Happy hour rules at South Lake Union's Cactus
Cactus in South Lake Union looks more modern, with a wrought-iron scheme and dozens of hanging light fixtures and New Mexico décor lanterns scattered across the 5,000-square-foot space, but the happy-hour menu is the same at all the chain's locations.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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The Cactus on South Lake Union is the latest addition to this wildly popular local Mexican chain, started by the Chatalas brothers 20 years ago. You can't miss it. It glows in hues of yellow and orange at night. It sits in one of the hottest happy-hour 'hoods in the city, near the trio of Tom Douglas restaurants.
The success of the original Cactus on Madison Park was built on made-from-scratch fare that is best described as a smorgasbord of Tex-Mex and Southwestern cuisine, served in a family-friendly setting.
The new Cactus on South Lake Union is more about the happy hour, with as many seats (70) in the bar area as in the dining room.
It's a reflection on the changing dining habits of Seattleites who love happy hour and, even during dinner, love the casual dining at the bar, said co-owner Bret Chatalas. "We designed it with that kind of dining in mind."
Cactus here looks more modern, with a wrought-iron scheme and dozens of hanging light fixtures and New Mexico décor lanterns scattered across the 5,000-square-foot space. (It's bigger than the other three Cactus branches.)
It's the same happy-hour menu at all four Cactus. Two standbys you can always count on: the meaty, sweet, deep-fried shrimp covered in a spicy sauce and the nachos. Cactus was among the first in Seattle to fancy up the nacho. It's topped with roasted corn, charred tomato salsa, black olives, guacamole with its signature sour cream-buttermilk sauce.
Cactus-style happy hour features smoked chicken quesadilla with salty bacon; deep-fried blue corn dusted calamari and jalapeño; and bacon wrapped jalapeño stuffed with goat cheese.
Is it authentic Mexican? The Cactus happy-hour devotees do not ponder such matters. The bar food may look different, but the flavor profile is Tex-Mex familiar: salty, cheesy and salsa-accented snacks that go down easy with margaritas.
Cactus, 350 Terry Ave. N., offers happy hour daily Mondays-Fridays 3-6 p.m. and 3-5 p.m. on weekends, with $2-$6 bar food, $3.50 beer, $5-$6 wine, $5 sangria and cocktails (206-913-2250 or cactusrestaurants.com). The happy hour is the same at branches in Madison Park, Kirkland and Alki Beach.
Tan Vinh: email@example.com. On Twitter @tanvinhseattle.
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