Outdoor seating at a restaurant

July 17

Summertime Seating

It’s prime patio weather in South Lake Union.

With many restaurants in SLU now partially or fully open under Phase 2 of the state’s Safe Start Plan, it’s a great time to find a spot to dine al fresco in the neighborhood. 

Cactus’ Southwest flavors and slushy margaritas are always crowd pleasers, but there’s just something about sitting outdoors and enjoying an order of queso or poblano chile relleno along with a thirst quenching mix of 100 percent blue agave tequila and fresh fruit juices. 

Bret Chatalas, co-owner of Cactus Restaurants (of which there are now six locations in the Puget Sound area), is excited to have customers back.

“It has been great reopening and seeing our staff happy to return back to work, our guests starting to return, and be so grateful for our reopening. We clearly make an impact in the communities that we are in,” he said.

Chatalas, while enthusiastic about getting back to the business of feeding people, understands that the path to a turnaround for his restaurant, and the industry at large, won’t be an easy one. 

“The new normal has been a rough road, but we feel that we have had great support from our partners making surviving this unfortunate situation called 2020 a real possibility. Everyone, our employees, landlords and suppliers—directly or indirectly—have been gravely affected by COVID-19, and we look forward to rebuilding our company of over 30 years with them. We are optimistic this will all seem like a bad dream a year from now. Fingers crossed.”

Cactus is open with, according to Chatalas, extreme safety measures. “There is no measure we deem too difficult to maintain the safety of all the people that come into our restaurants,” he said. 

And that goes for the patio, too, where you can (and should) grab some Southwest favorites and wash it down with a cerveza or three. 

Restaurant outdoor rooftop patio with lake views.

Check out these other SLU hot spots that are currently offering outdoor dining:

100 Pound Clam


Art Marble 21

Bar Harbor

Café Hagen

Casco Antiguo

Daniel’s Broiler

Duke’s Seafood and Chowder

Hurry Curry of Tokyo

LOCAL Public Eatery

Mamnoon Street




Sam’s Tavern

TeKu Tavern

The Butcher’s Table

Tutta Bella

White Swan Public House

Wild Ginger McKenzie

Willmott’s Ghost

Looking for more open restaurants? Check out the new business directory at discoverslu.com. And remember, it’s a good idea to call ahead to any restaurant to check in on any new processes or hours. 

Story by Ethan Chung and photographs courtesy of Cactus Restaurants.

At The Center

SLU is the geographical center of Seattle