Local news – Cafe Red reopens, new vegan grocery

Café Red, a coffee shop located on Martin Luther King Jr Way in South Seattle, recently reopened with a fully plant-based menu.  The co-owners, Jesiah Wurtz and Haley Williams, are making a renewed commitment to community, with goods from local vegan companies.  They are both vegan themselves, and feel that South Seattle is lacking in places to buy great vegan food.

“People talk a lot about how South Seattle is a food desert,” Wurtz said in an interview with the South Seattle Emerald. “If people are looking for plant-based options, [they’re] pretty few and far between. Some people care about animal welfare and suffering. Other people care about the environmental impact of their decisions. Other people need to pay attention to their health … But one of the biggest barriers is accessibility, and so we just kind of wanted to make it easy for people to make that decision.”

Along with their specialty coffee, chai and teas, their food menu features classic vegan comfort food such as vegan mac and cheez, sausage breakfast sandwiches and bacon breakfast sandwiches, along with veggie breakfast wraps, avocado toast, and hash brown patties. They are currently open until 2pm each day, and plan to start offering special community events in the near future.

The legendary OK Hotel music venue in Pioneer Square has been turned into a vegan grocery called Isle of Plants, Photo credit: Amanda Snyder/ Crosscut

Another new store, a vegan micro-grocery called Isle of Plants, recently opened in the old OK Hotel in Pioneer Square. Back in 1991, the OK (as it was commonly known) was the hottest music spot in Seattle, and the place where Nirvana debuted one of their hit songs. It was forced to close in 2001 after the Nisqually earthquake damaged the building.  As Pioneer Square recovers from the pandemic and the removal of the viaduct, buildings like the OK Hotel seem primed for repurposing.  It’s great to see a vegan grocery getting into such an iconic venue.  They are currently only open on weekends for pick up of online orders, but they hope to grow as the neighborhood recovers.

We wish both of these venues well, and hope to see more vegan restaurants and stores in Seattle as the area recovers.