First, the bad news: The Sunnyside, Warren’s critically acclaimed restaurant on Water Street, is closing at the end of the month. Next, the good: Chef and founder Joe Simone is looking for a new home for his beloved eatery and has plans to expand its menu to full dinner.
Mr. Simone, who has wowed diners with his high end breakfast and brunch since opening Sunnyside Daytime Dining in April 2009, will close when his lease runs out at the end of the month. It’s scary to move on, he said, but he wants to expand Sunnyside’s menu and can’t do it at its current location at 267 Water St., which it shares with Tav-Vino’s at night.
“We’re going to be on hiatus while I find a new location,” said Mr. Simone, who hopes to stay in Warren. “Really, our destiny is to serve dinner. We have the most awesome community of people here, and we want to be open for dinner so we can take our service to the next level.”
When Mr. Simone opened the Sunnyside three and a half years ago, the idea behind the restaurant — full service breakfast and brunch, created and served with the attention to detail and service usually only found in fine dining restaurants serving dinner — was brand new in Warren. But the Sunnyside caught on immediately and Mr. Simone and his staff have never looked back. Any typical Sunday morning will find long lines at the waterfront spot, though you’ll find no complaints from his loyal customers. The average week sees 800 to 900 guests.
Though he’s loved the last three years, Mr. Simone has the itch to expand to dinner. He’s trained in Italian and Meditteranean cooking, and has lots of ideas for dinner — like making his own pasta and having ultra-fresh fish delivered daily, butchered on site. He also needs more room for a kitchen, not just for himself and his staff, but for the dozens of people who have become familiar faces at the cooking classes he regularly holds.
“I want to have a giant space, so that people can strap on aprons, have a glass of wine and cook with me.”
The only issue at this point is finding the perfect spot. Mr. Simone said he’d like to stay in Warren, but finding a good space is the most important thing.
“We’re looking to stay in Warren, and waterfront would be nice. But really, what I’m looking for is some sort of compelling space,” he said. “It’s got to be right.”
He’s been looking around for some time, but still hasn’t found that spot. Ideally, Mr. Simone would like to have the new place open by next spring, but he’s not setting anything in stone.
When he does re-open, he said, the Sunnyside will be better than ever.
“We opened in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depresesion. But I’ll tell you, I’ve always had a belief in the product we were serving and the sense of hospitality that the Sunnyside delivers. That’s not going to change.”