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Shorty's Grub House is a haven for hungry tummies | Business Buzz

Left to right: Steve Sheeley with his daughter Yvonne Emanoff and spouse Barb Sheeley make ready for hungry customers at Shorty’s Grub House in Federal Way. - Debra Feammelli/For The Mirror
Left to right: Steve Sheeley with his daughter Yvonne Emanoff and spouse Barb Sheeley make ready for hungry customers at Shorty’s Grub House in Federal Way.
— image credit: Debra Feammelli/For The Mirror

Homemade, tummy-filling comfort food highlights the menu at the newly opened diner, Shorty’s Grub House of Federal Way, owned by local residents Barb and Steve Sheeley.

“I love good food,” Steve Sheeley said.

Meatloaf sandwiches, grilled hamburgers, barbecued pork ribs (served on Fridays only), chili, chicken, pulled pork and beef brisket are some hearty choices. Old-time favorites also include BLTs (bacon, lettuce and tomato) sandwiches, corn bread, pumpkin pie, salads (macaroni, potato and cole slaw), onion rings and French fries.

Made the old-fashioned way, onions are sliced and dipped in homemade batter and potatoes are scrubbed, sliced and kept in cold water until fried. In season varieties of both vegetables are used.

To enhance the homey flavors of comfort food, the couple developed a signature barbecue sauce, called Grubbin Sauce, and different spice rubs for pork, beef, chicken and salmon.

“Our salmon pesto sandwich is unique,” Steve Sheeley said.

He starts with a fresh whole salmon, which he fillets, seasons and cooks in the restaurant smoker. Before serving, the salmon receives a smothering of homemade pesto sauce, dashes of made-from-scratch tartar sauce, layers of lettuce and tomato and a toasted onion roll.

Take out has been popular at Shorty’s, Barb Sheeley said. For busy people needing to pick up dinner after work, the menu offers platters of carved turkey breast, chicken fried steaks, homestyle meatloaf and chicken with a choice of two sides.

Also, the restaurant features weekly specials in addition to Friday’s ribs, for example, lasagna, Caesar salad with homemade croutons and macaroni and cheese (with five different cheeses).

The couple created and honed their recipes over many years, including the past seven years as a caterer. In fact, at a recent summer event, they fed more than 2,000 people.

Shorty’s is located at 34417 Pacific Highway S. Its 740 square feet accommodates up to 28 diners. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The couple still does food catering for both small and big events. Their daughter Yvonne Emanoff is also part of the family business team.

Shorty’s Grub House was named after Steve Sheeley’s deceased father, Russell Sheeley, a former construction worker whose nickname was Shorty.

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