About a year after the highly rated Surf Pines Café in Gearhart closed its doors, a new restaurant has popped up in its place, keeping the location within the Bautista family.
Celestino Bautista opened Sunshine Teriyaki late this summer, transforming the site that was previously used by his sister for her breakfast and brunch restaurant. Bautista also owns El Trio Loco, which runs out of the same building in the Gearhart plaza off U.S. Highway 101.
With Sunshine Teriyaki, Bautista has a dedicated partner in Jorge Lopez, the co-owner and head chef of the restaurant. According to Jose Bautista, who does communications for the restaurant group, his brother and Lopez have known each other professionally for many years and even worked together.
Lopez, who has past experience cooking in a small teriyaki place, approached his brother about opening a new restaurant. At that point, Sunshine Teriyaki was born.
Lopez and his wife, Dulce Ciuz, handle the day-to-day operations of the restaurant, with Lopez doing the cooking and Ciuz occasionally helping in the kitchen but mostly managing the front of house. Sometimes their son will join the crew, making the restaurant a truly family run establishment at this point.
With the coronavirus pandemic ongoing and winter underway, Jose Bautista said, they aren’t planning to expand the staff, although that may change when business picks back up in the spring and summer of next year.
In general, the owners were a little nervous about opening during COVID-19, but since they’d already been in talks about establishing the restaurant, “they went ahead and decided to go for it,” Jose Bautista said.
“The community has been really good, supportive,” he added.
The menu features a wide array of soups, teriyaki bowls, fried rice, chow mein dishes and fresh sushi. Lopez said his favorite thing to cook is chow mein.
Although he already has ample on-the-job experience working with this type of cuisine, he experiments with various ingredients and techniques to put his own spin on dishes, develop different flavors and create new items for the menu.
“It’s a learning experience every day,” Jose Bautista said.
Ciuz also has a background in restaurants. She said she enjoys serving people. Running Sunshine Teriyaki with her husband and working with the Bautistas has so far been a positive experience.
“I love working here,” she added.