The Flora Bakehouse in Beacon Hill previously served as a production bakery for its sister restaurants, Cafe Flora in Madison Valley, and Floret, a busy grab-and-go counter at the Sea-Tac Airport. As of this past Saturday, January 23rd, The Flora Bakehouse is now welcoming the community to their newly opened public cafe.
“We fell in love with this tight-knit Beacon Hill community and are so excited to expand the bakery into a neighborhood gathering place,” said Nat Stratton-Clarke, owner of Cafe Flora. “It’s even more meaningful that 2021 marks Cafe Flora’s 30th anniversary; the transformation from production bakery into The Flora Bakehouse has turned out to be unintentionally well-timed.”
Stratton-Clarke was clearly moved by the community’s response when I asked him if he expected to welcome so many customers on their opening day. With emotion in his eyes, he responded, “We never expected this big of a response. We have sold over 600 pastries already today!” This was around 11:30 am, and their daily hours are 7:00 am to 3:00 pm. Stratton-Clarke said that a line had formed around the block at 7:15 am and had not gone done yet.
I arrived around 10:00 am and ended up waiting in line for a little over an hour. However, the energy surrounding the opening of a public cafe at The Flora Bakehouse kept the crowd excited and made hanging out in line feel more like a community gathering than a forced wait.
We eventually made our way to the front, where we got our first look inside the cafe. Guests will immediately notice the beautiful mural by Seattle artist Carolina Silva that covers the back wall, along with thoughtful details throughout, like the hand-printed wallpaper by Lake August. After taking in the beautiful space and a small selection of gifts for sale, we ordered the cheddar and chive scone, the seasonal savory croissant, a double chocolate crinkle cookie, and a passion fruit tart. Everything was incredibly flavorful. Unfortunately, they were sold out of their famous vegan cinnamon rolls when we got to the counter, but I see it as an excuse to go back soon!
After Saturday’s opening day, Stratton-Clarke is kicking up production on pastries to provide a larger quantity to meet the unexpected demand. Guests can expect many gluten-free and vegan options, as well as savory pastries, croissants, muffins, pies, quiches, brownies, cookies, kouign amann, and a rotating menu of seasonally inspired pastries and breakfast sandwiches. Drinks are also available from their menu of inventive Stumptown espresso drinks and robust tea selection.
By late spring, barring any public health restrictions, The Flora Bakehouse will open its 40-foot-long rooftop garden for outdoor seating and views of Mt. Rainier, along with limited “parklet” seating out front. Eventually, it will also open its indoor jewel box classroom and small group space.
Stop by The Flora Bakehouse to enjoy treats to go and soak up the natural light and plant-filled space while you wait for your order. The space exudes a similar feel to Cafe Flora, along with the warm, contemporary design touches found in Floret, bringing the three spaces together and providing guests with a familiar experience.