off the busy 42nd Avenue N. in New Hope once stood a restaurant, the history of
which meant almost as much to the area as the incorporation of the city itself.
For 37 years, The Sunshine Factory has been a neighborhood hangout and dining mecca,
serving and employing a large portion of the community. But lucky for
neighboring Plymouthites, Sunshine Factory moved to Plymouth last month, as a
result of owner Randy Rosengren’s decision to terminate his New Hope lease.
Rosengren built The Sunshine Factory with his father in 1975; they owned the property for a while in the 1980s, but sold it during the same decade. When they recently opted to terminate the lease, general manager April Hanson says the restaurant had two options. “No. 1, we could close and leave 110 people out of employment and lose the relationships we have with our customers,” she says. “Or No. 2, we could see this as an opportunity to stick with it and get even better at what we do.”
Known for its cracker-crumb-coated walleye and pit-smoked baby-back ribs dinner, The Sunshine Factory also has built a reputation for its family-friendly, entertaining and inviting atmosphere. Don’t expect that emphasis on building relationships to change, Rosengren says, despite a modern redesign and enhanced menu.
“Over time, we have welcomed people who have become generational parts of our business life. People have met, been married, had children, celebrated anniversaries—right here. Many relationships have been built at the Sunshine Factory,” he says. “We want to continue that in Plymouth.”
Now located at 4100 Vinewood Lane, the 7,400-square-foot Sunshine Factory is just 3.5 miles down the road from its original spot. The new building maintains the New Hope sports bar atmosphere, with the addition of a quieter dining side, a private dining area for up to 50 people with a fireplace and an outdoor patio with a fire-pit, bar, TV and approximately 20 tables.
One look around the walls of the Plymouth building, and returning customers will notice mementos of the old location; Rosengren and his staff brought all of the artwork and posters into the new building as a tribute to the restaurant’s history.
“This new building is a fresh start for us, but we are going to be the same inviting restaurant that we’ve been for the past 37 years,” Rosengren says. “The move was a hard decision, but I think we made the right choice.”
In the kitchen, Andrew Ortis, who has worked for The Sunshine Factory for 20 years, now moves with ease admiring the new design, which has given him the freedom to shake things up a little bit.
According to Ortis, while the basis of the menu is the same, there are some enticing new additions including a daily grilled fish plate and breakfast items including eggs Benedict, huevos rancheros and omelets. There will also be a variety of different daily specials and new happy hours beginning at 2 p.m. Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, and late night at 9 p.m. every night.
As for the head chef’s favorite dish, “I guess I’m a pasta guy,” Ortis says with a laugh. “I really like the red sauce we have on our penne right now.” Typically, The Sunshine Factory’s penne is made using prosciutto, tomatoes, fresh spinach, crimini mushrooms and an Alfredo sauce. But the chefs, like their owner, aren’t afraid to try something new.
The Sunshine Factory Bar & Grill
4100 Vinewood Lane