Quiet, homey café in Ginowan brews up the right taste
Sunroom Café and Sweets is quietly nestled away on the 81. But that solitude, accompanied by its fresh bakery and delicious coffee, makes the quaint shop one of my top choices for food, drink, and peace.
When you first walk into Sunroom, a bakery greets you with a myriad of delicious pastries and specialty cakes. But past the small bakery waits a dimly lit lounge area where you can choose to sit at the bar or one of five tables. While the shop may sound constricted, it is actually quite spacious and could comfortably take in upwards of 25 customers.
However, the best thing about Sunroom is not its potential to accommodate, but it’s quiet and homey setting. Unlike the chains of coffee shops like Climax Coffee or Starbucks, which are proliferating all around Okinawa, the Sunroom offers a calmer experience and, I believe, better coffee.
Countless idiosyncrasies give the shop its unique feel. From the quirky clock and mismatched dishes, to the swaying whicker light fixtures and slow radio jazz, Sunroom is definitely different, but in a comfortable, almost cozy manner. Even the instruments that they use to make the coffee are a new sight; a glass bulb over an open flame cradles bubbling coffee as a waitress slowly stirs.
The contraption is known as a coffee syphon. Basically, two glass bulbs are placed over each other, connected by a single glass tube. The bottom bulb, which sits over an open flame, is filled with water, and the top bulb contains the coffee beans. Heated water then evaporates through the tube, then through the beans. Once the water is completely saturated in coffee, it drips back down giving the technique its more famous title, “slow drip brew.” The process takes a bit of time, but seeing it done and then enjoying the smooth result, is well worth the wait.
Prices are not too high, 420 yen ($4.20) for a cup of coffee, or 525 yen ($5.25) for a breakfast set, which includes coffee. Though their menu does not quite have the intricate breadth of its competitors, it is far better in quality regarding the basics, such as coffee, breakfast items like pancakes or toast, and dinner choices like curry or pasta. And the lunch, which can be anything from salads to curry – priced around 700 yen ($7) – grants you access to a free miniature bar that includes fresh pastries, coffee, tea and other specialty items.
Most of the time only one employee is visible, preparing meals and drinks, refilling the bar, attending to other customers. The lack of workers is nice because it contributes to one of Sunroom’s greatest advantages: peace and quiet.
Despite Camp Foster’s fencing, there is a gorgeous view overlooking the military base, then Chatan-Chatan-Cho and the western coast and ocean. If you come around six or seven in the evening, that immense view turns into a beautiful Okinawan sunset.
I initially tried the cafe because the sign read “By Rose Garden,” a common breakfast and lunch destination for locals and Americans alike. I was hoping to find a substitute for Sunday brunches. I found my replacement in something even better: a unique, quiet, and tasteful coffee shop.
You definitely need to find the time in the near future to try the Sunroom. Grab the novel you have been meaning to read and relax inside one of the best coffee shops on Okinawa.
How to get there: Go out Foster Gate 5 (The Commissary Gate) and take a left onto Highway 58. Continue down Highway 58 and take the first left onto the 81. Keep going on the 81 and you will pass six stoplights. On the seventh one, Sunroom will be directly on the right next to a Lawson convenience store.
Hours: 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
The menu does change during the day:
Morning (Breakfast meals) 9:30 a.m – 11 a.m.
Lunch 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Teatime 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Phone number: 098-892-4418