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A four-alarm eatery

A rotating list of beers and great food keep them coming back

E9’s fish tacos are hot, crunchy and packed with salmon. Photo credit: Dutch Randall

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Engine House #9, E9 as it is most often called, has been a Tacoma landmark for decades, and continues to be a destination for the thirsty and hungry because of two reasons: great food and a huge selection of beer and spirits. The iconic firehouse and commitment to its history hasn't hurt the business either.

In addition to a full bar, you can always expect to find your favorite in-house beers available. E9 rotates over 20 different brews, which has been its draw for years.  Always ready to pour are the E9 IPA, the Belgian White, or even the Rowdy Dick Amber Ale named after one of the famed horses from when E9 was still a working firehouse.  However, I recommend leaving your comfort zone once in a while and give one of the other brews a try.  On my last visit I did just that and opted for the Goose Island Brewery's Bourbon County Stout.  This is a stout that has been aged in bourbon barrels resulting in both a smooth, rich flavor with a hint of whiskey to every sip, and also a higher alcohol content.

You can expect to find the standard fare that goes with your beer, such as burgers, wings and assorted fried selections, but it is what E9 does with these dishes that bring people back for more than beer.  This is one of the few places you can find a truly great fish taco, and the reason is simple: salmon.  Every true Northwesterner can appreciate good salmon.  When the salmon is grilled to perfection, partnered with a cilantro jalapeno aioli for just the right amount of heat and then balanced with the sweetness of a citrus vinaigrette, you will want more than the three on your plate.  E9 finishes off the tacos with fresh tomatoes, crunchy cabbage and thinly sliced red onions.

The sandwiches at E9 are not to be missed either, and the Lieutenant Reuben is one of their best.  Choosing Boar's Head brand pastrami then combining the saltiness of the tender, thin sliced meat with a generous helping of sauerkraut, melted Swiss cheese and their own spin on a creamy house-made sauce brings this all together nestled between two slices of hearty marbled rye.  All sandwiches come with a side of beer battered fries, tots, or a salad as well.

Come for the selection of beer or for the food, but either way, grab a seat and let the friendly staff show you why E9 has been successful for so many decades.

ENGINE HOUSE #9, 611 N. Pine St., 253.272.3435.

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