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Seattle institution Beth's Cafe is back, but a little different

A blue building next to a busy street has a sign that reads "Beth's is back baby! Eggs-n-bacon!" along with business hours.
Lilly Ana Fowler
Beth's Cafe on Aurora Ave N in Seattle.

A lot of restaurants in the region are still recovering from the pandemic. Beth’s Cafe, a Seattle institution since 1954, is the latest restaurant to reopen after being forced to temporarily shutter its doors.

On Sunday, the first weekend after Beth’s Cafe reopening, there was a line out the door and a two hour wait. People cheered as their party got called.

The enthusiasm surrounding Beth’s reopening can be attributed to several factors, including that it’s one of the few diners in the area known for being open in the wee hours of the morning.

Jason Killmer has been coming to Beth’s for years.

“It’s always been a great place to come for breakfast, and just late at night after the bars close, and the parties are over,” Killmer said.

But that doesn’t mean everything at Beth’s Cafe is the same. The eatery, for example, now asks customers to order its signature 12-egg omelets and peanut butter shakes using a QR code.

That way we're able to actually hire more versatile people that can do anything. They can bus tables, they can run food, they can, you know, whatever you need them to do,said manager Sam Gilliss. 

And for right now at least, the latest Beth's Cafe is open is 5 p.m.

Gilliss said they’re waiting to see how business goes before expanding.

“It really comes down to having the butts in the seat, you know, the product, the whole bit,” Gilliss said.

The owner of Beth’s Cafe, Chris Dalton, passed away from cancer at the beginning of the pandemic.

"You know, this is Chris's passion, and we're not going to let it die on our watch," Gilliss said.

Dalton’s wife, Hazel, is now running the eatery.

Lilly Ana Fowler covers social justice issues investigating inequality with an emphasis on labor and immigration. Story tips can be sent to