Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Sunshine Inn Menu

Greetings, friends! It’s so dreary today, I decided to share a little “sunshine” with you—in this case, an old to-go menu from the Sunshine Inn, a wonderful vegetarian (well, mostly vegetarian) restaurant that used to be one of the best reasons in the world to visit St. Louis’s Central West End. It opened in 1972 and quickly became a landmark. Plants in the windows. And rather plain, but somehow quite elegant decor. Cloth napkins.

Ahhhh . . . the Garden of Eden Salad; the house Creamy Sesame dressing. The quiches. The Great Harvest dinner rolls. Cream Cheese on Date Nut Bread. I used to like their egg salad sandwich, served open-faced, with cheese. Let’s not forget “RZOJ,” iced Red Zinger (Celestial Seasonings’ hibiscus blend tea) with orange juice, and the Viennese coffee (they were serving that waaaay before there was a Starbuck’s on every corner). And, joy of joys, the Golden Lion—the Sunshine Inn’s signature vegetarian burger.

It closed in 1998, and ever since then, the earth has always been a little off-kilter. Losing restaurants like this are a prime reason I needed to learn how to cook.

This to-go menu was printed on both sides of a single sheet of paper, and I’m pretty sure it dates to the late 1990s—I wish I had one from the late eighties, which was when I went there the most. (Alas.)

I’m posting this because I know there are other people out there who pine for the Sunshine Inn perhaps more than I do. Of course, I mean no copyright infringement. I’m keeping the files kind of big so you can hopefully read the type better. (Remember: you can click on the images to see them larger.)

I see value in old menus like this—what were the main ingredients of a dish you liked so much. What things went well with other things. Ideas for reconstruction and inspiration for new construction. I’ll bet there are restaurants you miss like crazy, too.

If you’re someone who misses the Sunshine Inn, I hope you’ll leave a comment and tell me which menu items you loved the most.



Julianna Schroeder said...

There's an image of the outside of the Sunshine Inn on this page: http://jandris.ipage.com/jimpers/xmas82.html

Lisa U said...

Bring it back please. I have the best memories from their as a child. My parents were fiends with a man that worked their named I believe Rudy/Atiba.

Lisa U said...

Bring it back! Please someone bring it back. I have the BEST memories from their as a child. The food was amazing, everyone friendly. My parents were friends with a man who worked there named Rudy/Aruba. I remember playing next door in the vintage clothing store, Voisins with a girl named Rebecca. I believe she was the daughter of the owner. I miss their salads, the rolls, the Red Zinger...i miss it all. Sandwiches with alphalpha sprouts, so good. Please someone bring it back.

Lupercal said...

You mentioned you went to Sunshine Inn in the late 80’s- that’s when I went there as well. Do you remember them serving a baked stuffed pita that was covered with melted cheese? They were stuffed with a lettuce or cabbage mixture, maybe with sprouts and celery. You could get them vegetarian or with shrimp. They covered most of a plate and it was something you ate with a knife and fork. I would love to recreate this dish but I can’t remember enough about it. Hoping to come across an old menu or connect with someone who worked there during that time.

Julianna Schroeder said...

Thanks for the comments and memories. And I agree--bring it back!

I wonder if there's a name for this kind of cuisine--vegetarian, health-food, whole-food--late 20th-century post-hippy cuisine? Whatever it is, I miss it. I guess the closest you can get is from Whole Foods (if you have one near where you live, unlike me). Otherwise, you need to learn to make it yourself.

I would love it if someone made a cookbook of recipes from places like the Sunshine Inn, or from _____ Health Food Coop (there used to be tons of them, for sure, one in every college town).

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

Julianna Schroeder said...

I've posted a few reconstructed recipes of health-food sandwiches--not from Sunshine Inn, but along those lines. Fresh, super-healthy, vegetarian!

"Samurai Sandwich," an Asian-inspired hummus pita sandwich they once served at Bloomingfoods Coop in Bloomington, Indiana

A veggie sandwich based on "Bric-a-Brock," another pita sandwich from Bloomingfoods:

. . . Hmm, I need to post some more, don't I!