Eugene’s first all gluten-free restaurant opened this week, and EW dropped by to check it out. Sundial Café is tucked into the corner of 24th and Hilyard just south of the UO campus, next to Sundance Natural Foods — look for the storefront with the red door.
Owner and chef Alex Moon, a longtime member of the Eugene food community who used to work at Belly Taqueria and Morning Glory Café, launched a Kickstarter campaign over a year ago to get a gluten-free restaurant up and running in Eugene. It took a while to find the right space, but May 11 was Sundial Café’s first day.
Outdoor seating covers the front area, which is shared with neighbor Humble Bagel, and inside, a cute collection of chairs and tables fills a space with a country farm house vibe. The interior has the gleam of a newly built restaurant, with a cozy atmosphere generated by the elegant but slightly worn décor.
OK, but you’re really here for the food, right?
Moon is currently only serving lunch and dinner right now, but she plans to start serving breakfast starting next weekend. Currently, the menu offers an appealing array of dishes, from chips and guac to salads, pastas and burgers.
The Spencer’s Butte burger comes with a one-third pound beef patty and options to add jalapenos, barbecue sauce, fried egg, avocado and more.
The beverages list includes a full assortment of coffees, like lattes, mochas and espresso. Further down you’ll find a handful of smoothies — the PB & J smoothie is light pink, frothy and perfect in consistency, easy to slurp down with a straw but far from watery. Expect a sweet strawberry taste with rich, peanut butter undertones.
And you don’t want to miss the dessert menu. Take the “Pink Cloud,” for example: “a strawberry shake topped with fresh berries and marshmallows with a rainbow sugar rim.”
Lauren Hay, one of the restaurant’s employees, says although Sundial has only been open for two days, it’s been a fun experience. “I’ve never been part of a start-up before, but it’s all been really positive,” she says.