Those mourning the disappearance of Sam’s Luncheonette and its Power Breakfast Specials can console themselves with a $6 Gentle Giant breakfast combo at Sunny’s Diner, the new eatery that has opened in its place. Tucked behind a gas station just a few blocks up Mass Ave from MIT, it’s easy to miss, despite the bright new sign over the storefront. Though Sam’s Rocco — ready with his smile and a bit of good-natured ribbing — no longer mans the grill, the new guys who’ve taken over are a friendly bunch and have smartened up this cozy little space considerably with a fresh coat of paint. Other minor improvements have left the interior noticeably less grotty and, well, a little bit sunnier.
This same thoughtfulness shows in the food: a gentle dusting of powdered sugar covers a trio of light and not overly fluffy blueberry pancakes ($4.50), while the green onions garnishing the somewhat bland home fries can also be found sprinkled on the perfectly respectable grilled cheese sandwich ($2). A tasty, if modest, cheese omelet ($4.25, with your choice of American, Swiss, or provolone) arrives at the table with buttered toast spread like wings on top. The Gentle Giant gives hungry customers three eggs, a choice of ham, bacon, or sausage, two pancakes, and a pile of those home fries. Diners more interested in lunch options can choose from a handful of soups, salads, and the usual variety of deli and diner sides (potato salad, onion rings). Sunny’s also offers a wide assortment of hot and cold sandwiches, including a sizeable cheese steak ($5.25) that would do any greasy spoon proud.
Low on frills (you’ll have to ask for jam for your toast) and a tight fit for larger groups (there’s only one table in the back that comfortably seats more than two), Sunny’s Diner is nevertheless big on value and eager to please. You get just what you ask for — and sometimes, that’s all you really want.
Sunny’s Diner, located at 7 Lansdowne Street, in Cambridge, is open Monday through Saturday, from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call (617) 491-9550.