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Not a well-kept secret for long

Tibbits@FernHill combines fresh flavors, intimacy and charm

Tibbits presents seasonal fare with elegant spins on hearty favorites like the Meat and Gravy Bomb. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

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ANNOUNCER: Dutch had an avalanche of to-dos present themselves out of town this week. Hey, life happens, which is why Jackie is flying solo to discover a delightful little nook full of fresh flavors and loads of charm at Tibbits@FernHill.

JACKIE: If you blink, you might miss it.

Nestled in the petite Fern Hill district, steps away from Little Jerry's, you'll find Tibbits@FernHill. The intimate dining space manages to exude a warm, homey vibe with an eclectic display, including wall hung colanders, rolling pins, photo collages and framed art.  The staff is as small as the space with chef and owner, Shawn Tibbits, at the helm and two servers in-house providing friendly and efficient service.

As soon as you cross the threshold, one of the three, greet you warmly. Reservations are required for breakfast service and recommended for dinner due to the small dining area that does not include a lobby of any sort. Once seated, the staff informs first-time visitors about the Tibbits vision. Chef Tibbits connects with local farmers and presents the epitome of farm-to-table. Produce is often purchased day of service and the back of the house does not have a microwave or deep fryer in sight. You can sip on water, elevated with fresh cucumber slices adding a refreshing quality that's served up in mason jars. Which feels less like a trendy move and more like just a good fit for the ambiance.

Their weekend brunch service includes gems like a candied bacon-wrapped breakfast burrito complemented by a house-made enchilada sauce. If you're a fan of sweets, the seasonal options include a Fall Pumpkin Cinnamon French Toast. For those feeling more savory, the Spicy Crab Fritatta delights. I overheard that the favorite of the day was the Meat and Gravy Bomb and had to try it. This hashbrown casserole includes scrambled eggs, pepperjack cheese and two slices of candied bacon all set into a sourdough bread bowl and then topped with a hearty serving of house-made herbed sausage gravy. It's a rich, fulfilling dish topped with fresh spinach leaves and lemon zest that makes it both aromatically pleasing while also lending a fresh pop of flavor throughout.

The lunch and dinner menus continue the trend featuring seasonal fare with elegant spins on hearty home-cooked favorites including pan crisp local oysters, black and bleu New York steak and Cajun gorgonzola brie pastry, with many of the dishes approachable for those with dietary restrictions. The matrimony of an intimate dining space with a well curated menu helps Tibbits stay true to their mission in delivering the freshest ingredients, since opening six months ago. Bonus, the level of service really brings it all home. Everyone on staff will stop by to refill your drinks and make genuine small talk while checking on you throughout your experience.  

This well-kept secret won't remain that way for long.

Tibbits@FernHill, closed Monday-Tuesday; noon-4 p.m. and 5-8 p.m., Wednesday-Friday; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, 8237 South Park, Tacoma, 253.327.1334

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