Sunny Girl Is About to Fill the North End with Tasty Sandwiches
Mike & Patty’s alum Jesse Rosen and the Good Life owner Peter Fiumara will soon serve breakfast and lunch out of the former Anthony’s Cafe space.
A cheery deli will bring breakfast and lunch to Boston’s North End soon, courtesy of a couple of industry vets who know a thing or two about good vibes and good sandwiches. Sunny Girl—from Mike & Patty’s and Hot Box alum Jesse Rosen and the Good Life bar owner Peter Fiumara—could open as soon as March 2023 at 252 Commercial St., the former Anthony’s Cafe space. When it does, early risers will find a variety of creative sandwiches, many served on house-made English muffins, as well as interesting soft drinks and local coffee.
The focus will be on seasonal ingredients, highlighting local farmers and makers, chef and co-owner Rosen tells Boston. “We want to bring a local neighborhood sandwich shop with an elevated selection of sandwiches and beverages,” he says. “Sunny Girl will provide something for everyone’s palate.” That means offering everything from a classic bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich to options like fried mortadella with basil gremolata and pistachio mascarpone; a “deluxe” croque madame; and “an upgraded take on a classic Italian.”
Rosen says that 90% of the breakfast options will showcase the restaurant’s own English muffins, made daily. Eventually, the team plans to have a commissary kitchen, which will allow for a few rotating flavors of English muffins, plus breads like ciabatta and focaccia for all the sandwiches on the menu. Sunny Girl will offer some options for vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets, says Rosen.
Beverages won’t be an afterthought, with Sunny Girl featuring a mix of local small-batch soft drinks and “unique imported” options. “We will also have an amazing coffee program from Speedwell Coffee in Plymouth,” says Rosen.
Rosen, who trained at the Culinary Institute of America, is no stranger to making excellent sandwiches. He spent four years at Mike & Patty’s, the acclaimed local group of sandwich shops, and its spinoff Hot Box. The latter, located at Somerville’s Bow Market, features North Shore-style roast beef sandwiches alongside South Shore-style bar pizza. Rosen and Fiumara met at Bow Market, where Fiumara—who co-owns the record store there, Vinyl Index—would frequent Hot Box because he loved Rosen’s pickle pizzas.
Ultimately Fiumara brought Rosen onboard at the Good Life in late 2019 until its closing in December 2022. The two worked well together and always talked about starting their own fast-casual restaurant concept, says Rosen, and they jumped at the opportunity to buy the North End space when it became available. “The [Anthony’s Cafe] owner was retiring after 30 years of working six days a week,” says Rosen. “It was important for him to keep a breakfast and lunch place in the space, as Anthony’s Cafe became a neighborhood institution of sorts.”
Sunny Girl was named by Fiumara’s nine-year-old daughter, Ryan, who also serves as creative director for the business. The fast-casual shop, which will have about six stools inside, is in a prime location for grab-and-go sandwiches: There’s a low stone wall out front with room to sit, and the wharf is just across the street, with plenty of benches and space to stroll. Sunny Girl will also offer delivery through third-party apps and local delivery for larger orders and catering. Rosen and Fiumara are hoping to operate seven days a week, from 6 or 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“There is always an amazing thing that happens when you walk into a deli and up to a deli counter,” says Rosen, recalling childhood trips to old-school delis like Maxie’s in Stoughton, where he’d pick up corned beef and other cold cuts for the week. “Though Sunny Girl won’t be a traditional deli counter by any means, we hope to bring that feel-good vibe to our little corner shop.”
252 Commercial St., North End, Boston, instagram.com/sunnygirl_northend.