After more than a year, Cider & Cedar, a bar dedicated to two of the Pacific Northwest’s signature outputs, has reopened in downtown Tacoma.
Mia and Sterling Paradiso welcomed guests to their new cider oasis at 744 Market St. early this month, kicking this next — hopefully long-lasting — chapter off with a packed grand-opening celebration March 11.
At a soft-opening the previous Saturday, regulars flocked to the fresh digs for a taste of small, regional producers including Wenatchee’s Archibald James and Chimacum’s Finnriver. They sipped on flights in hues of golden straw, honey-amber and plum, gathering with friends around the coffee table or at one of several stunning live-edge wood tables.
Fans of the original, tucked into a shoebox-sized space a half-mile northwest at 612 Tacoma Ave. S., will recognize the emerald-green wall and ceiling color, the lush foliage and vintage rugs. The couple transferred “90 to 95 percent” of the first bar’s fixtures to the new location, said Sterling Paradiso, and “filled in the gaps with ‘new-old’ stuff,” including red metal table legs salvaged from the old Passages Theatre, round tube legs that lived a prior life as coal chutes, wainscoting from an early 20th-century Tacoma home, and a Kokomo glass window rescued from Union Station.
It feels like they put the first Cider & Cedar into a supersize machine that managed to maintain every ounce of its coziness and charm. Only now the bar can accommodate three times as many guests and soon will serve a small menu of bao (the foldable Taiwanese style) filled with flavors inspired by global street food.
They have hired a friend to manage the kitchen and develop these handheld snacks, which will likely include classic choices like crispy pork belly as well as eclectic combos of, perhaps, peaches braised in barrel-aged cider. Also coming up: sweet and spicy candied pecans, a perfect little complement to cider, said Sterling Paradiso.
“That’s the whole theme of the menu: stuff that goes well with cider,” he said, noting their personal preference for Thai food pairings.
Think of it not as a full-service restaurant but a bar that happens to offer “fresh, tasty finger food that’s different and interesting,” added Mia Paradiso.
They anticipate unveiling the food by late spring and by mid-summer a refinished patio that lines the bar’s floor-to-ceiling windows. Plans include building a higher wooden fence, a pergola and of course greenery. Tables will highlight more Olympic cedar, which, like the interior pieces, is sourced from old-growth trees cut down decades ago near the Hoh Rainforest.
If the early crowds at Cider & Cedar 2.0 are any indication, the concept was undoubtedly missed during its 14-month hiatus.
The Paradisos introduced their specialized taproom concept to the city in 2020. By the summer of 2021, despite proving that a bar dedicated to cider could thrive, the couple decided they could no longer do business at that location. As The News Tribune reported late that year, an encampment at Tacoma Avenue South and 7th Street had mushroomed into untenable conditions, leading to violent incidents outside and inside the bar. Calls for support from them, from the since-closed fitness center next door and from the apartments above went largely unheeded by police and city officials, they said.
“We originally wanted to be in a historic building,” they said, pointing to the original terrazzo floors they uncovered and the 1950s-era tile lines on the cement of a former pharmacy.
Albert W. Bridge, a physician from Eatonville, led the construction of the Marcourt Building in 1931. It was home to his hospital, The Bridge Clinic — “one of finest on this coast” according to a story in the Tacoma Daily Ledger — until the late ‘40s and remained a medical facility through the 1960s. Over the next four decades it fell into disrepair, rescued by a developer in 2003. The following year, it joined the city’s historic register.
“The goal,” said Mia Paradiso, “was to be a showcase for the region.”
Even the cider emerges from a gorgeous hunk of wood fashioned into a back-bar for the draft system. In its new home, we get an even better view.
▪ Details: new home for bar dedicated to PNW cider served on Olympic cedar tabletops; follow on Instagram for live music and other upcoming events
▪ Notes: 21+, street-food snacks coming in late spring, patio seating this summer
This story was originally published March 22, 2023, 1:00 PM.
Kristine Sherred joined The News Tribune in December 2019, following a decade in Chicago where she worked for restaurants, a liquor wholesaler and a culinary bookstore. She previously covered the food business for Industry Dive and William Reed. Find her on Instagram @kcsherred and Twitter @kriscarasher. Support my work with a digital subscription