Family business changes direction to keep their doors open
By Jillian Chandler
Photo by Samantha Elise Tillman
As local businesses continue to adapt in order to succeed despite the difficult circumstances that have surrounded us for months now, one Tacoma business is changing their focus—at least temporarily—in order to keep their doors open and their employees working, while also satisfying the appetites of eager diners.
The Tacoma Comedy Club has been a staple in the community for nearly a decade, originally opening in October of 2010. Owners Adam Norwest and his wife Bree, and Kevin and Renee Fandt (who are also Adam’s parents), shifted gears last month, debuting Tacoma Burger Company on August 7, 2020.
Gourmet burgers are the focus at this American fare establishment. You can pair your meal with a cocktail or brew from the full bar, and make a note to stop in during one of their fun weekly events! There’s Netflix and Chill Mondays, where each week, starting at 5pm for those 21 and older, patrons can enjoy stand-up comedy specials on the projector at 6 and 8pm. During this time, buy a burger, get a beer for $1! For "geeks who drink," Wednesday Night Trivia kicks off at 7pm. There is no entry fee, and prizes are awarded for the top three!
The Tacoma Comedy Club owners evolved into what is currently Tacoma Burger Company as a way to survive during COVID. “It was extremely important to us to keep our staff employed and able to feed themselves and their families,” states Adam.
Over the years, as a comedy club, the owners have strived for three things: treat the staff great, treat the customers great, and treat the comedians great. They believe that these three goals ultimately created the path in becoming—and maintaining—a thriving business. “We figured, if we did those three things, we would be successful,” says Adam. “As Tacoma Burger Company, we think we will be successful by having our customers from the past 10 years support us through this (temporary) transition. I think having quality and consistent food and good service will also help us be successful right now.”
The spacious space and layout of the building allowed for them to easily offer their guests socially distant dining.
“Our slogans right now are ‘Buy a Burger, Save the Arts’ and ‘Socially Distant and Delicious Dining,’” says Adam.
Despite the many uncertainties, Adam’s current plan is to re-introduce stand-up comedy once Washington state enters Phase 4—and he, along with his co-owners, hope to keep Tacoma Burger Company around and involved in some way moving forward.
When not busy running their family business, you can find the Norwests and Fandts volunteering their time, including fostering, with various dog organizations. “We also raised money through online benefit shows and a raffle during the first part of quarantine,” smiles Adam, “and were able to donate over $20,000 to No Kid Hungry.”
Community support is truly important during this time to help our local businesses stay alive. And who doesn’t love a big juicy burger and cold brew? Stop in at Tacoma Burger Company for a great meal while supporting a local family business.
Tacoma Burger Company
933 Market Street
Tacoma, Washington 98402