Restaurant Review: “Sunnies” on Point Loma Avenue in South OB

by on August 2, 2016 · 33 comments

in Culture, Ocean Beach, The Widder Curry

Restaurant Review

Sunnies jc front

The front of Sunnies. All photos by Judi Curry.

“Sunnies”
4723 Pt. Loma Ave.
San Diego, CA 92107
619-693-5298
www.sunniesoceanbeach.com

I can hear the comments already about this review.  Let me preface it by saying I know that they have only been opened one week.

Let me say that I know there are a lot of kinks to still work out.  Let me say that I will return at a later date. Let me say that I went to visit “Sunnies” now because I was told about it by 4 other people in this first week.

Let me also say that I did not go alone; I went with Scott Hopkins, a reporter for the Beacon –  well known in this area, and someone that I have gone with before to review restaurants.  With all that in mind here is my review:

Sunnies is a very small establishment with several tables inside the restaurant, a few tables on the sidewalk outside the restaurant, and still a few more tables to the side of the restaurant next door to “Rosario’s Pizza.”  This area is covered and they were installing lights while we were there.

Sunnies jc burri carn

Carnitas burrito

Posted on the west wall was a huge menu, listing all of the items that were available for purchase.  (One places their order; finds a table; and the order is brought to you if you are eating there.  The same menu is available for take-out.)

On the eastern wall is an extensive drink menu listing Coffees and Lattes, Iced and Cold Drinks, and although not listed, soda’s and other drinks are also available.

Scott and I looked over the menu and had our choice of Burritos, Tacos, (Hard and/or Soft), Tostadas, Quesadillas, and Fries and Chips.

Sunnies jc moretaco

TJ Tacos

Additionally there were Sides and Extra’s, a Kids Menu, Breakfast Burritos and Breakfast Specials.  I felt it was necessary to try several things so I ordered the 3 mini (TJ style) soft tacos ($3.75)* and a side of Guacamole ($3.50)* as well as a Deluxe Veggie Quesadillas ($4.99).

Scott, going along with trying several things, ordered a Pollo Asado Tostadas ($3.75), a side order of beans ($2.25)* and a Carnitas Burrito ($6.99)*.  He ordered an ice tea for $2.50* that was flavored with Mango and I ordered an Iced Chai that was $3.75*.

Before I go much further let me explain the “*” markings on the prices.

We had ordered from the menu board on the wall.  I was floored when my bill came to close to $19 and Scott’s bill came to just under $10.

Sunnies jc taco

Pollo asado tostada

When I began to add up my order the young woman taking the order told us that the prices had changed TODAY and I could not go by the prices on the board.  I didn’t say anything, but saying now that if the prices had been changed it should have been noted on the board.

Not a good way to start a meal.

We were also told that also beginning TODAY, there were new items added to the menu, but there was nothing written to that effect.

And one more thing – the menu on the wall was well done; well printed; and must have cost a nice amount of money to have it printed up.  There is also a take-out menu that indicates the same prices as those posted on the board.

Sunnies jc guacLet’s begin.  We were served the guacamole in a styrofoam cup.  When I asked for a spoon so that we could put some on our plate we were told they did not have any spoons.  I then asked if they had an extra fork.  They did.

I am not sure if the chips were part of the side order of guacamole because so many things were served with it but the chips were hot and very good.  They were not the thin ones that break when putting the dip on it; they were thick and tasty.

The guacamole was something else.  It was so salty that I could not eat it.  And I mean it. The salt was over-powering.  I did not detect anything else in the guacamole except avocado itself, but after two bites I knew I could not tolerate any more.  We left most of it in the cup.

My mini-tacos were delicious.  I was able to sample the carnitas, the pollo asado, and the carne asada.  Each one was tasty, but, unfortunately, each one had guacamole on it which I had to scrape off to be able eat it.  The menu stated that there was also Pico De Gallo served with the soft tacos, but there wasn’t any on my plate.

Sunnies jc quesThe Quesadilla was different than any I have had before.  It was served on a small plastic plate – all of the items were served on plastic – and it was folded over so that it looked like there were two on the plate.  It was impossible to eat.  It could not be picked up, either with fingers or a plastic fork.  It probably was tasty, as what I could try without the guacamole was good, but I brought home almost the entire quesadilla because it was so difficult to cut.  (I would suggest using a smaller tortilla next time; not folding it over, and putting it on a larger plate.)

Scott really enjoyed his Carnitas burrito. He said it was hot and tasty, even though he had to add hot sauce to make it taste more spicy. His Pollo Asado Tostada was very good; the tortilla stayed crisp while he was eating it; the chicken was flavored well, and he finished it all.

Sunnies jc beansThe beans were average, at best.  Serving them in cup with cheese that melted on the top but not the bottom was ok; they just lacked flavor.

The ice tea was ok; the chai tea was good and I was offered a refill when I finished my first glass.

Now for some comments:  Scott asked if there was a restroom where he could wash his hands.  He was told that there were no restrooms. He was told that the merchants on Pt. Loma Ave. got together and decided not to offer one for their customers.  (Made us wonder what the staff does while cooking.)

There was not a trash bin to put the paper from the straws or stirrers in the vicinity.  And the flies were horrible.  Yes, we elected to eat outside because it was cooler, but I am not sure if I would ever eat outside again.  In fact, I think I would take out the food rather than eat it there. Just at the end of the meal a large candle was placed on the table, but I do not know if it was citronella – or just a gold candle.

We were asked if we were enjoying out meal, but the person that asked did not wait to hear our answer.

As we were finishing our meal, one of the servers met someone walking down the street that did not know the restaurant was open. We heard the server ask them to come in and see the “soft” menu.  I wish we had been told of the “soft menu” also.

sunnies jc cartaco

Carne asado tostada

Before I give my review, here is an addendum: My student, Hitomi, decided to have lunch at Sunnies on the next Sunday. She ordered a Carne Asada Tostada at $4.50. The menu stated that “ . . . all tostadas served with beans, lettuce & cheese.” When she got home she was surprised to see there was not a side of the beans or rice. What wasn’t clear to her was that the tostada was MADE with the beans, rice and lettuce. She was also disappointed with the Tostada in that she said the top seemed to just be a stale tortilla that was plopped over the bottom tortilla covered with the rice, beans and lettuce.

sunnies jc messy

carne asado tostada with cover off

In all fairness she said that the carne asada was nice and tasty, but it was difficult to eat, and she ended up throwing out the top tortilla. A good Tostada is not difficult to make and one that is not eaten with ones fingers. That is the only way this would could have been consumed and it is way too messy to be eaten that way. The tortilla was hard and not pliable. There is still a lot of work necessary.

So here is the review.  I already said I would go back. I would order the TJ taco’s again, but would specify no guacamole.  I would hold them to the prices listed on the board; I would not hesitate to order the Carnitas or Pollo Asado again.  So I will come back after a month or so.

But I must say that if I wasn’t doing a review I would have said something more about the change in price; I would have returned the guacamole, and I would have asked for the missing Pico de Gallo.  Stay tuned for the follow-up.

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Beachgirl August 2, 2016 at 2:03 pm

Plastic, boo!!!

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avatar judi August 2, 2016 at 2:30 pm

Everything is plastic and that’s ok – IF it is large enough and strong enough to cut through the food. In this case the plastic plate was too small; the knife wouldn’t cut through the meal, and there were no spoons. I can see plastic for take-out, but it is not too conducive for eating in.

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avatar judi August 5, 2016 at 3:47 pm

I just had a delightful conversation with Heather, from the Environmental Health Department re: the need for a restroom in a food establishment. Here is the rule:

If the building was built BEFORE 2004, a restroom is not necessary. However, it must be posted that there is no public restroom available.

IF an old restaurant is purchased and remodeled for the new one, THEN a restroom must be available.

California uses the Retail Food Guidelines for their rules and/or laws.

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avatar Susan Peinado August 2, 2016 at 2:10 pm

And Rancho’s used to be so good. We really need a nice, quiet place to meet friends and have a good meal. Is this in the same building where Rancho’s used to be? If so, hope the landlord fixed the leaky roof.

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avatar judi August 2, 2016 at 2:32 pm

No. Rancho’s used to be where “SEA and SHORE” market was, on the corner next to Trend Setters. Interestingly enough, both places are vacant. The old Rancho’s has been vacant for years; and Trend Centers for over 6 months. But there are so many good Mexican restaurants in the neighborhood. In order to make a go of it, it must be able to complete.

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avatar nostalgic August 2, 2016 at 3:14 pm

We desperately wanted Sunnie’s to be great, but the salt was overwhelming. Let us know if they decide to adjust it.

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avatar judi August 2, 2016 at 3:16 pm

Interesting – my comment also.

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avatar kh August 2, 2016 at 3:44 pm

I stumbled upon their soft opening and was very pleased with the food I ordered to go. That being said, I never expect much from a place in their first month of operation. I’m curious to see a followup to this.

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avatar Julie Ebbert August 2, 2016 at 4:38 pm

I’ve ate their food twice (3 times if you included leftovers) and LOVED IT.
Have only tried the carne asada and California burritos- but they were delicious and HUGE. ??

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avatar Gina_Georvieneck August 2, 2016 at 5:05 pm

Judi, do you remember Reader restaurant reviewer “Eleanor Widmer”? Your review reminiscences the lure of wanting to visit that restaurant just for novelty sake.
But if you get a chance you should read (I believe their online at the Readers archive),
the review of Kaiserhof (from the early eighties) when they were located off Highway 8. What a scream! “…something terribly wrong with the Sauerbraten.”
Thanks for the “Sunnies” review :)

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avatar judi August 2, 2016 at 5:17 pm

Thanks, Gina. I do remember Eleanor. Used to check every one of her reviews before going to a new place. And I once was refused a seat because I didn’t have a reservation at the Highway 8 spot. Will have to pull it up and read it. Thanks for the memories.

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avatar South OB Girl August 2, 2016 at 8:40 pm

We will be hopeful for improvements!! Could be a wonderful addition to the neighborhood!! They have done a very nice job with decorating and creating a small-scale restaurant atmosphere .

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avatar Frank Gormlie August 2, 2016 at 8:43 pm

A lot of readers will be waiting for Judi’s fabled and promised return visit.

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avatar T August 2, 2016 at 9:45 pm

First let me point out that the merchants on Point Loma did not “get together and decide” not to allow public restrooms. The block fell victim to Theodore Pinnock and after paying out thousands to settle his frivolous lawsuits the merchants had to shut down public access to avoid further victimization.

That said, as part of the neighborhood I have eaten at Sunnies 4 times since the opening. The flavors are great. I have a deep weakness for Carne Asada Fries and Sunnies are by far the best in OB. I’ve had the chicken, pork and Carne asada street tacos and all have great and easily distinguishable flavors and their $1 specials in the afternoon make for the perfect snack. Even the pancakes have a little something special (cinnamon maybe?). I love having Sunnie’s in the neighborhood. It’s a really nice alternative to sandwiches from Sea Trader or Pizza. The atmosphere is relaxed and comfortable, the people are charming and fun and the food is great. Considering that its been about 10 days since the opening, personally I think they are nailing this. Also so glad to have the coffee shop back. Not having to run up to Newport for a good jolt is a beautiful thing.

Oh, and can I just say that I’m not sure why you were floored at the the prices. According to my math the two of you ordered $31.48 for your food and paid a total of $29. (sorry – I had to do the math.)

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avatar judi August 3, 2016 at 8:26 am

I am glad that you enjoyed the meals you had at Sunnies. I was not going to review it until it had been opened for a few months but had people ask me to do so. My experience was not as good as yours. Others that have talked to me since my review have also said that they were heavy on the salt – perhaps you like salt; that the items were hard to handle to eat.

I also said that the TJ taco’s were good, AFTER I scraped off the guacamole.

And as far as the prices – perhaps they have already changed the price because mine was $8 more than it should have been. Scott and I did not pay together; we each purchased our own meal. I knew what my budget was and tried to stay within that. The prices – on the board – were good. Perhaps the server hit wrong items and the bill rang up higher than it should have been, but I truly object to your telling me that I was wrong. I was there; I did the math; and I was greatly overcharged.

Like you, I hope the problems work themselves out. But I will not patronize a restaurant because it is in the neighborhood if it does not keep up to the standards of a good Mexican restaurant. There are too many others around. It is sort of like the new “Jensens” coming in; if it is good, and reasonable and comparable with others in the area I will shop there. If it is inferior, I will go somewhere else.

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avatar T August 3, 2016 at 7:06 pm

I am sorry that you object to me questioning your math but as I sit here I can very clearly see that the prices that you list are the ones on the wall so unless you have a different method of adding not used by standard calculators, those items add up to 31.48 which is more than the $29 you said you were charged.

Food reviews can absolutely be subjective and not everyone will like the same thing but simple math is pretty cut and dry. I’m a little baffled that my use of it offended you.

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avatar judi August 3, 2016 at 7:35 pm

Not to belabor the point: The server apologized for the difference in price. She said the prices had changed but were not indicated on the board. She said that the price that I was paying was more than indicated on the board. The price was different than what Scott and I added up; what offends me is the questioning of the price. I accept that the taste of the food will vary from person to person, but the hard fact is that I was charged more than indicated on the menu board.

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avatar T August 3, 2016 at 10:11 pm

I guess I am confused… you state that you purchased:
3 TJ Tacos 3.75 ($3.75)*
a side of Guacamole ($3.50)
a Deluxe Veggie Quesadillas ($4.99).
Pollo Asado Tostadas ($3.75)
a side order of beans ($2.25)
a Carnitas Burrito ($6.99)
an ice tea for $2.50*
an Iced Chai that was $3.75*.
Those numbers (which are identical to the ones on the menu on the wall) add up to $31.48. You claim that your $29 charge reflects $8 of overcharge which is possibly the wonkiest math I have ever encountered. Perhaps your calculator needs new batteries.

I cannot speak for the employee and what they said, I am only speaking on behalf of the math. Your numbers have nothing in common with your claim.

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avatar nostalgic August 3, 2016 at 9:18 am

Does anybody know what kinds of businesses require public restrooms and which do not? I can see a Dry Cleaners not needing one. A restaurant (or a bar) should have one, although it could be shared with another business. I suppose that this must be OK, or the city wouldn’t have given Sunnie’s a permit, right?

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avatar EBPL August 3, 2016 at 8:05 pm

Hi Judy, I’ve read a few of your reviews on NextDoor.com in recent months and I have a suggestion. I think that your review of food quality should be done independent of your commentary on the price. Your focus on price is sometimes so overwhelming that it seems to outweigh everything else. Price is a subjective thing; some people are willing to pay up for what they consider especially good, and others are focused on staying within a particular budget. If you give your food (and service) review – good, bad or indifferent – and then at the end of the review give an indication of the pricing, which can include your opinion of whether it’s a good value, then people can draw their own conclusions about whether they’re interested in going.

As for the math, T is correct that the total of your two orders, as you list the items, was $31.48, so if you paid $29 total, you were undercharged. But I notice you said your order came to $19 and Scott’s to $10. It looks like they divided it up wrong; yours should have been $15.99 and Scotts’ $15.49. So if you get Scott to pay you back 4 or 5 bucks, you should be close to right (although you still got undercharged a couple dollars between the two of you. ) :)

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avatar Debbie August 4, 2016 at 9:27 am

Thank you for doing these reviews. Since their your reviews, do them the way you like. We can read or not read them.

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avatar judi August 4, 2016 at 9:47 am

Thank you, Debbie.

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avatar Scott Pearce August 4, 2016 at 11:41 am

Stopped by, starved, to pick up a breakfast burrito. I asked for no potatoes and when I got to my office and took a bite it was mostly potatoes. So, I’m out $6 and still very hungry.

Next time I think I will visit the Doughnut Man and get a #2, which is a toasted bagel with egg, meat and cheese (and no potatoes).

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avatar OB Dude August 6, 2016 at 1:01 am

http://www2.sdcounty.ca.gov/ffis/SearchResults.aspx

The Board of Health does not have an inspection for this restaurant.

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avatar Derek August 6, 2016 at 9:15 am

Great review Judi! Don’t drop the price commentaries as price is a very important part of many folks meals choices. We can all decide for ourselves if we find the prices high or not.

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avatar Judi August 6, 2016 at 9:19 am

Thank you

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avatar Gil Field August 6, 2016 at 12:45 pm

Even though I live in North County and rarely get to the OB area, I love reading your column for its humor, logic and insight. Keep those columns coming.

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avatar judi August 6, 2016 at 12:47 pm

Thanks, Gil. Maybe someday when you are this way we can go review a restaurant together!

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avatar nostalgic August 6, 2016 at 7:10 pm

Thanks, OB Dude. This is an interesting web site. It shows 131 food establishments in Zip Code 92107 and 153 in 92106 and all of their names and addresses. This includes school cafeterias, churches with graded kitchens, the yacht clubs, and every restaurant you knew about plus many more.

Go to http://www2.sdcounty.ca.gov/ffis/ and select “New Search. I entered San Diego and each zip code with no name, and got all of them. Click on the name and you get the result of the inspection.

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avatar judi August 8, 2016 at 8:03 pm

I realize that the original might be difficult to read. I received this today and have retyped it, word for word.
“Thank you for the warm welcome to the neighborhood during the past couple weeks.
Our Soft Opening gave us the opportunity to learn more about the food items you preferred and wanted to see on our menu. It also allowed us to notice a couple tweaks that needed to be made in order for us to better serve you for many years to come.

Please allow our most sincere apology for any inconvenience while we are closed for the next couple weeks. We will be using this time to complete the outdoor patio flooring for a more optimal outdoor dining experience and also to launch the extended and final menu for Sunnie’s Ocean Beach!

When we open in a couple weeks for our official GRAND OPENING please come by for a COMPLIMENTARY cvup of our organic Joshua Tree coffee?

Thank you for your understanding and your patience during this time.
Sunnie’s Ocean Beach

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avatar judi August 8, 2016 at 8:03 pm

sorry – should be “cup” – not cvup.

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avatar Bob August 9, 2016 at 2:48 pm

Best carnitas burrito I have ever eaten. The staff is very friendly and quick to please the client. Prices are comparable to other fast food restaurants. This place has come a long way and will only get better!

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avatar Frank Gormlie August 9, 2016 at 3:25 pm

Judi Curry sent this addendum:
Heather, from the Environmental Health Department, talked to me about the need for a restroom in a food establishment. Here is the rule: If the building was built BEFORE 2004, a restroom is not necessary. However, it must be posted that there is no public restroom available. If an old restaurant is purchased and remodeled for the new one, THEN a restroom must be available. California uses the Retail Food Guidelines for their rules and/or laws.

Reply

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