There are places in every city where you feel immediately at home, as if you belonged there. The Sunshine Diner is one of those places for me. Maybe it’s because I’m an Elvis fan (and yes, I’ve been to Graceland and even saw him in a live concert many, many, many years ago), but I think it’s really because of the staff. And the food. And the decor.
It’s not in my neighborhood but that doesn’t matter. In the summer, I’ll walk the 45 minutes across the Burrard Street Bridge, along the beach to McDonald and up McDonald to Broadway. It’s a lovely walk and that 45 minutes makes me feel less guilty when I have a big breakfast of bacon and eggs and toast and… Well, whatever.
My partner almost always has pancakes, and I think that’s partly because they arrive with a whipped cream smile drawn on them around the strawberries. My poached eggs are always perfectly cooked, the bacon so crispy it’s almost burn, just as I like it. My Diet Pepsi is as cold as it gets and the hash browns are crunchy. Hard to get a better meal than the one at the Sunshine.
It’s a friendly place. Most of the staff have been there for years and years and years, moving across the street as the restaurant expanded. They’re funny and smart and very very good at what they do, as are the cooks.
And then, of course, there’s Elvis, and the decor.
They play music from the fifties and the sixties and the television shows cartoons in black and white from the early years. It’s all of a piece and I often feel as if I’ve been transported back into the fifties and I’ll see James Dean and Elvis and Marilyn Monroe walk in the front door and sit down at one of the booths and order a milkshake.
It’s a diner. Nothing more. But a great diner is a wonderful, friendly, joyous thing – and this is one of my favorites.