I figured that it’d only be right for my first Tacoma restaurant review to be of Tacoma’s first vegan restaurant, Quickie Too. I’ve been to Quickie Too too many times, and for as long as I’ve lived in Tacoma I’ve always lived within walking distance of the building. I’ve written about Quickie Too a few times, but my most detailed account happens to be on my very barren (in terms of number of reviews) Yelp page, and thus I am posting it here, too, ever so slightly updated and modified.
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I love Quickie Too for many reasons, but one of them is because it’s not what anyone expects out of a vegan restaurant. It’s not teeming with salads, brown rice or something seaweed-based. It’s not about vegan fads, being super healthy or exemplifying stereotypes. Quickie Too is vegan soul food at its best, and Tacoma’s so lucky to have it in its backyard.
Prior to visiting QT, I’d experienced Hillside Quickies in Seattle (both locations, one in the U-District and one on Capitol Hill, before it was its current self, Sage Cafe) prior to moving to Tacoma. I would grab to-go sandwiches while on my lunch break near the University and revel in every bite when I got back to the break room. Their sandwiches made me blissful due to their substantial size, abundance of vegan proteins and vegetables and carby rolls. Most were Jamaican-spice laced and came with sides of authentically spicy rice and beans. Some even came with their signature potato salad on them, which affirms that this is not your standard ultra-healthy vegan fare, but is rather soul food in one of its best forms and so rich in flavor.
Fast forward to three-ish years ago and I’m a deer in headlights in Tacoma. But I always knew that Quickie Too was here. I came with my boyfriend and I got the Crazy Jamaican burger, and he picked the burrito. My burger came piled high with pieces of grilled plaintains, (this sandwich solidified my love for them), sauteed tofu, more of that magical potato salad and another side of rice and beans. His was filled with marinated tofu, heirloom tomatoes, house salsa and other veggies. We also shared a plate of fries, which come piled high and were generously sprinkled with seasoning salt. Every bite was amazing, and solidified our mutual love for the place in this first visit.
Their walls are covered with homages to their favorite reggae artists in the form of old posters, and on most days (I think except Sunday when their staple is jazz via KPLU radio), you will hear some of their favorite reggae joints coming through on the tape player. They’ve also framed many articles written about their restaurant and the owners proudly, so that all who come in can see and read them. As they should. Tables have cloths on them and water and bottled beverages are self-serve. The ambiance isn’t going to blow you away when you walk through the door but it is causal, and doesn’t really matter when you see how well they execute their handiwork. You just come in, grab a menu, sit and the server will take your order when he can.
Since I first visited, I think I’ve tried nearly everything on the menu, and have never once been disappointed…except for a bout of a bad stomachache after some mac n’ yease, but that was just on one occasion. That first Crazy Jamaican burger, along with the BBQ and Big Fish burgers are now my favorites. You can also never go wrong with sides of chili, greens or soup. In all the times I’ve visited I’ve never tried their fresh baked cookies/muffins/cupcakes but that must be alleviated sometime soon.
I’ve brought other vegans, vegetarians and meat-loving carnivores here and all of them have left in a happy state: full, impressed and content. You really can’t go wrong with a meal at Quickie Too, be it lunch, dinner or a Sunday brunch.
A few tips/recommendations from someone who has visited many times:
1) Don’t come here for lunch (or order take-out lunch) unless you have a lot of time for the meal and you and your dining companions are in no hurry. They usually are slammed at this time and food takes a little longer than their already relaxed service style. If you do, be patient, bring a friend you haven’t chatted with in a while or a good book. I promise it’s worth the wait.
2) As stated, yes the service is sometimes slow, but that fact doesn’t affect my review of this restaurant whatsoever. This restaurant focuses most on its excellent quality food and the customer’s experience when they receive the food, so do not judge it based on how quickly your food comes out or the amount of times the server passes when you want to ask something. They’re nice people when you chat with and get to know them, they are just small staffed and trying to help everyone out as best as they can.
3) Do try the Sunday Jazz Brunch. It’s perfect for lazy Sunday mornings when all you want to do is stuff your face with amazing, large-portioned plates of vegan food then crawl back home and lapse into a food coma. Almost every item on the menu comes with a beverage (tea, coffee, orange juice or my personal fave, agave lemonade), a blueberry muffin (sometimes changes if they run out – on one occasion we got some phenomenal banana bread), and there are so many plates to choose from that will satisfy anyone’s tastes. For savory lovers, there are combinations of their mac n’ yease, greens, hush puppies, biscuits and gravy, tempeh bacon and tofu scrambles, and for sweet breakfast types, there are plates of pancakes, French toast and even healthful smoothies filled with fruit. The prices are a bit higher for this occasion, but it’s because you receive so much food for your buck and is entirely worth it.
4) Do bring all of your friends here once you’ve experienced it. More people need to find out about this place, and realize that vegan food is (/can be) amazing.
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This review was written a year ago, but I went back to Quickie Too this past Sunday for brunch and yes, pretty much all of this stands the test of time. I would only add that the signature brunch is my now my Sunday staple, as it’s difficult to choose between all the great dishes I want whenever I go and this plate conveniently has them all. I love seeing the same faces every time I go on a Sunday and also love that it always seems to be crowded on these days. If you have yet to visit, you should. It’s a Tacoma gem and we should treat it as such.
1324 MLK Jr. Way
Tacoma, WA 98405
Look out for my next review of Caffe Dei next week!