With more vegetarians, vegans and ingredient-savvy diners traveling through America’s airports, Cafe Flora, a 25-year-old landmark for vegetarian cuisine in Seattle, is taking its concept to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport this year under the name Floret. This spinoff of the popular cafe will be a 2,000-square-foot light-filled space located next to the new Delta lounge between A and B terminals.
This is the first exclusively vegetarian and vegan restaurant to open at Sea-Tac, and one of just a handful of vegetarian airport restaurants in the nation. Construction breaks ground in mid-April, with the official opening slated for September 2017.
“It’s a thrill to offer something fresh and different to hungry Sea-Tac travelers, and whether vegetarian or not, we create hearty, nourishing and delicious items intended to appeal to anyone,” said owner Nat Stratton-Clarke. “In the past, for many traveling vegetarians or people looking for a healthier option, eating in airports meant an iceberg salad or oatmeal; in Seattle, those times are about to change.”
Independently owned and operated, opting out of the often-utilized concessionaire model seen at many airport restaurants, Stratton-Clarke has gone to great lengths to replicate the same high level of quality ingredients used at Cafe Flora. He’s spent months working with his regional farm sources and purveyors to get them airport “badged” (obtaining vendor credentials) to offer the seasonal, local, fresh produce that will be found on the Floret menu.
The 70-seat restaurant will serve both dine-in and grab-and-go clientele for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There will also be a full bar serving craft cocktails, local Washington beer, wine and hard cider.
Incoming chef Bernadette Bacani said diners can expect flavorful and creative vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes that utilize local Washington and organic produce (such as Local Roots in Carnation, Tonnemakers in Woodinville, Whistling Train Farm in Kent, and Hayton Farms in Skagit Valley).
Grab-and-go offerings: breakfast sandwiches, housemade pastries including Cafe Flora’s signature vegan cinnamon rolls, superfood salads, and mixed grain bowls featuring everything from quinoa to falafel.
Dine-in offerings: hearty sit down breakfasts including biscuits with mushroom gravy, scrambles, and pancakes for kids. Dinner features signature items including the Oaxaca tacos and mushroom French dip with yam fries, as well as a plethora of salads, entrees and sandwiches.
Beverages: a visit to Floret will also provide an opportunity for travelers to sample many of the Northwest’s favorite beverages including Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Rachel’s Ginger Beer on tap, Tieton Cider Works hard cider, and Fremont Brewing Company IPA on tap, among other local brews. Standout nonalcoholic beverages include housemade sodas and shrubs, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and kombucha on tap.
Another of Stratton-Clarke’s touches is bringing the atrium-like atmosphere of his Seattle cafe to Floret. The unique Sea-Tac space takes on a life of its own, with 20-foot-high ceilings and large conservatory-style windows with tarmac views that allow natural light to spill into the dining room. A large living plant wall from Botanical Designs greets guests, and plants cascading from metal-sculpted armatures add vitality and help bring the outdoors inside. Contemporary interior design elements include hexagonal cement tiles, brass accents, geometric wood backdrops and soft color accents that create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Outlets under every bar seat conveniently allow guests to plug in and work or charge electronics.
“Plants and greenery bring a relaxing, restorative effect to any space, and we really wanted that peace for travelers dining at Floret,” Stratton-Clarke said. “We are pulling in elements of our original Seattle cafe while giving Floret a playful, modern identity all its own. The space will be a tranquil and relaxing haven for weary travelers.”
Floret will be open daily from 6 a.m. – 11 p.m. serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with the grab-and-go Counter opening up an hour earlier at 5 a.m. floretseattle.com