407 Cedar Street
Seattle, WA 98121
I can picture us–my beloved pusher and me–in our younger days, visiting Seattle from our little Oregon hometown, strolling near the Seattle Center on an early Saturday morning, and stumbling upon Cedar Street. I can see us finding the lovely little brick restaurant that is the Tilikum Place Café, with its shiny windows looking out onto the tree-shaded street, and entering into the glow of the beautifully appointed restaurant.
I can picture the delight and surprise we would feel perusing the menu, sipping a gorgeously sculpted latte, and receiving the many kindnesses of the servers there. What a find this lovely café would have been—the ambiance, the amazing Dutch babies and skillet-served, pea-vine draped eggs, and the loving service–all of it clear evidence that we were not “in Kansas” anymore.
But that vision of meandering from the Kansas of our little Oregon town into Seattle’s Tilikum Place Cafe is an image of us in my walking years. Unfortunately in my wheelchair years, this lovely and delicious restaurant presents some barriers.
I want to emphasize that the problems here for those of us with mobility limitations are not because of the staff. When we called for a reservation, the person answering the phone asked how big my wheelchair was and what kind of seating would be easiest for me—a round table? a rectangular space? She was clearly aware of and thoughtful about the challenges restaurants can present. When we arrived, the hostess saw that our reserved table would require navigation through seating so close together all the diners between us and our table would have had to move, so she quickly seated us at an easier-to-access table, pictured below at the end of the red arrow.
When our trip to the bathroom was blocked by extra chairs, staff quickly and graciously removed them so we could get through and quietly put them back after we returned.
The staff at the Tilikum Place Cafe clearly care about providing a great dining experience for everyone, including those of us with mobility issues. But like all businesses in older buildings, theTilikum Place Café is somewhat at the mercy of the space it inherited, and–adding a further challenge–of a menu so good that the tightly-placed tables are always going to be filled to capacity.