May 18, 2022

carlospizzarestaurant

Foodies welcome

Uncle Thurms Soul Food closed in Tacoma’s Lincoln District

Thurmond Brokenbrough holds a sample platter from Uncle Thurm’s Soul Food on Mar. 10, 2013. The Lincoln District restaurant closed recently.

Staff photographer

The owners of Uncle Thurms Soul Food have closed their Lincoln District restaurant after 16 years but haven’t ruled out a return in a new location.

Linda and Thurmond Brokenbrough opened the comfort food destination at 3709 S. G St. in 2005, following a few years cooking at Lincoln Bowl. The last day of service was Sept. 15, Linda Brokenbrough confirmed in a phone call with The News Tribune.

“What’s unique,” she said Monday afternoon, “we served across the board — comfort food, meatloafs and stuff like that. People love ribs, they don’t necessarily want to eat ribs every day.”

The menu also featured Americana classics like fried chicken, pork chops and roast, she added.

“We’ve always cooked from scratch. We never opened up cans or boxes: That’s what makes a difference, and people can taste the difference,” Brokenbrough said.

In their mid-60s, the Brokenbroughs pushed through the pandemic, but it wasn’t easy.

“When you’re making a third of what you’re used to making…” said Linda Brokenbrough, referencing the many months of takeout-only and limited indoor dining, meeting every payment demand, from rent to taxes, is a daily battle.

They tried to secure relief funding, she said, but none panned out. The primary reason for the closure, though, is that in June they learned the building owners would sell the property.

According to Pierce County property records, Larry and Sherry Wells bought the 3,500-square-foot building, situated on a 7,100-square-foot lot across the street from Lincoln High School, in 2000 for $130,000. On July 27, 2021, They sold it to Cristy Hang and Pham Chinh Kieu Minh, a married couple with a Kent address, for $320,000.

The 2022 taxable value of the parcel is $263,000.

Brokenbrough doesn’t know what will come of the Lincoln District space. She was aware that across the street, the former Lincoln Hardware building will soon house CloudKitchens, a ghost kitchen concept for delivery-only restaurants owned by original Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.

Longtime customers and real estate owners have “inundated” the couple with requests to re-open in a new home, she said. If that were to happen, they would prefer staying in the Tacoma area.

Originally from Delaware, they moved here in 1977 for Thurmond’s military career. Travel to various stations ensued, but when it came time to settle down, they wanted to return to Tacoma.

“It was a peaceful, calm environment,” said Linda Brokenbrough, “and the thing is, when you’re the baby of the family — we’re the babies on both sides — we got away so we could grow up.”

They often hosted barbecues at their house, leading friends and family to encourage them to open their own restaurant. Now they are closing the door on one chapter while plotting the next, which could — after a few weeks’ respite — entail more comfort food for Tacoma.

“We don’t know for sure yet,” said Brokenbrough. “They way we’re being inundated with calls, I don’t think it’s gonna be long. Our customers are tugging at the heartstrings.”

This story was originally published September 21, 2021 5:00 AM.

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.