Served Blog Banner Girl: Q&A with bartender Renee Wagner of Stuck Junction Saloon

By Ron Swarner on January 12, 2015

Every week we swap out the Served banner art above, introducing you to the people who serve food and drinks in the South Sound. This week, meet Renee Wagner.

Server Banner Girl, Jan. 12-18, 2015

Renee Wagner

Cynthia Soos, owner of the Pacific Coffee House in downtown Tacoma, opened Stuck Junction Saloon in March 2014 in downtown Sumner. The former Main Street Bar & Grill/Bottomz Up Bar & Grill/Sharkey's Pub spot has turned the kitchen around - thanks to Hawaiian native Rida Reed - serving mind-blowing burgers made from ground chuck and brisket from Puyallup's Blue Max Meats, as well as shined a spotlight on craft beers and opening the doors for a crowded house every Thursday for James Coates' open mic. Soos recruited her favorite bartender, Renee Wagner, from the former Nifty's Fifty's across from Tacoma Community College, to lead her bar staff. Wagner has a serious talent for multitasking - engaging and interacting with guests, making drinks, directing staff and keeping a clean bar.She also throws out an immediate eye contact and smile, putting waiting customers at ease.

Why do you serve?

"It's all about the people. I love seeing new faces, as well as familiar faces, too. The full array of people keeps me smiling and on my toes."

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?

"Rachel Wagner - ho happens to be my sister. She runs Legends, the bar at Denny's in Lakewood. Rachel has turned that bar upside down. It went from making no money to being a super successful, Bengals-hosting karaoke spot. I look up to her. She got me started in this bartending adventure."

What are you most proud to serve?

"Our food! It's fresh and never frozen. Our chef Rida Reed puts a spin on plain dishes; the execution is amazing. From burgers to seafood to pulled pork nachos - you can't go wrong."

What's your current drink of choice?

"The mojito. Stuck Junction serves it with fresh mint, fresh fruit and, with my spin of a housemade simple syrup ... I have become a muddling fool. The outcome is ridiculous good." 

Favorite movie?

"Hummmmmmmmm. I'm a sucker for a corky comedy - so Waiting and Grandma's Boy are up there pretty high on my list."

What don't you serve?

"Trash cans! And I don't miss it." 

What's on your radar at Stuck Junction Saloon? 

"Moonshine. We have a superb product from the RackHouse line by Parliament Distillery right here in Sumner. With flavors from Burn Box to Sour Cherry, Parliament puts a spin on it. And the finished product is amazing!"

STUCK JUNCTION SALOON, 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday-Wednesday, 11-2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday, 1005 W. Main St., Sumner, 253.826.4408

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

LINK: South Sound Happy Hour App