Sunshine, 780 Washington — Brooklynian

Sunshine, 780 Washington

edited October 2014 in Prospect Heights

Could be.....

Nosy people may have noticed that the long dormant site of Sunshine Grocery (located at 780 Washington, at the NE corner of Washington and Sterling) is being renovated.

One then realizes that an LLC "780 Washington Ave" was recently created.

One then googles the legal address of the LLC, 620 Vanderbilt Ave.

One then realizes that is the address of Milk Bar. A thriving, nearby cafe.

One then looks into the window to watch the construction workers and says "whoa, it does look like they could be building a mid size restaurant".


  • The other day, Milk Bar had a petition for a full liquor license 780 Washington Ave on their counter. That about settles it.

  • Indeed :)

    Good eyes.

  • Whynot, what would we do without you? I'd noticed that petition at MB over the weekend and I couldn't even imagine why that was there. I wasn't feeling too imaginative at the time, because I hadn't yet had my coffee. Then I sank into coffee nirvana and forgot about the whole thing.

    Two possibilities: one, that MB is expanding over to Washington. If that is the case I dearly hope the quality of the food or the coffee (their coffee is the best coffee in Brooklyn--maybe the city, IMO) stays high.

    Or, they are looking to move the whole kit and caboodle over to Washington, where they might enjoy a larger space. If that is the case, then I congratulate them for doing so well, but I will be sad that their coffee now falls into "special trip zone."

  • They don't serve liquor at Milk Bar, do they?

    The only thing that has kept me from eating an extremely fattening breakfast every day at Milk Bar is that it is expensive and inconvenient. If they open that close to me, it will be dangerous.

  • Correct, Milk Bar does not presently serve liquor.

    The 780 Washington location is much larger than their current location, and -since they seem to be pursuing a liquor license- looks like it will be a more of a sit down type of place.

    I've only been to Milk Bar once, because it seems sort of pricey to me as well. However, it seems busy every time I walk by.....

  • Brownstoner picked up this thread, and confirms:

    Yup, they are going open a location on Washington

  • Plywood now adorns the perimeter. I believe it won't be long....

  • A sneak peek at the interior of this new restaurant (Sunshine Company) indicates that it almost complete.

    It will have more interior dining seating than most of Washington Ave's present offerings.

  • I am so eager for this place to open! Does anyone have any updates?

    I thought I remembered reading somewhere on these forums that they'd applied for a liquor license from the community board and been turned down (though now I can't find that thread anywhere, perhaps it was a fever dream). I also thought I read, before that, that they had projected opening in September (can't find that either...) If either of these things are true, I hope they haven't been too delayed be the former and can stick to the latter. Can anyone confirm or deny my hazy memories?

  • The community board did not support the application for a full liquor license because there is a church catty corner from the proposed bar and would thus violate the rule prohibiting a full liquor license to be issued within 200 feet of a house of worship. It is now up to the State Liquor Authority to determine if the church meets the criteria for this rule to be in effect.

  • They went before CB8 seeking recommendation for a full liquor permit. However, CB8 only recommended a beer and wine permit.

    They still have a chance on getting a full permit, but the Liquor Authority would have to grant it despite the CB's advice.

    Someone who eats at Milk Bar should ask them if they are appealing.

    Meanwhile, I still see workers working, which is a good sign.

  • The community board did not support the application for a full liquor license because there is a church catty corner from the proposed bar and would thus violate the rule prohibiting a full liquor license to be issued within 200 feet of a house of worship.

    Which is a ridiculous law. I hope they get their exemption.

  • milkbar's owners are definitely pursuing the application directly with SLA to override the CB, and they seem pretty convinced that they will get it - according to them, the church isn't a "house of worship" according to the rules for various reasons (storefront, not really in regular operation, etc.). milkbar's sidewalk cafe was shut down recently - no permits, and outside the property line - and it would not surprise me if that was related to all this. it's kind of sad that it's gotten so contentious - milkbar may be a little expensive but in general i think it's been great for Vanderbilt and would be a terrific addition to Washington Ave.

  • The plywood has been removed. New facade and windows now visible. Interior work appears almost complete.

    Looks like they are going for the sit down table service crowd. Not the take out crowd....

  • The owner reports that they are just waiting for the liquor license to be approved, and expect approval with two weeks.

    This would mean Sunshine Company will be open before Thanksgiving. :)

  • A peek through the open front door reveals the interior is complete, and refined.

    It clearly isn't going to open by Thanksgiving, but once the permit comes (or whatever the hold up is...), it should open right away.

    Bar Corvo and Sunshine Co ...two competing sit down restaurants on Washington Ave!

  • Tonight's update: The chairs are arranged. The lights are on. No power tools are visible.

  • exterior looks close to complete, but doesn't look like it's going to be another milk bar. the owner was quoted in brownstoner as saying it would be a bar-restaurant, aiming to get dinner and brunch service going first (unlike milk bar), and a focus on "a more modern, clean design." he seemed to emphasize the bar component more than the food, but i guess we'll see.

  • Grand Opening Saturday, December 22nd for brunch.

    It will be open for reduced hours for the first week, and hopes to expand its hours soon afterward.

    Sunshine Co. will open its doors for brunch service EVERY DAY from Saturday, December 22nd through Jan 1st (except Dec. 25 & 26).

    Monday-Friday: 11 am - 5 pm

    Saturday and Sunday: 9 am - 5 pm

    We can't wait to see you!

  • Any word on the menu?

  • Thursday evening, window paper is down, schedule posted, owner present. Also a French jazz quartet jamming outside the place on Sterling - possibly a coincidence, but completed the scene for me.

    Lincoln Station is coming within days (hours) and 660 Wash in a few weeks. Very exciting developments for Washington Ave.

    My night will be complete if my photos can load upside-right...

    Attached files image image
  • Photos by Proprietor.

  • We went for brunch today. I went with the worry that they are going to primarily be a bar, with food as a secondary focus.

    The food was quite good, and similar to the items at Milk Bar: The focus is on quality as opposed to quantity. The service was good. We will be back.

    The fabric on the booths and the bar stools seemed odd to me. They look as if they will absorb liquids, yet are not easily replaceable. While they are presently waiting for their lic, it seems they are counting on this being a very sedate bar....

    They spared no expense in construction. The finishes are nice. Those into coffee have big shiny, quality machines to look at. The POS system is state of the art. The place has central air and lots of tile.... They are here to stay. They are here to succeed.

  • While they await their liquor lic, they are only open for lunch: Mon-Fri 11am-5pm.

    If you are around Washington Ave during lunch, please look in and let me know if they have customers. I am very interested in seeing whether Washington Ave can now support this level of dining for a "mere" weekday lunch.

    P.S. Covered by Brownstoner today:

  • As expected, that weekday lunch menu didn't last long.

    Here's the new revised one:

  • <img src="Sunshine Co." alt="" />

  • I can only imagine how nervous the owners were.

    I'll tell a short story, but basically, the owners made a bet.

    As most are aware, the owners invested huge amounts of $ building a restaurant under the assumption that it would be granted a full liquor license (beer, wine, hard liquor)

    However, a liquor lic was not a sure thing because a church is located nearby. Sometimes, churches are willing to write letters stating they are ok with bars being near them in exchange for -ahem- "donations".

    From what I have been told, either this church was not ok with writing said letter and/or there was "confusion" about whether the State Liquor Authority should use its discretion in order to override this long standing "tradition".

    Hence, there was nail biting by the owner.

    Hence, there was some gloating by those who told the owner that "putting a huge amount of money into a site that is not assured a liquor lic is a risky move".

    In the meantime, Variable Costs were being minimized....

    Fixed/sunk costs were not being recouped....

    Then, as they had hoped, the beer and wine license was approved and they proudly began serving alcohol. They continue to wait on word whether they will get an expanded lic which would allow "hard liquor"

  • I've had brunch there before but had dinner tonight. Two big thumbs up. Great little meal and very friendly all around. Congrats to them on getting the hard liquor license. Excellent addition to the hood.

  • The fact that Sunshine Co received its full liquor lic again speaks to the advisory nature of the Community Board.

    ...but it does entertain me when people think Community Boards are the seat of power.

    danaeo said:

    The community board did not support the application for a full liquor license because there is a church catty corner from the proposed bar and would thus violate the rule prohibiting a full liquor license to be issued within 200 feet of a house of worship. It is now up to the State Liquor Authority to determine if the church meets the criteria for this rule to be in effect.

  • Do we know for sure that they've gotten their full liquor license?

    I also have heard that they Sterling Pl block association gave them a bit of trouble...

  • Yes, we do.

    Step 1:

    Go here

    Then, zoom in on 780 Washington Ave (corner of Sterling and Washington)

    Spoiler alert: You will find that they have been awarded Lic 1265468, Class 252, Type 1

    Step 2:

    Go here,

    It says that an entity with a Class 252, Type 1 lic has to pay the state a lot of $, and it allows you to serve liquor, as well as wine and beer.

  • I tried this place after Bar Corvo turned out to have a 40 min wait time. I really like the ambiance and the staff was lovely.

    However the menu options were quite limited. Most of all, the servings were very meager and the wine over-priced. I'm not one of those people who needs a full plate to have a great meal. But a tiny sliver of crude salmon for the price of three similar appetizers at Gen?

    No bread was served, so we asked for it and received stale slices without any butter.

    The main course of sea bass was again a tiny strip, probably a quarter of the fish, served in an interesting pesto-like sauce. But no carbs or anything substantial whatsoever.

    To the staff's credit, when we said it had been very good, but the portions disappointing, they gave us a wonderful desert on the house.

    It's a nice gesture, but this place still gives me the overall vide that it would like me to part with my hard-earned $$$ by serving me as stingily as possible, much like The Vanderbilt.

    Still, I think they'll do well and they seemed to have a nice crowd of regulars gathering there. I just won't be one of them.

  • That's my impression of "New American" restaurants as well, and fine dining in general. The portions are small and expensive, and, as a vegetarian, the short menu of local items means I usually have a single option, which is often something insubstantial like a modest serving of pasta or vegetables. I bike and run regularly, too, so I'm often pretty hungry. I usually go to ethnic restaurants, personally, especially Indian and Mexican.

  • This place is now full for dinner whenever I walk by.

  • A few weeks ago, Sunshine Co closed for renovations.

    It appears renovations are actually occurring. Doss anyone know if the menu will be switched up and how?

    Since I wrote the above comment in March 2013, the restaurant did not seem regularly filled. The bar scene (a big source of profit) didn't seem to take hold.
  • The restaurant has always seemed decently active if not crazy-busy when I walk by. 
  • Last june, a chef who works there told me that the kitchen staff had changed entirely (and perhaps the management as well, can't remember) and that it was much better than it used to be.
  • It seemed busy for brunch and dinner, but didn't seem to have a late dinner or drinks crowd.

    I assume Washington Ave's rents are less than Franklin or Vanderbilt, so they may be quite profitable despite what I perceive to be a lack of lots of after 8 PM business.

    I am interested in seeing what tweaks they make.
  • edited October 2014
    Still closed, but work appears to be happening.
  • edited October 2014
    Now again open. Most visible exterior change is a striped awning
This discussion has been closed.