Destinations: Café Veloce, Kirkland, Washington
Café Veloce welcomes, and rewards, customers who arrive on two wheels
Motorcycles, motorcycles, motorcycles at Café Veloce.
We motorcyclists love to eat: no surprise there, of course. The roads are likewise lined with diners and fast-food joints eager to accommodate us. But what if we want something more sophisticated than biscuits and gravy or pie and coffee? Many restaurateurs turn their noses up and their thumbs down when a bunch of bikers darkens their door. Not so at Café Veloce in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland, Wash. Beyond welcoming bikers, owner Liz Caluori will take money off your bill if you turn up on two wheels.
"Motorcyclists are our best customers," Caluori says. "They can bring in their helmets and leathers — and they get a 10 percent discount if they ride here."
Café Veloce's decor evokes the golden age of European racing: Huge wall posters feature scenes from the great Italian road competitions — Mille Miglia, Milano-Taranto, Giro d'Italia — and display cases are filled with memorabilia. Period race bikes — Ducati, Motobi, Capriolo — fill the alcoves and hang from the ceiling.
During a recent visit, a square-case Ducati café racer sat right inside the door. And the tablecloths? Checkered black and white, of course!
Not surprisingly, the menu also reflects the Italian theme with gourmet pizza and pasta dishes as well as classic Italian entrées. And to wash it down, what better than a cappuccino or espresso? This is Seattle, after all!
Café Veloce can seat up to 120 people, but even that can be tight at times. "One group of Gold Wing riders — all 300 of them — turned up together," Caluori says. "Fortunately, the steak house next door was open, too."