A mea culpa from your hardworking team at Eater Seattle: Until Monday’s Vanishing Seattle Instagram post about the very-much-not-vanishing Luna Park Cafe, we had totally missed the news that the stylish West Seattle icon had reopened in March. We had driven by there a couple times prior to the opening, hoping to see signs of life, but should have been paying closer attention. Consider this post to be an apology, and also a directive — now that the diner is open and the West Seattle Bridge is back, you have no excuse to pay a visit to the last remnant of Luna Park.
Luna Park, for those of you who don’t remember the early 1900s, was West Seattle’s answer to Coney Island. Opened in 1907 (when West Seattle was still its own city), the amusement park’s attractions included a pool, “The Original Human Ostrich,” and “Infant Electrobator,” according to this HistoryLink essay. The other main attraction was the bar, which moralizing West Seattle residents disapproved of so much they merged with main Seattle in part because they thought the equally moralizing mayor would crack down on the vices Luna Park would bring. The amusement park remained controversial (at one point its manager was revealed to be a shareholder in a 500-room brothel run by the chief of police), and closed everything but its swimming pool in 1913; the pool was burned down by an arsonist in 1931.
That sordid history doesn’t have a whole lot to do with Luna Park Cafe, though the diner has adopted a Luna Park entertainer as its logo. Owner John Bennett took over the World War II-era building (then occupied by a run-down bar) in 1989 and has been a neighborhood staple ever since, surviving the pandemic and the West Seattle Bridge closure. Last September Bennett announced the restaurant would close for a couple of months for cleaning, repairs, and a systems update.
This took longer than anticipated, but now Luna Park is back in business seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Even better, according to Vanishing Seattle there are plans to extend those hours into dinner in the near future.