I had a chance to finally meet the woman behind Mary's Burger Bistro. We've been swapping emails for the last couple months and it was great for her to make time for me the day before opening. Here's a quick Q&A with her:
Q: Tell me a little about yourself. Do you live in Tacoma? If so how long?
A: I have been in Tacoma area since 1985. This bistro has been a life long dream. Went to high school while living in Anchorage Alaska, before coming here in 85. I am married, living in Steilacoom. I have 3 kids and 2 step kids. The youngest Caty will be hanging out with me at the bistro as she enjoys working with Mom. I originally was born in Spokane. I am one of 14 kids and this has been a family project.
Q: What led you to choose this spot in downtown Tacoma for your restaurant?
A: This is actually my 2nd location. I have been operating my deli S & P Shakers' at 27th & Yakima for 5 years gaining experience. One night while my older brother was in town, I mentioned an espresso stand and he said how about the building on 23 & Pacific that my younger brother spotted. So I feel blessed, because I got far more than I asked for. I have always wanting something downtown as far back as 1990 when I could have bought the Harmon building for cheap.
Q: What kind of improvements have you done to the space and what kind of experience are you going for?
A: The building was gutted inside and out. So no longer is there a boarded up building on 23rd. Due to no drive through rule with the city, we expanded onto the sidewalk with walk up window service and music playing outside while you wait. Want people to know they are not at a McDonalds so the half pound burger give us a little time to get it cooked. Friendly customer service where you will get to be known as a regular. Will have espresso in the morning by 6am with some awesome breakfast burritos or choose a fresh piece of fruit.
Peep the pictures below to see how great the place looks and the surprising amount of space they have in there. Good luck to Mary and her employees. We'll see you tomorrow!
Oh, and head over to the FeedTacoma forums for a fun little surprise.