Spring is in full swing around the Pacific Northwest and changes are afoot at Cactus! As you may have heard, we have just opened our sixth location in Tacoma’s Proctor Neighborhood and it’s been a really great experience to get this one up and running. Our last two openings, South Lake Union in 2011 and Bellevue Square in 2013, were built in very densely populated urban trade areas, so we knew that this time around we really wanted to get back our roots. Meaning, we really wanted to get back to being a local neighborhood joint. We love being part of the communities that we are in, and Proctor was a neighborhood that immediately spoke to us. It felt like we could really add something significant that was missing.
We initially started looking outside of Seattle because there are a number of issues confronting the market there. Specifically, rents are too high and labor is the tightest we’ve seen in 25 years. In addition, the city council has made it clear they don’t really want or need additional businesses. And despite all of this, the restaurant industry is overbuilt—there are just too many seats in Seattle. So we looked north, we looked east, and we looked south, and we eventually found the perfect spot in the Proctor Neighborhood—it felt right from the start.
The space itself is wonderful. It’s positioned on a corner with a large outdoor patio facing west that we will convert into a ten month (if not year-round) dining room. There’s an ample wrap-around bar, a bar dining area, a main dining room and a smaller dining area just off the entrance that faces Proctor street. Overall, this location is more contemporary than any of our other spots and we introduced some really great operational improvements that will be appreciated by both staff and guests alike.
There are power outlets at almost every table which will keep your devices running. We have a side entrance for delivery drivers (Uber Eats, Door Dash, etc.) so they can get in and out efficiently and don’t interfere with our guests in the process. Behind the scenes we have installed paperless display screens in the kitchen to manage guest orders and that has really changed the way our kitchen operates. The order flow is now much more efficient (and environmentally friendly) and the whole team loves it. And in the bar, we are doing draft margaritas! This is huge deal. There is a whole new world of bar equipment that has made this possible, and the result is a more consistent drink that is made quickly. Our bartenders have been thanking us since day one for saving their shoulders.
Please come visit us at Cactus Proctor soon. It’s a great neighborhood and we’re lucky to be a part of it. Visit the Proctor page for hours and information.
Southwest Kitchen + Bar
In addition to opening a new Cactus in Tacoma, we have also been quietly refreshing our brand over the last year or so—both visually and conceptually. Working with designer and longtime Cactus collaborator Geoffrey Smith, we first looked to simplify our logo mark a bit and to also be a little more deliberate in our messaging. We are now officially calling ourselves a Southwest Kitchen + Bar. We have never had any intentions of owning the somewhat nebulous (and trendy) concept of “authenticity” at Cactus. Instead, we have always opted to carve out our own path. Being unique is a point of pride with us, and we’re very happy to leave authenticity to others—we’re uniquely Cactus and we’re staying that way. And, part of that unique identity is celebrating a menu that borrows heavily from the cuisine of the American Southwest. So, we’re Cactus Southwest Kitchen + Bar now. Same as it ever was…
New Menu Design
In addition to new brand collateral, we also redesigned our menu system from the ground up. New Cactus menus have larger fonts (yes, our eyes are getting older too!) and the aesthetic is much more in line with the overall look and feel of the rest of the Cactus brand—simpler layout and easier on the eyes. Look for the new guacamole options that are now available at all locations as well as a newly organized agave section with both tequila and mezcal flights. And of course, we’re still producing our popular Feature Menu each month which acts kind of like the Cactus “farm team” menu. With this menu you can sample some brand new (occasionally experimental) dishes and cocktails that may someday make it to the big league menu. Let us know if there’s something you really like (or would like to see in the future).
We hope you are enjoying Spring! And we hope you will stop by your friendly neighborhood Cactus very soon. Salute!