Vegetarian, Alfresco

Cafe Flora Has a Fetching New Patio

Seattle's landmark vegetarian restaurant trades a tent for a year-round outdoor space.

By Ann Karneus July 25, 2022

Think of it as an outdoor extension of Cafe Flora's atrium.

As the pandemic continues to shape-shift, restaurants are upgrading their hastily made outdoor spaces to more permanent—and pretty—fixtures. Cafe Flora recently opened its renovated back patio just in time for summer to finally get hot.

The eminent vegetarian destination (one of Seattle Met's 100 best restaurants) transformed a little-used garden space behind its Madison Valley address. Now a greenhouse-like roof lets in plenty of light. The project also laid brick in the dining area, built wrap-around benches, and doubled the seating capacity from 15 to 30.

Owner Nat Stratton-Clarke describes the space as a secret garden. A fountain gurgles in the center, drowning out any residual street noise from Madison. The surrounding trees keep things shady and cool; hanging heaters will make this space a year-round thing.

“Seattleites have really become just true lovers of outdoor dining in a way that we weren't pre-pandemic,” says Stratton-Clarke.

When Covid struck, the space necessarily transformed into a quickly assembled proto-patio. When cooler months set in, Stratton-Clarke rented a giant white tent, expecting to have it for “three to four months, not two years.”

Like the restaurant's indoor dining room, the patio is walk-in only. 

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