They’ve been keeping it on the D/L ‘til now: Beth’s Cafe, Aurora Avenue North’s beloved greasy spoon, has new owners. Biz partners Tim Crawley and Mason Reed bought the diner a few weeks ago, and the transfer of power was made official on January 1. It’s serendipitous timing, as Beth’s was opened in 1954 and will be celebrating its 70th anniversary this year… with, Reed says, an imminent return to the late-night hours it built its rep on.

Since the death of longtime owner Chris Dalton in 2020, Beth's has struggled to regain its footing. For decades, it was a member of an elite group of Seattle restaurants that were open 24 hours (RIP the Hurricane Cafe), and just about every adult who grew up around here has vivid memories of being hunched over a plate of eggs and toast at 2:30 am with your dumb friends, drawing crayon pictures that would later get taped to the walls of the cafe. Bar and restaurant industry folks also historically relied heavily on Beth’s for a cheap, square meal when their shifts were over at zero o’clock. Beth’s Cafe was a key link in Seattle’s restaurant industry ecosystem, and when it closed for over a year in 2020, amid COVID-19 occupancy restrictions, it left a real black hole. 

Mason Reed, the new co-owner of Beth's, also coowns Tim's Tavern in White Center. Meg van Huygen

Hazel Dalton, Chris’s widow, was able to reopen the shop in 2021 but only for two months, and when she tried it again last spring, with limited breakfast-to-lunch hours, people were kinda ungrateful, tbh. The idea was to ramp up eventually to more staff and broader hours, but the statement could scarcely be heard over the cries of “When are you gonna be open LATE AGAIN??”

Mason Reed has an answer for them. “Right away. Like, next week. We’re starting late nights Friday.” (As in THIS FRIDAY, February 2!)

Reed also co-owns White Center bar and venue Tim’s Tavern and ostensibly understands the value of after-midnight food service. Reed says they intend to continue serving the breakfast crowd from 7 am to 3 pm, Tuesday through Sunday, and then they'll add a second evening shift, from 8 pm to 3 am—on Fridays and Saturdays only. 

“Eventually,” he says, “I’d like to get it back to… I dunno about 24 hours, because I heard it was hard to keep this place clean when it was always open. I’m thinking 22 hours, with an hour twice a day to clean it. Eventually.” 

When I told him people are gonna do backflips about this and line up all the way down to the lawnmower repair shop, he grinned and nodded. “I know.”

Maybe the only diner in Seattle where you can make and hang art while you wait for your eggs. Meg van Huygen

Originally from Arizona, Reed has a background as a well-traveled musician and songwriter. “But prior to that, I was a restaurant guy.” He’s been in town since 2015 and opted to settle down in Seattle after visiting his sister in Snohomish and falling in love with the city and especially the weather. Beth’s has long held a spot in his heart too. “I used to come through Seattle regularly when I was on tour, and whenever I would, we’d show up here super late, so I have plenty of cool memories here from over the years myself.” He explains that, after being approached by Hazel Dalton about the prospect of buying Beth’s, “I wasn’t gonna let such an institution die on my watch.”


Hear, hear. They’re putting in a jukebox, Reed says, as a nod to Beth's of yore, and this summer, they’re gonna do a party with 1950s prices to celebrate the diner’s 70th anniversary, with 25-cent milkshakes and so on. The menu is more or less staying the same. The flawless, never-frozen hashbrowns by Garden Fresh in Woodinville are still in play, along with the Guy Fieri-endorsed 12-egg omelette and the breakfast burger. They have swapped out some ingredients for locally made options—the coffee is by Seven Coffee Roasters, the tortillas in the breakfast tacos are by family-owned La Mexicana in Renton—and some of the sauces and salsas are gonna be made from scratch going forward. 

“I do wanna add some more vegan and vegetarian options,” Reed comments. “A tofu scramble, things like that.” Not surprising, since Tim’s Tavern has a full vegan menu. Reed, by the way also has a background as a backstage chef for musicians, citing Billie Eilish and Paul McCartney as customers. “I kinda became known in that world as a vegan chef, so I’ll be bringing some of that in here for sure.”

(When asked if he himself is vegan, Reed replies, “Mmmm, mostly. I’m a really terrible vegan. I take a lot of bites.”) 

Incredible news, all, and I’m still fucking high on this trend of Old Seattle things suddenly coming back to life. Now we just need someone to bring back the Hurricane and we'll be set. Just putting this wish out there into the universe.

Beth's is open Tuesday-Thursdays 7 am-2 pm and Friday-Sunday 7 am-3 pm. They'll also be open 8 pm-3 am Fridays and Saturdays starting February 2.