- 4980 S. Campbell Ave., Tucson, AZ, 85706
- Overall User Rating:
- (7 ratings)
- Mon.-Tue. 6 a.m.-3 p.m., Wed.-Fri. 6 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. 7 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
- Official Web Site:
What was ordered: The unbeatable sandwich ($6.79), chicken-fried steak sandwich ($5.99), coffee ($1.29) and a soft drink ($1.59) for a total of $16.93, well within our Cheap Eats goal of a meal for two for less than $20.
Comments: If you have friends or family in town from Cincinnati, they might just be the type to get a big kick out of the Sunny Daze Cafe and its beach bungalow theme.
For whatever reason, "the 'Nati" is the birthplace of Parrotheads, a legion of brightly clad, ardent fans of beachcomber balladeer Jimmy Buffett, whose shelf-life (also for whatever reason) is approaching Grateful Dead status.
But enough about Buff. A little creative effort can go a long way with an eatery, and Sunny Daze shows a good bit of it.
It's not just the palm trees, surfboards and checkerboard inlays and bamboo checkers at each table.
A sweet, little complimentary plate of fresh apple slices and caramel sauce arrive with the menus—not an earth-shattering concept, but a nice, little touch all the same.
The menu offers the obligatory diner fare, but also shows some extra effort with offerings such as white fish salad ($6.59); seasoned pulled pork ($6.59); a Cali burger ($5.99) of avocado, bacon, lettuce, tomato, Swiss cheese and mayo; and a chili cheese burger ($5.99) of homemade chili, mixed cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion. And how many places give you a choice of eight different side dishes from fries to mashed potatoes, fresh fruit and green or pinto beans?
We went with the unbeatable sandwich, which you can order with marinated steak, chicken or smoked sausage. The steak was generously portioned and teamed with melted cheese, sautéed onions and peppers, and served on grilled garlic cheese toast. A meld of a grilled cheese sandwich and a cheesesteak, it was satisfying though somewhat muted in flavor. I think the smoked sausage version would be the best variant, as it would spice up the concoction a little.
My companion's chicken-fried steak sandwich consisted of two large but thin-sliced cuts of breaded steak with sausage gravy and lettuce. A sandwich with breaded meat always runs the risk of being too "bready," and we figured that not one but two breaded cutlets would put this one over the edge. We were wrong. The thin layer of slightly spicy breading worked well with the toasted sub roll and gave off a nicely savory essence. We'd order this one again, just as it is.
Service: prompt and pleasant
Bottom line: Sunny Daze is an imaginative, little island in an ocean of standard-issue breakfast and lunch joints.
Don't wait for some goober Ohio relative in a technicolor get-up to come visit you to eat at this well-crafted South Side cafe.