Update as of January 2023: Wayward Vegan Cafe has reopened!
Sad news, Seattle: the time has come to say goodbye to Wayward Café. Chances are good that if you’ve lived in Seattle for any amount of time, you’ve heard of Wayward Vegan Café: a popular all-day vegan breakfast joint located in the University District. Unfortunately, Wayward Café just closed its doors permanently on August 30.
Read on for all the details behind this closure.
Wayward Vegan Café entered the Seattle culinary scene under its current name back in 2004, although its long history stretches back to the ’90s. It survived two moves to different locations before it ended up in U-District and was doing well pre-pandemic, with lines sometimes going around the block on weekends.
Fans of Wayward, vegan or not, would go there for its straightforward all-American diner food (made with an entirely vegan twist, of course). Just because the menu was plant-based didn’t mean you couldn’t indulge in some fried, greasy comfort food. Wayward would serve up vegan versions of chicken biscuit sandwiches, eggs Benedict, pancakes, and sausages.
Ultimately, Wayward Cafe closed after suffering through the many setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic, from reduced hours to supply-chain shortages. “If we continue signing the leases and the extensions, we’ll be in our fifties… I think now’s the time to take the train off the track for us, to see what else is out in the world,” Tami Blanchette, one of the restaurant’s four co-owners, told The Stranger.
The owners did make it clear that the cafe is for sale, so it is possible that they will sell it to someone who is interested in keeping its vegan ethos alive. You can read Wayward’s full closure announcement in the caption of the Instagram post below:
If the closure of Wayward Cafe has left a hole in your heart (and stomach), take solace in the fact that there are still lots of amazing vegan options in Seattle. Check out our guide to the best vegan restaurants in Seattle.