We’ve got Sunshine (back)

Sequim downtown Cafe reopens with new kitchen on Friday

After a three-month layoff, the Sunshine Cafe, 135 W. Washington St., serves its classic breakfasts and burgers once again starting Friday morning.

Owners Allen and Dianne Drake reopen from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. three months to the day that they received a notice from the City of Sequim that code violations from their grill’s hood and fire suppression system were deemed dangerous and could not be operated until they were replaced.

Allen, who has worked almost daily on repairs, said they are eager to get back in the kitchen.

“This is what we do,” he said.

“Cooking in the kitchen and serving people is what it’s all about. It’s a good feeling to see steam rising up over the plate as they get into it.”

The closure followed a recent effort from the City of Sequim and Clallam County Fire District 3, with whom the city contracts services, to increase inspections.

Assistant Fire Chief Roger Moeder said several restaurants in the area, like the Sunshine Cafe, have changed their fire suppression systems following enforcement of newer standards from the late 1990s.

He said Fire Inspector Steve Jackson initially realized the cafe’s hood and duct system hadn’t been serviced for a while. A company inspected it and discovered holes in the sides of the hood covered in grease and the Drakes alerted the fire department.

“It went into a void space where all this grease had been going into,” Moeder said. “If they have a flare-up on the stove, then the whole building could be on fire.”

The Drakes opted to shut down despite given the option to sell only a partial menu without the grill. They partnered with their landlord Olympic View Properties owner Brown M. Maloney to finance repairs.

During demolition in the back of the restaurant, the kitchen’s contents were displaced into the dining room. Yet interest in a meal in the cafe remained high.

“People were peering in and knocking and pulling on the door everyday,” Dianne said.

Keep shining

The Drakes said they are moving forward now and celebrated after receiving their final permit to reopen on Sept. 18, with oysters.

Along with a new kitchen setup, the cafe features new bathrooms and tile throughout the business.

Dianne said several community members even helped clean.

“I just want to say thank you to the community for saving the Sunshine Cafe,” she said. “Customers and the community were huge when we closed.”

All but one staff member returns for the reopening, too, the Drakes said.

They also are planning on trying some new specials using their new fryer like chicken and waffles, and chicken wings.

“(The fryer) makes it easier to produce food quicker,” Dianne said. “Before we were chasing our tails.”

“Cooking is all about timing,” Allen said. “You can throw salt and pepper on anything and make it taste good but if it doesn’t come out uniform, then what’s the point?”

Sunshine Cafe’s fall hours are 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday-Sundays starting Sept. 25.

For more information, call 683-4282 or visit www.sequimsunshinecafe.com and find them on Facebook.