Seattle’s Only Spanish Speaking Cafe Opens In Green Lake
Olé Cafe quietly opened a month ago. Tucked into the former Diggity Dog space in Tangletown, it is Seattle’s only Spanish speaking cafe. The space was started by Amanda Reichert, who we recently got to chat with about her new Green Lake cafe.
Seattle Greenlaker: Welcome to Green Lake! Tell us more about your self proclaimed love affair with the Spanish language and the background of Olé Cafe.
Amanda: I grew up in Seattle, and started learning Spanish at the age of 12. After graduating with a degree in Spanish language, I lived in Mexico for a year, where I taught English. Upon returning to Seattle, I started teaching at an immersion school in Wallingford, which I did for 3 years, before doing another year abroad, this time in Spain. I lived in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, which is where my love and passion for the Spanish culture grew, and is what inspired me to make Olé Café Spanish-themed. I returned from Spain in 2012 and worked for 2 years teaching middle school Spanish, but ultimately decided that I was ready to branch out from the public-school system, which is why I opened my own school, Vámonos Spanish Center, in 2014. The school has progressively grown via word of mouth, and 5 years later is booming!
Seattle Greenlaker: So why Olé Cafe?
Amanda: As Vámonos Spanish Center grew, so did the need for our students to have a place where they could practice speaking. The vision to create Olé Café came about in order to create a space for students to meet peers and native speakers, in a real life setting.
Seattle Greenlaker: How are things going one month in?
Amanda: After reaching our one-month mark of being open, I can say that we have been well received by the community. Many people who live in the neighborhood speak Spanish, and they have been very excited to come in and order, or chat with other patrons. Overall there has been a positive vibe, especially from students learning Spanish, or native speakers. From the non-Spanish speaking patrons, it has been a mix of curiosity, confusion, and at times resistance. However that was as I expected, and while I hope to make the café an inclusive place, maintaining the concept is much more important to me, and its ok that it’s not a fit for everyone.
Seattle Greenlaker: Tell us more about your menu and chefs.
Amanda: We prepare some tapas in-house, and serve others from an amazing restaurant in Mill Creek, Tablas WoodstoneTaverna, by chef Clara Gutierrez. While we aren’t a restaurant, we offer a good selection of savory and sweet tapas. The favorites so far have been the tortilla española and churros con chocolate.
Seattle Greenlaker: So what is next for you at Olé Cafe?
Amanda: I am excited as the café grows to expand the variety of events that we will host, such as live flamenco music, dancing classes, workshops and more. I will also experiment with adding different tapas occasionally to spice up the menu.
Olé Cafe is located at 5421 Meridian Avenue N