Sequim couple Luke Shifflett and Tristen Beck’s relationship with Sunshine Café, 145 W. Washington St., has come full circle.
The 34-year-old high school sweethearts and Sequim grads worked in the restaurant nearly 20 years ago and now they intend to purchase it from owners Dianne, 56, and Allen, 57, Drake.
Like the Drakes did 20 years ago — when they saw a sign in the window the eatery was for sale — Beck and Shifflet quickly inquired.
“I drove by and called (Beck), and said we should buy the Café,” Shifflett said. “This place is special to us.”
“We’ve always talked about how fun it would be to own this space,” Beck said.
Shifflett grew up as best friends with the Drake’s youngest son and spent a lot of time at their house.
“Allen is the one who taught me to tie my shoes,” he said.
Now, the Drakes plan to take on different roles with Allen staying on as a cook and Dianne traveling to Hawaii to pursue touch healing (Reiki) classes.
“It’s important to let the community know the changes are going to minimal, seamless,” Dianne said.
Upfront employees will stay on and the menu will remain the same, Beck and Shifflett said.
“For the first year, we just want to do our best job replicating the service, the same food and vibe the Sunshine Café has had,” Shifflett said.
The restaurant had been in Sequim since the 1970s starting as the Sunshine Café Sandwich Shop with the Drakes purchasing it in 2000 and bringing back its older menu along with a few new options.
“We want to keep the legacy alive,” Shifflett said.
Change of hands
Shifflett and Beck tentatively take over the café June 30. It will close July 1-4 and reopen July 5 regular hours and offer food that night from 5-8 p.m. during the First Friday Art Walk.
The café remains open 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday-Sundays and can be reached at 360-683-4282 and online at www.facebook.com/seqsunshineCafe.
Beck said she plans to be in the eatery daily and work in the front of house, and that she wants to learn as much as possible from Allen to keep recipes as close as possible to what the Drakes have done for 20 years.
Shifflett will continue running his Titan Builders business he started in 2009 while running the business side of the restaurant, assisting with cooking when needed.
When the Drakes announced their plans to sell, the couple said they’ve met thousands of people and seen many families make the café part of their routine.
Shifflett and Beck and their 8-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son are two of the many people they’ve seen grow up there.
Beck said her family spent many Thanksgivings at the café, and it’s a tradition they hope to keep going.
“We can’t wait to do it,” she said.
Dianne said they continue to appreciate the generous community for their support and patronage over the years including during a closure for repairs and recent health scares.
“We wouldn’t have been able to hang on without the support,” she said.
The Sunshine Café’s new owners are planning a special grand re-opening later this year, they said. For more information, call 360-683-4282.
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.