles -- who will be playing Hell's Kitchen in early Nov.

On the right night, a walk down the Ruston Way can be quite fine -- though I'm not going to get into the parks and other things because then there's Point Defiance or a ball game at Cheney Stadium, it's actually a decent mid-sized city these days and I can't nail all the good stuff down...Enjoy!
posted by safetyfork at 1:55 PM on August 31, 2006

The pizza at Big Nick’s is really good, just ALWAYS have it delivered. Going in, you WILL be accosted by barflies at the dives to either side of it.

I hear that Gari Sushi is pretty good (on 38th)

There is a Chinese place on 6th and Pine that is really good (for Americanized Chinese food) and the owners are super nice.

Porters BBQ is next to the La Quinta on Portland and I-5. I think Mrs. Porter herself is usually in there aworkin.

It’s Greek to Me is a good Gyro. It’s on the corner where 6th and Division meet.

If you keep going west on 6th there is a little deli/convenience store that has the kickyest assenist sandwiches ever. It’s on the left and I can never for the life of me remember what it is called. Try the tomato and red pepper soup.

The Swiss is a decent bar and has pretty good food, but don’t go on the weekends. It turns into a meat market.

I agree about the Safeway on 38th. It was recently remodeled and is pretty nice.

Right down the street is a shabby looking Asian Market that has really good deals on veggies, garlic, and weird ass candy.

I bought a house on E 38th a year ago today, and indeed it is not as bad as everyone says. There are a few holdover “crack houses” but I think the area is getting better and better. There are definitely a few neighborhood areas that I wouldn’t go walking around in, but the same can be said of pretty much any city I have lived in.

If you work in Seattle, consider the train or the Sounder bus from the Tacoma Dome station. I do the commute every day and it is really not as bad as folks make it out to be. I sleep though most traffic jams.

Also, play Comcast against Click Network and get a killer deal on TV and internet! (I recommend Comcast for their much higher bandwidth btw.)
posted by Chickenjack at 2:21 PM on August 31, 2006

Um, that should be wierd-ass candy, not weird ass candy.

It's all in the stresses folks. =)
posted by Chickenjack at 2:31 PM on August 31, 2006 [1 favorite]

My sister says:

Hey there. I don't know of any moving companies or vets but as far as bars go The Swiss is awesome. Also Rock Pasta makes the best pizza and you can get a great beer. I think they still brew their own. Downtown Tacoma is the place to go. Farmers Market on Thursday mornings, lots of coffeehouses and antiqueing if they are into that sort of thing. Glad Ernesto was a dud. Talk to you later. Enjoy your canned food.
posted by bilabial at 2:30 AM on September 1, 2006

Here's the collected skinny on fixin cats, dogs, and cars from some of my contacts -- note: not all of these are in Tacoma proper (and no one knew of a moving company):
1. Portland Avenue Small Animal Hospital 7418 Portland Ave E Tacoma, WA 98404
Dr. Wright is a crazy old man but knows everything and the visit is usually equal parts fun and helpful. My animals always come out better for his attentions.

2. Puyallup Veterinary on Main St. (Dr. Ferris).

1. Billy Bob's Offroad on South Hill 7418 Portland Ave E Tacoma, WA 98404
Good rates and they work fast. Don't write them off because of the name!

2. Ron's Automotive 3224 E Portland Ave Tacoma, WA 98404.

3. Lindsey Tire for brakes, tires, and front end work. Harold is the salt of the earth type of guy.

4. Niels of "Niels Wheels". By appointment only. Specializes in european makes (he's a big German metalhead). It's a referral type situation though.
posted by safetyfork at 6:30 AM on September 1, 2006

posted by safetyfork at 6:30 AM on September 1, 2006

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