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The Harvester

New management introduces all-scratch menu

The Harvester Chicken Fried Steak. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

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ANNOUNCER: A long-time popular neighborhood shop in the Stadium District, The Harvester has been serving up diner-style food for years. Now under new management, the old menu has been tossed and a new all-scratch menu has replaced it. Jackie and Dutch rushed in to see what changes have occurred in their neighborhood.

DUTCH: The menu isn't the only thing getting a facelift here. The Harvester will be going through a remodel to update the interior and move the bar beginning in July. The goal is to work for 48 straight hours at first, leaving enough room to serve the masses during the rest of the construction.

JACKIE: The Harvester is something of a Tacoma staple. On a weekend especially, it's bustling with diners eager to get breakfast classics into their belly. Eggs Benedict, served up traditional style or with salmon or pulled pork, crepes, pancakes, omelets and more. During the lunch hour you'll spy a plethora of options that fill your sammie needs including a Rueben, Rib Dip and BLTA. A pizza, burger and specialty grilled cheese menu might seduce you as well. Though for me, when given the option for breakfast all day, any day, I will choose breakfast every time. 

DUTCH: I tend to gravitate to the breakfasts as well, but sometimes, like last week, I tried the Monte Challah. With the melted gruyere, sliced ham and turkey, it eats like a lunch sandwich, but the French toast challah bread, powdered sugar and marionberry jam eats like breakfast. I chose hashbrowns as my side to solidify its breakfastness. Served in quarter-size triangles, it is an easy finger food for whatever meal you choose to make it, and the gruyere cheese certainly kicks it up a notch.

JACKIE: Though it's always packed when I dine in, I rarely find something to write home about. Yet, here we are. The service is super friendly but prepare for long waits on the weekends, as they have a problem keeping up with volume. On slower days, you'll feel like family and receive that same intimate and authentic standard service without the wait. On my most recent visit, I dived in the Chicken Fried Steak breakfast. With all of my years in the industry and dining out, I'm still not certain I know what a Chicken Fried Steak even is, but it felt like a must-try for these updated diner digs. The Chicken Fried Steak itself had a nice even crunch surrounding a meaty interior. The sage gravy was creamy with a hint of sage and pepper that benefitted with a few dashes of Tabasco. While the hashbrowns were a bit mushy and the toast flaccid, I managed to devour most of the meal all the same. I will say, the eggs were cooked to perfection. 

DUTCH: I also gave the Chicken Fried Steak a shot as it is one of my favorite dishes when made well, but always seems to be hit or miss. It appears some of the scratch items are still being played with as the first time I had the CFS it had a crispy batter that was fried to perfection and smothered in gravy. However, when I returned to have it again, it was breaded and a bit soggy. I'm hoping the battered version wins out, because it was just as a good CFS should be prepared.

JACKIE: I totally forgot to mention the pie! My most important meal of the day disappointment instantly dissolves with a fabulous pie selection. Make mine ala mode, please. 

THE HARVESTER, 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday-Thursday; 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday-Saturday, 29 N. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.1193 

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