Ray of light
Sunshine Deli & Catering
Since the closure of Wildflower Cafe and acclaimed Log Cabin Cafe—which opened in 1981 and was Lake Tahoe’s oldest running breakfast spot—North Shore locals have had limited breakfast options in a place with an already slim selection. (Log Cabin is slated to reopen sometime this spring.) However, in Incline Village, there remains a restaurant that satisfies the needs of both the grab-n-goers and those looking to stay a little longer with friends or family.
More than six years ago, John and Debbie Sullivan saw an opportunity to reinvent a struggling business. They purchased the restaurant, stripped away the old carpet, added on a seating area and updated the menu. The result is what many consider a “go-to” breakfast and lunch spot for Incline locals.
Sunshine Deli & Catering, 919 Incline Way, can be spotted from the road by its colorful sign and flower planters out front. On the inside, brightly painted walls and savory smells give the deli its “sunshiney” feeling. Although the deli is tight on space, there are about a dozen tables that make for a cozy dining experience.
The breakfast menu offers American classics like eggs, toast and potatoes, as well as popular breakfast items like the “Sunny Day” ($5.95). This large bagel sandwich consists of eggs, cheese and a choice of ham, sausage or bacon.
“It’s a really great choice for students because they can load up on carbs and not spend that much money,” co-owner John Sullivan said.
Mexican and French style items on the menu give the deli a culturally diverse feel. Vicky’s chilaquiles ($5.95 small, $8.95 large) is comprised of tortilla chips served with spicy salsa, sour cream, cheese, beans and egg. Two thin and crispy crepes ($7.95) provide a sweeter breakfast.
During lunchtime, a local favorite is the mango cashew chicken wrap ($5.95). It’s one of the few original items that have been on the menu since before the Sullivans purchased the cafe. John Sullivan said the wrap is in such high demand they sometimes run out of the ingredients for it. Sunshine’s homemade soups (quarts cost between $11-$13)—like French onion or turkey chili—are another good option for a light lunch, or a yummy take-out gift for a friend feeling under the weather. Other lunch options include a variety of sandwiches and salads.
The staff at Sunshine is friendly, checking in on the lives of regulars in true mom-and-pop style. One of the Sullivans is always working in the store, six days a week. A few perks to Sunshine’s food—it’s always served quickly, making it convenient for busy people heading to or taking a break from work or school; and the coffee is self-serve at the counter and always free.
The newest addition to the business, which the Sullivans say they are looking to expand, is catering. Available on the website is a full list of the packages the cafe provides, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert options for different occasions ranging from meal-at-home options to galas.
“I enjoy catering quite a bit,” Sullivan said. “I get to meet one on one with customers and really get into satisfying what they want, and it’s a lot of fun.”