Category Archives: Tacoma Places

5 Question Friday With Sharayah Kinney From The Tacoma Tool Library

green-horizontal.pngLast week someone mentioned the opening of the Tacoma Tool Library. I had never heard of it but it sounded like an interesting idea. I contacted Sharayah Kinney at the Tacoma Tool Library and asked if she would like to join me for a 5 Question Friday to tell us more about it. She happily agreed. Here’s Sharayah.

1. What is the Tacoma Tool Library?

Tacoma Tool Library is a community project whose goal is to develop a sustainable, community tool lending library in Tacoma that is accessible to residents regardless of income. The library provides low cost access to shared tools and other durable goods, and encourages re-use, repair, and reduced consumption. In addition, it hosts a safe community space for learning how to use household tools, and empowers Tacoma residents to care for their homes and neighborhoods, house by house and block by block.

2. How can people participate in the Tacoma Tool Library?

Get involved by becoming a member and/or volunteering.


Interested in becoming a member of the Tacoma Tool Library? We’d love to have you! We operate on a membership system, and ask members to give a yearly suggested donation to help us keep the doors open. Members have access to all of the tools in the library’s collection, and can also participate in workshops that are offered at the library. To become a member, please make a suggested donation either online or in person at the library. We’ll also ask you to sign a membership form, waiver, and tool use & borrowing policy the first time you use the library.

Suggested donation levels:

  • $40 General
  • $30 Student/Senior
  • $20 Low-Income
  • $100 Founding Member
  • $150 Business
  • $250 Lifetime Member


Tacoma Tool Library is currently volunteer run. We have five board members and a network of volunteers who help us with our day to day operations. We are looking for folks with knowledge of and experience with tools, but don’t be discouraged if you are a beginner, you can learn with us. As we prepare to open we are especially in need of volunteers with these skills:

  • Knowledge of tool repair
  • Knowledge about specific types of tools (ex. plumbing, automotive, etc.)
  • Interior construction
  • Tool sharpening
  • Data entry
  • Customer service
  • Fundraising
  • Marketing
  • Teaching experience/ interest in teaching a workshop

If you are interested in volunteering with us please send an email to or call us at 954.866.5253.


3. What are tools you don’t have in the library that you’d like to get?

Here’s a list of our greatest needs at the moment:

  • Sawzall
  • Multi-tool
  • Impact hammer
  • Chop saw
  • Wet/dry vac
  • Ladder
  • Extension cord
  • Hand truck

We would also like to have some more uncommon such as an engine lift, scaffolding, and weed wrenches.

To donate tools, check out the calendar page on our website for upcoming open hours or contact us at We accept all tools in good working order, except for gas-powered.


4. How can people help the Tacoma Tool Library?

Become part of the tool library community, whether through donating your time, skills, or money.


5. What do you hope for the future of Tacoma Tool Library?

Since we just officially opened our hope for the future is focused on goals to accomplish within the next year, such as expanding our membership, increasing the number of volunteers involved, adding to our inventory of tools available and implementing a series of workshops. At some point in time, we hope to be able to have a portion of our space used for a makerspace, where members can use tools in the space that are too big to check out.

I want to thank Sharayah for taking the time to participate in 5 Question Friday. You can find out more about the Tacoma Tool Library at their website If you or someone you know would like to participate in a future 5 Question Friday email me at 

– Jack Cameron

5 Question Friday Regarding The Proposed Methanol Plant

port of tacoma

If you live in Tacoma, you’ve probably heard something about the methanol plant being proposed for the Port of Tacoma. There have been recent meetings about the topic. The Tacoma City Council has been notably quiet about the issue. (Though it is worth noting that the idea for this 5 Question Friday came from a Tacoma City Councilperson who contacted me.) The neighboring Federal Way City Council just last night held an emergency session to condemn the plan.

Over the last few weeks, I have contacted many people about this issue. And for this week’s 5 Question Friday I contacted the Port of Tacoma (the location where the plant may be built), NW Innovation Works (the company building the plant), and Redline Tacoma (a grassroots activist group against the plant). I asked them each the same five questions. The idea here is to get different perspectives on the same topic from people closer to this project than I am.

Here we go: 

1.What is the basic plan at this time for the proposed methanol plant?

Port of Tacoma: I’ll defer to Northwest Innovation Works on its plans for the proposed facility.

NW Innovation Works: NW Innovation Works proposes to construct a two-phased, $3.4 billion gas-to-methanol plant at the Port of Tacoma. Methanol produced at this facility will be exported to Asia, where companies will convert it to olefins, which are the building blocks of products we use every day like medical supplies; safety and industrial equipment; consumer electronics like smartphones, televisions and computers; and clothing. The plant will include up to four methanol production lines, each with a production capacity of 5,000 metric tons per day, for a total of 20,000 metric tons per day. At the peak of construction, the project will create up to 1,000 jobs. Once operational, the facility will employ approximately 260 full-time jobs.

The plant will utilize ultra-low emissions (ULE) reforming technology, which will emit substantially lower greenhouse gas and other air pollutants compared to conventional technologies for reforming natural gas to methanol.

The facility is planned for the former Kaiser property, returning the site to productive use for industrial manufacturing that generates jobs and local revenue. Nearby facilities include Schnitzer Steel, Targa Sound Terminals, and Port of Tacoma breakbulk- and containerized cargo facilities. The Port of Tacoma approved a lease agreement with NW Innovation Works in May 2014, allowing the permitting processes with the appropriate regulatory agencies to begin.

Redline Tacoma: NWIW Tacoma LLC proposed the largest methanol refinery in the world for the heart of our city. NWIW LLC never built anything, anywhere. The refinery is proposed to consume 14.4 million gallons of fresh drinking water per day, 450 MW electricity and 524 million cubic feet of fracked gas per day. It would pump about 1.4 million gallons polluted waste water each day into the City of Tacoma water treatment facility and it would release toxins such as sulfur dioxide, benzene and formaldehyde. The sole purpose for the refinery would be to feed a plastics manufacturing facility in the city of Dalian, China, who is also a financial backer of the project.


2. What aspect of this project do you feel is most misunderstood by the public?

Port of Tacoma:  When the studies are complete, the data may well show the facility has a significant net environmental benefit. Facts about a proposed development are fleshed out during the environmental review process, but, in this case, misinformation without any basis in fact has been allowed to overshadow data and rational conversation. Here are some of the reasons the Port of Tacoma considered this proposal a good fit for the former Kaiser Aluminum smelter site.

  • Environmental benefits: Many of the products we use every day—cell phones, eyeglasses and contact lenses, exercise clothing and gear, medical devices, carpeting, toys, camping gear, the plastic components in buses, trains, airplanes and other common items—have traditionally been made with coal and oil. Replacing coal and oil with methanol, a clean, biodegradable manufacturing feedstock, would improve global air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Environmental regulation: I have heard some people express concerns that the facility would pollute our air, water and land. Washington state has among the most stringent regulations in the nation. A manufacturing facility that cannot meet or exceed these hundreds of regulations could not be built. The contamination the Port removed from the property after purchasing it from Kaiser occurred before these regulations existed.
  • Proven commodity: Methanol facilities have operated safely all over the world for decades. The Methanol Institute, an industry association, reports there are more than 90 facilities all over the world, and each day more than 80,000 metric tons of methanol is shipped from one continent to another. More information about methanol facilities and uses is available on the Methanol Institute’s website:
  • Environmental review process: Many people professed shock that they hadn’t heard of the proposal until now, when, in fact, the environmental review process is the first step in examining the feasibility of a development. The steps generally are environmental review (scope, draft EIS, final EIS) and permit applications—all of which have public comment periods—before any construction can begin. A typical comment period is 30 days with one public hearing. This process is more than twice the standard.

NW Innovation Works: The NW Innovation Works Tacoma facility offers a more environmentally responsible way to produce the items we all use every day. By using natural gas instead of coal, emissions are reduced 70 percent. NWIW is taking an even bigger step by using ultra-low emission technology, which result in an even greater (up to 75 percent more) reduction in emissions compared to coal.

Methanol is water-soluble, bio-degradable, and non-carcinogenic. You can buy methanol at your grocery store, gas station, hardware store and even on The methanol produced at the Tacoma facility will not be used just for cheap plastic products, but instead for several important products we use every day, like insulin pumps, hearing aids, smartphones, eyeglasses, contact lenses, clothing, industrial equipment and more.

Redline Tacoma: The Pacific Northwest and in particular the Puget Sound region is becoming a major through way for massive fossil fuel exports. Tacoma already has the distinction of being traversed with the most oil trains, 80,000 barrels a day and climbing, rattling away on underinsured, publicly owned Tacoma Rail. Also proposed for the port of Tacoma is a Bellevue-based, Australia owned PugetSoundEnergy LLC Liquefied Natural Gas export facility. This LNG tank would be 18 stories tall and hold 8 million gallons of liquid fracked gas held at MINIS 260 degrees. LNG is very dangerous and international standards say it can only be built 3 miles away from civilians. We are not just dealing with methanol, but with becoming the toxic petrochemical kitchen for exporting our natural resources at an unprecedented scale.

3. Residential use of water in Tacoma is 5.7 million gallons a year. The new plant requires 3.8 million gallons a year. We had a drought last summer where we were all told to conserve 10% of our water. If similar conditions should occur in the future, what assurances do we have that residential use of water will have the priority?

Port of Tacoma:  I’ll defer to Northwest Innovation Works and/or Tacoma Public Utilities on the proposed facility’s water use and availability and sources of water.

NW Innovation Works: Tacoma Water has 242 million gallons available on a daily basis and an additional 183 million gallons in storage, according to the Tacoma Public Utilities website (

And according to data available from the TPU’s publicly available 2014 Financial Statement, this is the breakdown of water use on an annual and daily basis:

Data from 2014 Financial Statements

Customer class Billion gal/year Million gal/day
WestRock (papermill) 6.05 16.6
Residential 7.97 21.8
All other, Commercial and Industrial 3.17 8.7
Total 17.19 47.1

NWIW will employ innovative design features that allow for greater volumes of water to be reused throughout the process. The majority of the water at the plant will be used for cooling and will be released back into the atmosphere as water vapor, with small percentages consumed in the methanol production process.

We will work with the Port of Tacoma and Tacoma Public Utilities to make sure we are responsible during regular and potentially changing conditions.

Redline Tacoma: There are no assurances at this point. Who will get the water? Hospitals, schools, Metro Parks, breweries, hotels, farmers, salmon, vegetables, paper industry, export facilities or the already fastest water bottling plant in the world Niagara Bottling? Niagara’s water use went up drastically during the drought, see below: Niagara water use '14,'15.


4. What infrastructure will be in place to handle the practical and financial consequences if something goes wrong at the plant and there’s an explosion or other dangerous incident?

Port of Tacoma: Here’s what we know so far. A new fire station is scheduled to open in the Tideflats area as a result of Puget Sound Energy’s planned liquefied natural gas facility. An Intelligent Transportation System, which will help guide traffic through the industrial area, is also planned for the Tideflats. The Environmental Impact Statement will determine what other enhancements might be required.

NW Innovation Works: We absolutely understand that safety is a community concern, and it’s one shared by the project team. Safety is always our first priority. Methanol is safely produced, manufactured, stored and transported within the United States and internationally. NWIW will maintain this strong safety record and is committed to working with stakeholders and community members to build a facility that meets or exceeds applicable safety standards.

We are working with appropriate emergency responders and authorities to plan state-of-the art safety systems as we plan our system design. We will develop emergency preparedness and response plans for local and state approval to address potential spills, fire and security at each site. In addition, each facility will have a dedicated and trained on-site fire brigade and equipment to support emergency response.

Redline Tacoma:  NWIW Tacoma LLC is a limited liability corporation. LLC’s take the profits and pay it out to investors. The money is gone. Should something go wrong, they simply declare bankruptcy and Tacoma and the Port will have to deal with it. Should the accident be bad enough we can call FEMA. NWIW Tacoma LLC is not just one corporations, it is made up of several LLC’s, or shell companies. They can re-incorporate every year and can have a tax shelter somewhere in a tax-free heaven. Tacoma in its history always let industry pollute and when they made enough profit, they pull out and leave the toxic mess for Tacoma to clean up and live with it.

5. Do you see the methanol plant as a good thing for the future of the city and port of Tacoma and why?

Port of Tacoma: Tacoma has the opportunity to reduce global greenhouse gases to address climate change by providing cleaner alternatives to the coal and oil currently used to produce consumer goods we use every day. It’s important for us to fully understand the potential impacts of any development. I hope people will keep an open mind as we gather all the facts because we have an opportunity be a global climate leader, helping build a bridge to a cleaner future while creating valuable jobs for our community.

If the environmental review demonstrates the proposal’s feasibility, this could be a positive transformational project that provides global environmental benefits, hundreds of family-wage jobs and sizable city and school tax revenues.

NW Innovation Works: Tacoma has a proud history of pioneering innovation and being at the forefront of embracing the opportunities of our ever changing world.  With the NWIW proposal, we have the chance to build on that foundation and create a better future not just for ourselves, but for everyone who is concerned about climate change.

NWIW is proposing to pioneer a technology that that can transform how methanol is produced, removing coal from the equation and providing the world a cleaner way to manufacture goods essential to our daily lives.

This facility provides a way for Tacoma to be part of the global fight to reduce climate change. In addition, the project represents a $3.4 billion investment in the local economy that will create approximately 1,000 jobs during construction and 260 full-time jobs during operation of the facility.

Redline Tacoma:  Turning our publicly owned natural resources into a toxic chemical for export and plastic manufacturing is stunningly short sighted.


I want to thank the representatives at the Port of Tacoma, NW Innovation Works, and Redline Tacoma for taking time out of their schedules to answer these questions.

You can find further information about the Port of Tacoma on their website at

You can find further information about NW Innovation Works at

You can find further information about Redline Tacoma at

What are your thoughts on the methanol plant? Feel free to comment. All comments are moderated by me, but I’ll be fairly open to whatever you want to post as long as it’s substantive. 

– Jack Cameron

Tacoma Should Sit Down And Talk

At TacomaStories I do what I can to not vilify anyone. In the nine years that I’ve been writing about Tacoma and Tacoma crime, I’ve gone increasingly out of my way not to name the killers in Tacoma homicides. Last week when I wrote about an armed man who was shot by the Tacoma Police Department I didn’t mention the police officer’s name and I treated the victim like a human being deserving of respect. Other media outlets and social media weren’t so considerate.

The rule is to treat everyone like another human being even if they do not do the same for you or others. We gain nothing by singling out someone and destroying them. When we tear another man down, we are in fact tearing ourselves down as well. It’s not easy to write this way or behave this way and there are times I fail, but those are the times I’m reminded how important it is to keep trying.

Yesterday, the owner of Dorky’s Arcade in downtown Tacoma had an encounter with Tacoma Stands Up, a Tacoma variation of Black Lives Matter that stages marches on Sundays. The march ended across the street from Dorky’s Arcade on South 9th and Pacific Ave. Annoyed by the march, the owner of Dorky’s did the absolute last thing he should have done. He antagonized the peaceful marchers culminating in him chanting “NIG-GER” in the face of one of the protesters. It was a despicable, hateful, and racist act.

Today, the Court of Social Media meted out its punishment. Dozens of people vowed to boycott Dorky’s forever and encouraged everyone else to do the same. The brewery advertised on the owner’s shirt in the video immediately announced they would no longer be providing their beer for the establishment. Photoshopped images of the owner walking with Hulk Hogan and Klansman showed up online. Some said he should never make another dime in Tacoma.

The owner has publicly apologized and offered to let Black Lives Matter meet at Dorky’s. Both have been refused by Tacoma Stands Up. This is understandable.

Let me be clear that I am not in any way defending the owner’s actions any more than I defend the actions of the actions of those killed in justifiable homicides when I focus on them as human beings.

That said, I do not see how the causes of Tacoma Stands Up, Black Lives Matter, or racial equality in general are helped by destroying a downtown Tacoma business that employs ten people in addition to the business owner. Not one racist mind will be changed by such an action. Racists will point to it as political correctness run amok and say stupid untrue racist things.  Are we using the same mentality for social sins as we do for the death penalty? Do we really think such things deter others of a similar bent? Studies have shown that fear of the death penalty has no effect on whether or not a murderer kills someone. Why would anyone think that destroying a man’s business will deter a racist?

The goal shouldn’t be to see how far and how quickly we can tear a bad man down. It should be, how can we go about making him and other bad men better? Instead of putting the man out of business and his employees on the unemployment line, wouldn’t it make more sense to have him sit down with the leaders of Tacoma Stands Up and have a conversation?

It’s become more and more obvious that we need to have a talk about race. We need to have many talks. Talking and getting to know one another and their point of views is the best way to eliminate hate. I do not know the owner of Dorky’s. I do not know the leaders of Tacoma Stands Up. I do know that we aren’t going to change any minds by hating bigots.

Jack Cameron

The Mystery Stones of Pt. Defiance Park

Last weekend my girlfriend and I decided to go to Pt. Defiance Park and walk some of the trails. It’d been months since I took the time to do so. As we walked through the forest, I noticed a rock sitting on a log. It was obvious that it had not arrived at that spot naturally. Looking at the rock I noticed it had a little design on it. I thought that it was cool so I picked it up and put it in my pocket.

Then about fifty yards further down the trail I noticed another rock in a strange place with a different symbol on it. Once I figured out that it wasn’t just a one-off but some sort of mysterious public art project, I found another spot for the rock in my pocket and took a photo of each of them. As the walk continued we kept our eyes out for more rocks and found about eight of them, each with different symbols in what appears to be white ink stamp. Each time I took a (blurry) photo with my cell phone.


Once I got home, I started looking online to see if I could find any information about these rocks, but a quick search didn’t find anything. I posted some photos of the rocks online on the TacomaStories Twitter and Facebook page. And then I decided to go back again the next day.

The following day I found additional rocks on the same trail. I also found that some rocks from the day before were gone. Others had been moved. I took photos of every rock I found and decided to come back yet again.


Today I went on the same trails as before but also some new ones. Some trails I found no rocks at all. Others I found quite a few. It would appear that they are not each unique designs. I found some identical designs on different rocks.

Who is putting these rocks out there? Is there a meaning behind them or is it just art? Just how widespread are these stones? These are all questions to which I’d love to find answers. Unfortunately it’s almost impossible to determine whether or not the person or people who placed the stones are the same ones moving or removing the stones. The first stone I found was moved by me. Others likely disappear when people find them and pocket them. Are the new ones I find on the same trail new or just stones that were moved or I hadn’t noticed the day before?


Someone or a group of someones has made exploring Pt. Defiance Park even more fun and I’d like to thank them for it.  For more photos of the Pt. Defiance mystery stones, check out the Tacoma Stories Facebook Page. If you know anything about these stones, contact me at I’d love to talk with you and perhaps do a 5 Question Friday.

Enjoy the photos and if you’re in town, take the time to find some on your own. I highly advise that if you start hunting for these stones you employ the old adage, “Take only photos, leave only footprints.”  In other words please leave the Pt. Defiance Mystery Stones alone for others to discover.

– Jack Cameron

5 Question Friday With Alex Ziegler From Northwest Float Center

open tank

One of my favorite things about 5 Question Friday is that I occasionally get to interview people who talk about things I know nothing about. Alex from the Northwest Float Center is one such individual. He contacted me a while back and asked if he could be a part of 5 Question Friday. Having no knowledge or experience with float tanks, I was eager to learn. Alex even offered me a free float. (I’ll be talking about that particular experience on an upcoming podcast.)Here’s Alex:

1. What is the North West Float Center?

Northwest Float Center is a 4 tank float center that offers a clean & comfortable environment for each of our floaters to help them achieve complete mental and physical relaxation.  Each tank is filled with 10 inches of water and 1000 pounds of Epsom salt. In that environment your body is completely weightless; you are gravity free. Inside the tank it is dark & quiet, allowing your body and mind to completely unwind without any distractions. We think of the float tank as the only place you have your brain & your body to yourself at the same time, and being in that environment, without your brain having to process any sensory information & without there being any pain in your body, great things happen.

2. How did you get started in the Float Tank industry?

We heard about floating through Kriss’ brother who floated for his first time at a float center in Arizona. He suggested flotation therapy to Kriss as he had injured his back while working. We both took a float during the Float Conference in Portland in 2012 & immediately knew this was a form of therapy we needed in our lives, and in our area where there was nothing like it being offered. We pooled all of our resources and hit the ground running so to speak, and couldn’t be happier to be where we are today; growing as a business while serving our community.

3. What’s the most misunderstood thing about using float tanks?

Very commonly our clients are concerned with feeling claustrophobic or being faced with claustrophobia issues during their float. In over a year of business, not one client has gotten out of the tank because they were feeling too “claustrophobic”. When you check in to the shop, you will be escorted to your private room where you have your float tank & private shower. So, during the float you can leave the door open if you would like. Most commonly, people start floating with the door open & soon realize that they don’t need it open at all. There is air that comes through vents in the tank, and while floating you are in such a state of openness & calm that it’s almost impossible to feel “closed in”.  It is also worth mentioning that you can exit the float tank at any time during your float. You are in complete control of your entire experience.

4. What advice would you give someone thinking about their first float?

If you’re thinking about floating we advise you to try it!! Come in anytime to take a tour of our center. This helps to get you more comfortable with the experience.  Choose a time to float that you don’t have to rush off to the next task on your list, so that you can truly connect with how floating has benefited you.

5. What makes your float center different than others?

Being Tacoma’s first float center, we have had some time to work out the kinks of a new business. We recognize that floating itself is a new concept to many people, and we feel confident that not only our facility is first class, but our owners & staff are all avid floaters who are here to ensure that your float is nothing but perfect. We love the float community that has been created and we guarantee you won’t find a group of people more relaxed and unique than you will at our float center.

I’d like to thank Alex and everyone over at the Northwest Float Center for being completely awesome. The Northwest Float Center is located at 3907 6th Ave., Tacoma, WA 98406. Their phone number is 253-212-0360.  You can also find them online at

If you or someone you know would like to participate in 5 Question Friday, email me at

– Jack Cameron

Jack & Mimi’s Cheap Date: Pho King

Welcome to the latest installment of Jack & Mimi’s Cheap Date. Here are the rules: Each week, my girlfriend Mimi and I go somewhere in the Tacoma area for a cheap date where we spend $20 or less. (This does not include tips because service is unique and can’t be universally quantified.) Sometimes we succeed. Sometimes we fail.

There are places in Tacoma that I feel are so well known and so legendary that there’s no real reason to tell people about them. Then I remember that not everyone who reads this is from Tacoma and that there are likely still some people who do not know the awesomeness of Pho King. And more importantly, I really felt like Pho King after spending most of the day in Jury Duty.

Pho King is located near the corner of South 9th and MLK Way on Tacoma’s Hilltop between the Hilltop Pawn Shop and a photo developing place that is mysteriously still in business. Mimi and I arrived at the end of the lunch rush and found one of the only remaining tables.

We were quickly given menus and two glasses of water. Looking over the menu it was easy to find items within our Cheap Date price range. We could have each had large orders of Pho, but we already know how good the Pho is at Pho King. Instead I opted for the Pho King Special Plate for $7.75 described as ‘Grilled pork chop, julienne pork, Vietnamese meatloaf, crispy fried shrimp, fried eggs, pork sausage, and shrimp wrapped in bean curd skin’. Mimi chose the Vegetarian Rice Dish for $7.50 described as ‘Lemongrass tofu and veggie egg roll.’ She also chose to get a Thai Iced Tea.

The food showed up a few minutes after we ordered. It was somewhat surprising how quickly they got our food done given how busy it was. Mimi’s dish arrived first. It looked so good that she almost immediately started eating but remembered we needed to take a photo. Luckily my food came out only a minute or two later. I took a photo and we dug in.


The Pho King Special has so much going on that it’s kind of hard to judge it. The pork chop was flat and had little bones in it that surprised me, but the sauce, the shrimp, the fried egg, and everything else was awesome. It’s easily the most amount of good food I’ve ever bought for $7.75 in Tacoma. I asked Mimi for her reaction to her Vegetarian Plate and her one word response was “Delicious!”

Then it came time for our bill. My math said that we’d be close once tax was added in. Here’s the receipt.


To the surprise of no one who has ever been there, Pho King gets an enthusiastic endorsement for a Cheap Date.

Pho King is located at 1020 MLK Jr Way, Tacoma, WA 98405

Do you know of a place where Mimi and I should try to spend $20? Email me at and let me know.

– Jack Cameron

Jack and Mimi’s Cheap Date: The Red Hot


The first response I received to last week’s article The Red Hot’s Twitter favoriting it. I took this as an invitation for this week’s edition of Jack & Mimi’s Cheap Date. For those unfamiliar with the concept of this column, it’s fairly simple. One day each week, my girlfriend, Mimi and I go out on a date somewhere in Tacoma using only $20.

This is not the first time I’ve been to The Red Hot. It’s a hot dog bar located on Tacoma’s 6th Avenue. Their beer selection tends to be a wide variety of craft brews, many of them local. Their hot dogs and sausages are so popular that Cheney Stadium just made a deal to sell them at the Tacoma Rainiers games this season.

The Red Hot was originally located next door in a small space that is now a tattoo shop. When the bridal store moved out, The Red Hot moved into their present space. By comparison, this new location seems gigantic.

Mimi and I sat down to eat and looked at the menu. Since they serve mostly hot dogs and sausages, the difficulty wasn’t finding something within the $20 budget. It was choosing from the many options. After some debate, Mimi selected the Rainier Rueben hot dog described on the menu as “1000 Island dressing, spicy brown mustard, Swiss cheese, and topped with sauerkraut.” And I chose the Big Kahuna: “Smoked sweet & spicy Hawaiian sausage, Saigon sauce, onions, cole slaw, & topped with grilled pineapple rings.” For beverages Mimi ordered a Snoqualmie Root Beer. I ordered a pint of the No-Li Spin Cycle Red.

One of the great things about The Red Hot is that the service is often blindingly fast. It seemed like our dogs were ready in just a few minutes.

They weren’t lying about the sausage. It was sweet and spicy. It might have been a bit spicier than I prefer, but that’s just me. The pineapple rings were nice, but kind of unwieldy on the sausage. Once I really got into it, the combination of flavors along with the Spin Cycle Red made for a very enjoyable small meal. The Spin Cycle is a solid Red. I’m not very familiar with the No-Li brewery in Spokane, but I’ll be keeping an eye out for their brews in the future.

Mimi’s first reaction to her Rainier Rueben was that the sauerkraut was amazing. Lately she’s been on a bit of a Rueben kick, ordering a Rueben whenever it’s on the menu. So her praise of their sauerkraut is well earned. She said the Snoqualmie Root Beer was smooth and not overly fizzy.

A few years ago if you would have told me that you were opening up a hot dog bar in Tacoma, I’d say you were crazy. These days, The Red Hot is one of my go-to locations when I’m looking for good beer and a small meal for a good price. It doesn’t hurt that just a couple doors down, you can get incredible ice cream at The Ice Cream Social.


The Red Hot is located at 2914 6th Ave., Tacoma, WA 98406.

If you would like to suggest a place for a future installment of Jack & Mimi’s Cheap Date, go ahead an contact me at or send me a message on Twitter.

– Jack Cameron