Your News: Sunburst Cafe celebrates 10 years in Naples

Sunburst Cafe

2340 Pine Ridge Road, Naples, FL

Sunburst Café has been serving muffins, pastries, gourmet coffees and teas as well as full breakfast and lunch for 10 years.

On February 7, 1998, Jerome and Theresa Tocio left behind their jobs at Massachusetts General Hospital to pursue Jerome’s dream of having his own restaurant. They packed up their three young children Dean 7, Tiana 5, and Julian 3 in their mini van and moved 1,500 miles away to beautiful Naples.

Jerome and his aunt Jo-Ann who came to Naples from Pismo Beach California, created a partnership and opened Sunburst Café, an 1,100 square foot café, which started out serving coffee drinks, teas and light fare. Within the first two years the kitchen was expanded, the counter area was reconfigured and Sunburst became a full service gourmet breakfast and lunch café with a Costa Rican atmosphere. A catering enterprise was also formed, specializing in corporate breakfasts and lunches.

Jo-Ann missed California and decided to return to her roots in 2000. Jerome and Theresa decided to form a new partnership and continue running the restaurant together. The restaurant went through another transformation. The kitchen was updated; a walk-in cooler/freezer was installed off the back of the restaurant and a new tile floor.

Sunburst has the most diverse group of patrons in Naples. The dining room starts filling up at 7:00 a.m. young teenagers who need an “iced white cow” to get them moving in the morning before high school begins, folks on their way to work grab a latte and breakfast sandwich for the road. Moms with toddlers in tow desperate for a coffee and quick sugar fix trickle in after the elementary kids are dropped off. After 10:30 you will see the after workout crowd, debating over coffee and an egg white omelet or perhaps splitting an applesauce bran muffin. Around 11:15 a.m. a crowd of retirees mixed in with business people meeting over coffee or lunch, as well as the locals who stop in for some lunch or brunch. Sunburst caters to people with different taste buds serving breakfast all day everything from an egg white veggie omelet to eggs benedict. Lunch varies from a simple sandwich to a platter of rice and black beans topped with grilled chicken. Sunburst offers vegetarian choices and prepares food to order, substitutions and specials orders are not a problem.

Sunburst has even served a few celebrities! Jerome has been a life long fan of Donna Summer, “The Queen of Disco,” imagine his excitement when she came in and enjoyed breakfast, Jerome even has a few moment to sit and talk. Donna’s signed albums and a photograph taken with Jerome hang on the wall. Amy Grant came in and ate breakfast and we didn’t even realize who she was until a signed poster was sent to us via the Naples Phil. The poster is signed stating, “Everyone that enters Sunburst should enjoy good food, good friends and good conversation, God Bless, Amy Grant.”

Jerome makes all the homemade muffins and cookies and can be found inside baking before 4:00 a.m. everyday. The young children have all grown into teenagers and often pitch in to help out on the weekends. In the past Jerome’s mother and father worked at the café, as well as Theresa’s mom. Sunburst has always been a family-run business.

Millie Fulmer a Sunburst regular refers to the Café as “The Happy Place.” Several regulars echo her sentiments. Another regular is fondly remembered, walking in singing “I can’t start my day without Sunburst Café.” Sunburst has a few menu items named after patrons, Brother Jay’s Love, Taylor’s Tornado and The Amanda Wrap.

Theresa is proud to be a board member of Naples Originals, a group of over 45 locally owned and independently operated restaurants that have formed together to promote and educate the public about locally owned businesses. Local restaurants bring local flavor and a unique ambiance to Naples. We also support other independent businesses in Naples, such as Avante for our paper products and Jojoka Coffee for all of our coffee beans

Sunburst Café is proud to support our community, over the past 10 years Sunburst has paid it forward by donating to over 45 charities such as local schools, The YMCA, NCH, churches, Relay for Life and The Harry Chapin Food Bank.

Sunburst would like to thank everyone who has contributed to our success over the past ten years and look forward to another 10 years!

© 2008 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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