The Sunnyside Daytime Dining in Warren, RI feels like a restaurant you’d expect to find located in Florida’s panhandle, on scenic Route 30-A near Destin, Florida . The name is extremely fitting, as it is the type place that would feel sunny even on a cloudy day. Their web site accurately describes the ambiance by saying it feels as if you’re on the porch of a large beach cottage with natural lighting pouring in from all directions.
My partner Melanie and I arrived for breakfast this past Saturday, which happened to be a beautiful, sunny, spring morning.
Both of us were impressed the moment we stepped inside. The intimate restaurant was bright & cheerful with colorful beach paintings in the foyer, open beams and white wainscoting.
The vibe was bustling with the sound of sizzling bacon and eggs, conversation and soft, jazz music.
I introduced myself to owner & chef, Joe Simone, who, like the sun itself, illuminated the dining room with his friendly, warm smile.
I was lucky enough to have a view of beautiful Narragansett Bay through the England-style paned windows. Their heated waterfront patio, which opened this week, is extremely popular during warmer months providing a wonderful al fresco dining experience.
What is Daytime Dining? Joe Simone has coined a new concept, Daytime Dining, where breakfast and lunch are given the same attention as a dinner at a high-end restaurant. Simone takes dinner sensibilities and applies them to breakfast and lunch. They use linens, silverware, nice glasses, and have a full bar. As far as Joe Simone knows, Sunnyside is the only restaurant in the area serving wood-grilled food at breakfast.
Who is Chef Joe Simone? Joe, a graduate of Brown University, learned to cook in France, Greece and Italy, where he traveled extensively. He picked up a love of Mexican cuisine while he was working as a personal chef in San Francisco. Prior to becoming a personal chef, he was featured on the PBS series “The Chefs of Cucina Amore,” where he cooked up Italian specialties. The show ran for a year and a companion cookbook of the same name was published in 1999. He was the executive chef at Tosca in Hingham and also worked at Al Forno in Providence and the Papa-Razzi franchise.
Cooking Classes: The Sunnyside Daytime Dining offers cooking classes, which are held right at the restaurant! More information can be found HERE.
Awards: The Sunnyside Daytime Dining was voted RI Monthly’s Best Breakfast in East Bay and Yankee Magazine’s Top 50 waterfront Dining experiences in New England.
The Food: You are given delicious apple bread with homemade jams & butter when you are seated. The apple bread and jams were delicious. I was happy when the waitress informed us that the jams were available for purchase!
I scanned the menu over (and over) again as I had a tough time deciding what to order since everything sounded amazing. I finally settled the Portuguese French Toast with fresh berries and Two Old Saps maple syrup ($12). I was informed that it would take 10-15 minutes to prepare, which was perfectly fine by me. The second I saw the bubbling, aromatic dish, I knew I made the right choice!
The blueberries, blackberries and strawberries complimented the hot, “crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside”, french toast but the Two Old Saps maple syrup sent it over the edge! I could taste it now. Yum. I never had french toast like that before. It was so delicious and hearty that I actually had to take half home!
For a side dish I ordered homefries which were a mix of regular and sweet potatoes and cooked to perfection.
Melanie ordered the Sunnyside Granola ($7) made with fresh fruit and Narragansett Creamery organic yogurt. She also ordered the Berries with Creme Fraiche ($4.50).
She said the berries were extremely fresh and the granola was some of the best she ever had.
I will definitely have to visit Sunnyside again soon so that I can try some of their other unique sounding menu items, such as the “Dutch Baby” which is a baked pancake filled with season fruit or ham & cheese ($10) and the Hoppin’s John’s Crockpot Grits with Parmigiano & Jack! ($5)
Gay & Lesbian Factor: The Sunnyside Daytime Dining isn’t a HUGE place (maybe 20 tables inside + the outside seating) and yet, in the short amount of time Melanie and I were there, we noticed two other gay couples that were openly affectionate. The owner, Joe Simone, was extremely gracious when I reached out to him to do a review for www.gaytravelinformation.com. I see no reason to think gays or lesbians would feel anything but welcome here.
As Melanie and I walked OUT with FULL stomachs, I felt slightly envious of the people walking IN, with EMPTY stomachs. They were in for such a treat!
I walked around and took pictures of the restaurants beautiful surroundings, again feeling like I was in some beachside cafe in Florida, and thought just how luck Rhode Island is to have a place so……sunny.
I am hearby “OUTING” The Sunnyside Daytime Dining as a Gay & Lesbian friendly destination worthy of our business.