Indochine’s Creativity in Crisis

What do you do in a community crisis? If you’re Russel Brunton at Indochine in downtown Tacoma, you figure out how to prepare tasty meals for hungry local heroes and keep your staff on the job.

From the early days of the coronavirus challenge, Brunton joined several other restaurant owners to provide nutritious meals for medical personnel at local hospitals. They worked in collaboration with Hero Meals. Donors provided funds, and Downtown Tacoma Partnership ordered and delivered meals. Indochine has prepared some 30 delicious meals a week.

“It’s great to work with Downtown Tacoma Partnership,” Brunton said. J.D. Elquist is a fantastic coordinator. They promote online. He communicates daily, and people cooperate. Consistency is really important.”

“The shutdown has been an exercise in creativity,” Brunton explained. “We reduced our prices by 25 percent. The challenge has been to keep the food fresh and to keep the boxed orders straight.” Brunton found that fried rice, noodles and curry dishes travel especially well, but he tries to add something different to the menu every week.

During difficult weeks it hasn’t been just about the food or about community service. It’s been about individuals who need to work. Brunton says Indochine has been aggressive about keeping people employed. “It’s important to keep our group together, to keep everyone active, to keep their skills sharp,” he said. “Our business is skill-based and team-oriented.” 

“I think the most exciting thing to me is when we are able to bring staff members back to work,” Brunton said. “We have a lot of young people working at the restaurant, and when we can bring one back, it is a great feeling. They are excited to get back to the restaurant and get back to work.”

Most staff work in the kitchen to prepare the signature Indochine dishes. During the shutdown phase, three or four team members have worked in the front on every shift to distribute pickup orders. 

Cooperation, creativity and community service have been key to weathering the COVID-19 pandemic.


For more information: 


1924 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402 

(253) 272-8200

Delicious Take-Out – Just Add Park Bench

The sun’s shining. The park is waiting.
And you’ve earned a treat.
It’s time for some good take-out.
In no particular order — bon appétit!

Crockett’s Public House, with locations in both Puyallup and Maple Valley, offers scratch-made food with a laid-back vibe. Regulars praise its grilled cheese sandwich and tomato bisque, or try the made-to-order chowder and kale caesar salad.

Crudo & Cotto at 2717 North Proctor Street, Tacoma, features mouthwatering appetizers, seafood, a variety of entrees and desserts. “Crudo” means “raw or almost,” and “cotto” is “cooked.” Fresh, complex food includes ingredients like ostrich, marinated carpaccio (red-wine marinated beef dry-cured for 90 days) and hamachi (a raw fish preparation, dressed with olive oil, sea salt, lemon juice, arugula and radish).

Just up the hill from Tacoma’s Ruston Way amenities is Macaluso’s Italian Restaurant at 5101 North Pearl Street. This family-owned restaurant features authentic Italian food and wine. Diners rave about the house-made focaccia bread and mouth-watering pasta entrees loaded with fresh seafood.

For a quick grab-and-go, just up the road, Central Co-op at 4502 N Pearl St in Tacoma is perfect for a bite on the way to Point Defiance Park, the Ruston waterfront or Vashon ferry. The community-owned grocery store focuses on local vendors and organic, healthy food. Check out the in-house taqueria bar and huge selection of kombucha and regional brews.

Indochine is a feast for your senses, nestled in the heart of a great Northwest cultural center. The flavors of Thailand, China, India, Japan, and Vietnam meld together to produce a wonderful culinary palette that is sure to impress your and your guests’ tastes. To finish your meal, select one of Indochine’s desserts, all of which are made in-house, such as one of their many gelato flavors, Crème Brûlée, Lemon Coconut Cake, or their Nemesis Flourless Chocolate Cake.

At Chicory, the Northwest meets New Orleans. At 111 Columbia Street NW, Olympia, the focus is on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients and natural wine. Try the fried oyster banh mi sandwich, and who can leave behind powered-sugar dusted beignets?

Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar at 222 Capitol Way North incorporates their own locally farmed oysters, clams and geoducks into their specialty seafood dishes. Grab a pound of steamed clams and garlic bread or fish and chips and beet salad and make your own picnic.


Asian-Inspired Food, Beautiful Ambiance

From the moment you enter Indochine, you feel as though you have been transported to an exotic locale. The indoor water feature fills an unassuming fish pond surrounded by rich wooden tables and benches. Warm lighting and Asian-inspired décor help set the mood. And an open floor plan invites guests to interact with one another.

While the ambiance is certainly a draw, it is the food that keeps guests returning time and time again. Known for its fusion of all Asian cuisines, Indochine creates dishes that are inspired by Thai, Chinese and even Northwest cultures. Toasted sesame wraps, a mouthwatering Indochine favorite, feature chicken caramelized with roasted cashews, peanuts, sweet mango and aromatic basil served with flaky flatbread. This interpretation is requested by guests over and over. Each menu item is carefully constructed by the chefs to be not only delicious but visually stunning, says Owner Russell Burton. “There is a lot of heart and soul on these plates,” he says. Gluten-free options are available too.

An attentive and knowledgeable staff greets you at the door and answers questions about the current menu, potential wine pairings and popular cocktails. The environment seen in the front of the house is echoed in the kitchen, where staff members are always experimenting with new ideas. “We have quite a few ethnic backgrounds in our kitchen and it really shows in the amazing food we put out every day,” says Burton. He notes that all of the desserts are handmade each day, ensuring a fresh ending to each incredible meal.

Perfect for lunch, date night, or banquet parties, Indochine offers beautiful dishes that will please palates of all preferences. Call or go on-line for reservations and takeout.

1924 Pacific Ave, Tacoma