Opening a sit-down vegetarian restaurant that relies on locally sourced produce inside an airport takes some extra effort, but Nat Stratton-Clarke thinks it’s worth it.
Floret opened at Sea-Tac International Airport in mid-February, and is a spinoff of Cafe Flora, which has operated in Madison Park for the last 27 years. Stratton-Clarke purchased the restaurant a decade ago.
“We’re used to farmers coming to our backdoor every day with two flats of strawberries or five pounds of chanterelles,” he said, and he didn’t want that to stop with Floret. “We got a lot of our farmers badged, so they could come here and deliver to our restaurant, which is new for the vendors and definitely for the airport.”
The 2,000-square-foot vegetarian and vegan restaurant is next to the new Delta lounge, between terminals A and B, seats 80, and includes breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus grab-and-go options for busy travelers or Port of Seattle employees.
Stratton-Clarke said he’d been thinking about expanding for a while, and he felt he had a great group of managers at Cafe Flora that could help.
After looking in Capitol Hill and Ballard, he said, the airport came up as a possibility, and he thought about how there are not many healthy and tasty options for traveling vegetarians.
Floret takes over space that was last used as a TSA baggage inspection site; Stratton-Clarke says he loves the large windows and natural light — the design is meant to reflect a conservatory feel. He’s there most mornings, and then at Cafe Flora in the evenings.
“Breakfast and brunch are what we’re known for, and it’s something that I think we’re really great at,” he said.
Breakfast at Floret includes scrambles, platters, biscuits-and-gravy, pancakes, wraps, sandwiches and a daily quiche. Stratton-Clarke said he’s excited about being able to offer a Stumptown Coffee program, and there will also be Rachel’s Ginger Beer, Tieton Cider Works and Fremont Brewing IPA on tap, among other local beers.
Bernadette Biela, who started as a sous chef with Stratton-Clarke at Cafe Flora, is heading the kitchen at Floret.
Floret has so far had a good reception, Stratton-Clarke said, and, yes, it’s a different environment, with having deliveries inspected and all of his employees having to pass an airport security background check.
“I think also the benefits outweigh the challenges, that’s for sure,” he said, and the airport provides plenty of traffic. “It’s like a Seahawks game coming through every day.”
Floret is open 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily for grab-and-go and 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. for dining room seating.