BITE US: The Greener Bean, burger at Alfred's

The good word in the South Sound

By Volcano Staff on December 30, 2009

The Greener Bean

We in the South Sound region are fortunate. Restaurants, ones that aren’t afraid to pump serious money into their build-outs and staffing, are still opening in our area, despite the nasty economy. In the past couple of months, Sushi Spin in Puyallup, Vanilla Bean Café in Tacoma, Russian Piroshky in Milton, and The Greener Bean in Fircrest have opened, with openings on the horizon for the new Little Holland (across the street from its old location on Center Street) and the reincarnation of the Café by the Bay, Seven-Oh-One and Bair Drug spots.

Given the breakneck pace of most people’s lives, sometimes neighborhood coffee houses really do the trick — predictable and affordable. The Greener Bean Coffee Co. fills both criteria.

While Lawrence Green has partnered up with his daughter, Courtney Lockey (five-year Starbucks veteran), opening the Fircrest coffee house several months ago, its name, as you might have predicted, centers on the “green” ethics of its owners. Better than fair trade organic coffee from Dillanos Coffee Roasters in Sumner, an energy efficient operation and use of recycled materials are a way of life at The Greener Bean, as well as tea from Mad Hat Tea, couches, a library, conference room, chess, free Wi-Fi and an open mic every Friday from 8-10 p.m.

The food — grilled paninis, sandwiches, soups, salads and breakfast items originate in the Greener’s kitchen. A cousin bakes the pastries, which include moist raspberry scones. And everything rings in under $5.

All your favorite espresso drinks — as well as a few creative ones such as Mayan Mocha Mexican Monkey —are available with plenty of beverage options for the kiddies. — Jake de Paul

[The Greener Bean Coffee Co., 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., 1039 Regents Blvd., Fircrest, 253.564.7336]

Alfred’s Café

I, Burgermeister Meistercheeseburger, stopped by Alfred’s Car & Bubble Room last week after destroying 59 toys, and decided to lift a couple of pints in the white and black diner, and have a little snack.

I know that Alfred’s Cafe has a fascinating history: blah blah once was a brothel, yadda yadda, etc. I know the place is a mix between Mel’s Diner from Happy Days, Cheers and an Irish pub. And that it offers quite possibly the best Monte Cristo in the South Sound. But seriously, when you’ve got a burger this good, you just don’t need anything else. One thick patty, done medium, with plenty of cheese on mega bun, then served on a plate with iceberg lettuce, tomato slice, three onion rings, two pickles and a side of mayo. Oh, and the sturdy, massive top bun arrives under the burger so I can make a smiling face with ketchup and mustard on the patty. That’s it, and that’s enough!

It rings in, with crispy fries, at $9.74. — Burgermeister Meistercheeseburger

[Alfred’s Café, 402 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma, 253.627.5491]