Community-minded cafe Red reopens with new vegan goods

In April, Cafe Red in Othello reopened for business after being closed for almost seven months. The beloved neighbourhood café has reopened with an all-vegan menu, an abundance of goods from local businesses, and a renewed commitment to the community.

Co-owners Jesiah Wurtz and Haley Williams hope to provide the community with a place of love, safety, and authenticity through their thoughtful space, food, and events.

Wurtz stated, “We all just need a little bit of grace, and so it’s important to me to be able to create a space where anyone can walk through the doors and feel like they belong, where it feels like you can show up and be yourself completely and authentically.” And I believe there haven’t been many of these spaces historically.

It has been a long pandemic road for the vegan café, which began as a bicycle cafe pop-up in 2015. The café was closed in March of 2020 due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Then they reopened from August 2020 to August 2021, before closing again until this April.

Veganism is an essential aspect of the café’s ability to serve the South Seattle community, according to Williams and Wurtz. In an interview with the South Seattle Emerald, Wurtz remarked, “People talk a lot about how South Seattle is a food desert.” “There are relatively few plant-based options available to those who seek them. Some individuals are concerned with animal welfare and suffering. Others consider the environmental impact of their choices. Other individuals must pay attention to their health… But one of the greatest obstacles is accessibility, so we wanted to make it simple for people to make this choice.”

“When we first opened, we were actually vegetarian,” Williams explained. “However, we are both vegan, and [the pandemic] gave us the opportunity to reconsider why we don’t just become fully vegan. Why don’t we incorporate veganism into the actual café if we’re failing veganism, our own values?

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