Sunnyside up for opening second OKC diner

Published Monday, November 6, 2017
by Molly M. Fleming

When Sunnyside Diner hit its one-year mark of being open, operating partner Aly Branstetter said she and her partner Shannon Roper started thinking about a second location.

“We wanted to make sure there was a need in the area where we were going,” Branstetter said. “Our concept model is we want to be part of a community.”

The diner opened at NW Sixth Street and N. Classen Boulevard in June 2016, and was the lone eatery in the former automotive-repair building before Revolucion Taqueria started operating.

Branstetter said she and Roper liked that the building had a past and they wanted to find another building with a history. She said they’re approached frequently by developers to put a second location into a shiny, new building. They already had customers driving to west downtown from Moore.

“When we saw this location, we said, ‘It’s a diner,’” she said.

The building at 824 SW 89th St. had the past they were seeking. For 10 years, it was a Swadley’s Bar-B-Q restaurant. It was originally constructed as an A&W. This past year, it was a Jim’s Fried Chicken, which was owned by Swadley’s.

Precor Ruffin broker Rick Pritchett handles the leasing on the building, which is an outparcel at the Brookwood Shopping Center. He said the restaurant had an extensive renovation for Jim’s Chicken, so he was adamant to find another eatery. But he had to make sure it wouldn’t be one to steal business from his existing tenants.

He said Sunnyside, with Branstetter and Roper, was a good fit.

“It’s been very successful (near downtown),” he said. “We’re very excited to backfill it with a good operator and a great concept.”

He said he thinks the eatery will help generate more traffic for the nearby shopping center. The center is 97 percent occupied.

Branstetter said she and Roper are working with the investors that helped back the original Sunnyside. She said when the group was approached about a second location, they didn’t hesitate to support it.

“We talked to everyone and made sure everyone was comfortable,” she said. “They said, ‘We want in.’”

The restaurant’s decor will match the 1970s vibe of the building. There will be warm colors throughout, with a mural that ties in nearby attractions.

“It will be a different artist (than the downtown location) with a different vision, but it will still be an ode to Oklahoma City and that area,” she said.

Sunnyside is bringing its community outreach to the area as well, with its Sunnyside Street Team. The restaurant collects items such as socks and hats and passes them out to the homeless people nearby.

The menu is staying the same, though breakfast burritos and avocado toasts are now offered at the west downtown location.

The liquor zoning is still in the works, but Branstetter said she thinks it will be complete by December. The restaurant will open in early 2018.

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