By Jason DeRusha

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There are some restaurants that are more about the people than the food. They become part of the fabric of the community.

“We wanted to be a community-centered restaurant offering good value,” said April Hanson, one of three partners running The Sunshine Factory in Plymouth.

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“I started working for Sunshine Factory in 1985,” said Hanson, who began as a host, then a server, rising through the ranks to become a co-owner.

The Sunshine Factory opened in New Hope in 1976, and everything about it screamed the ’70s.

“The sunshine name comes from that hippy era in the ’70s,” said Hanson. In 2013, they moved to Plymouth and they brought the spirit of sunshine and joy along for the ride.

“Absolutely we’re very much a generational gathering place. We see families and then their kids and their kids,” she said.

It’s the kind of place you can get a huge burger, a platter of spicy green beans, or a rack of house-smoked ribs.

“It’s a busy kitchen, but we have it broken down into stations,” said Chef Andrew Ortis, also a partner, has been cooking at The Sunshine Factory for 23 years.

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They do have to master many different things: Kung Pao Stir Fry, Jerk Chicken, a monster sandwich called the “Plymouth Panini” with ham and turkey. The menu has something for everyone- and that’s not a rip. The Sunshine Factory is one of those special places: where everyone feels welcome.

“Oh it’s very special. We’ve had people get married here, get engaged here. It’s special they make their memories here, we’ve probably had some get divorced here too,” she laughed.

They’ve also been there for April. Shortly after moving to the new spot, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Employees, customers, everyone rallied wearing pink.

“Instead of work, it’s more like family,” said Hanson.

It’s good honest food for more than 40 years, The Sunshine Factory continues burning bright.

“I come in the door every day, and say, we have to be better today than we were yesterday,” said Hanson. “Every day we have to get out there and thank our customers for their business and let them know how much we appreciate them.”

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The Sunshine Factory Bar & Grill
4100 Vinewood Lane
Plymouth, MN
Sunday–Thursday from 11 a.m.-Midnight; Open Friday and Saturday until 1 a.m.

Jason DeRusha