By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Eleven months ago, we published Chaco Canyon Organic Café‘s request for your opinion: Would their vegetarian/vegan cuisine be welcomed in West Seattle? The response was an overwhelming “yes” – and today, they are two weeks away from their April 1st opening in The Triangle’s new development Link (WSB sponsor).
Though finishing touches remain, we stopped in on Tuesday for the first sneak peek inside, courtesy of the same team we had interviewed at Chaco Canyon’s U-District location 4 months ago – owner Chris Maykut and West Seattle general manager Sarah Coyle.
They are excited and ebullient about West Seattle-homegrown components to the new café – from the soon-to-be-hung light fixtures (above) created “in a studio under the West Seattle Bridge,” to a staff with a significant number of West Seattleites, including two who also plan to live upstairs at Link (whose first tenants move in on March 25th).
This week, there were still decisions to be made – like, how many tables? The tables and wood trim (above) around the new restaurant are made with recycled materials, which thrills Chris to no end – recycled palettes, to be specific, “glue-laminated.”
They are also excited about the community room on the north side of the 2,800-square-foot space. It’ll hold between 30 and 40 people, and will be rentable for meetings and classes, Chris explains – when it’s not in use, it’ll be more space for people to sit down and enjoy Chaco Canyon food and drink.
Any changes since last time we spoke? They’ve decided not to be open Sunday nights, for now – Sarah added, “We want to grow into it.” On Sundays, they will be open for brunch, 9 am-3 pm. Mondays-Fridays, Chaco Canyon will be open 7 am-9 pm, and on Saturdays, it’ll be 9 am-9 pm.
Their staff already is in training, having done an orientation at the original Chaco Canyon and then a followup last Friday at the new location. Before they get into “friends and family” shakedown cruises the last few days before the scheduled April 1st opening, they are inviting you to a March 26th open house.
Even on official opening day, some parts of the new café – which you’ll enter from the southwestern corner of Link (38th/Alaska, above) – will be a work in progress. The retail space along the eastern wall – where you will eventually find cookbooks, among other things – will not be fully fleshed out. Chris says they need to “nose around West Seattle” to see what there’s a need for, particularly relating to vegan, organic, raw, gluten-free nutrition. They might sell art, as well – art will have a prominent place inside Chaco Canyon, as it does throughout the rest of Link (the Twilight Artist Collective curation for the main part of the building doesn’t extend into its businesses, but Chris notes he is a longtime friend of one of Twilight’s trio of founders).
They’re also reaching out to other Triangle businesses; Sarah says she’s been talking with the West Seattle Family YMCA (WSB sponsor) and is “really inspired” by what they are doing and offering.
But back to details. As we wrap up our chat, Chris is wondering about the light bulbs for the new glass fixtures (he pointed out to us earlier that many of the lights in the restaurant will be LEDs, with a major energy savings).
And as we all look out the window at what was at the time a rainy morning, he and Sarah mention there will be outdoor seating when the weather gets nicer, along the west-facing facade, 16 to 20 people.
That’s still a few months away. In the meantime, the doors will officially swing open at 7 am Friday, April 1st, after that March 26th sneak peek, which will be 7-11 pm, with appetizers, beer, and wine – no RSVP needed, “if 500 people show up, we’ll feed 500 people,” Chris promises.