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Owner Shutondia Culcleasure (right), with uncle Cornelious Culcleasure, and employee Shamya Smith. Photo provided. All other photos by Karamie Hallman.

There’s a restaurant giving new life to the former Carolina Café spot in West Columbia.

Sunshine Café, located at 2250 Sunset Blvd. in the Westland Shopping Center, will still offer beloved menu items like fresh-baked bagels and paninis, similar to the previous restaurant. However, owner Shutondia Culcleasure said Sunshine Cafe will be incorporating a “sweeter side” to the menu.

“We’ll have a variety of cheesecakes, red velvet, German chocolate, just a whole sweeter side to the bakery,” she said.

Carolina Café owners closed the store Dec. 2 to focus primarily on their downtown Columbia location. Since the spot has been out of use for more than a month, Culcleasure said she’s begun to see customers coming back in.

“We’re going to pose the question, ‘What are we missing?’ We’ve had a lot of returning customers come back,” she said. “They have welcomed us into the community. The transition has gone well.”

Culcleasure has plans to continue putting customers’ suggestions to use. “The pimiento cheese mac salad has been a really popular seller,” she said. The side dish was suggested by a patron.

The seating arrangements and capacity (49) is still the same as the previous restaurant. Culcleasure said she will soon have students from Midlands Technical College come in to create wall paintings.

As for the cafe's name, Culcleasure said it seemed fitting for her new business. "It's always the sunny side here," she laughed. "You can either look for the sunshine, or be the sunshine."

She is excited to serve the West Columbia community. “We’re just a family-based bagel shop, offering the same great bagels, coffee, smiling faces, and a great atmosphere that welcomes you. Hopefully we’ll bring you back in,” she added.

Sunshine Cafe offers breakfast and lunch, and is open from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. Culcleasure said the business Facebook and website will be finished soon.

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