Sunshine Cafe Offers Classic American Fare
New southside restaurant emulates old Silver Dollar Cafe in Clarke Square neighborhood.
An industry veteran, Calderón has nearly 20 years of restaurant experience. Starting as a server, she eventually worked up to co-opening her own restaurant, Jo’s Cafe, located near the corner of Silver Spring Drive and 35th Street. She is no longer an owner, though the restaurant remains open.
Regardless of previous experience, cooking has always been inherent to Calderón, who was raised in a family of talented home cooks.
“I come from a big family and everyone would gather up in the kitchen,” she said, recounting playful arguments between family members about the correct amount of seasoning or method of preparing a dish. “Oh my god, it was just always fun,” she said.
While Calderón particularly remembers har grandmother’s crab empanadas, she opted for a different approach to the menu at Sunshine Cafe.
Diners can choose from a number of classic American breakfast options including eggs any style, bacon, sausage, potatoes and toast. The cafe also serves oatmeal, omelettes, pancakes and seven varieties of breakfast sandwiches, as well as specialties like Chicken & Waffle, Fried Shrimp & Waffle, Pork Chops & Eggs and Biscuits and Gravy.
For lunch, the cafe offers 20 sandwich and burger options, including a classic BLT, grilled cheese or jalapeño cheeseburger. Baskets of fried cod, chicken strips or shrimp are also available.
There is also a designated kids menu.
Sunshine Cafe also offers 100% Colombian coffee, hot chocolate, Coke products and juice.
“I wanted to do both,” Calderón said of her decision to focus on American food for the cafe. “To cater to both the American tradition and the Puerto Rican tradition, and to bring everyone together.”
“I know that they were a big part of the southside community for many, many years,” Calderón said of Silver Dollar Cafe. “I want to revive that same tradition on the city’s South Side, because I feel that it was kind of lost. It’s just a good way to bring the community back together,” she said.
Since the early 2000s, the building has seen numerous restaurants come and go, none lasting more than a few years in the space. Most recently, Mr. Taco Wings & Potato occupied the space from late 2019 until 2022. Before that, Heavenly Grille occupied the space from 2018 to 2019.
Sunshine Cafe is open Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m.