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Sunni’s Grille in HL – a big city menu for a small community

By Jennifer Kotila, Staff Writer

Nine years ago, Michael and Nicole Sundt had the opportunity to move to Howard Lake and open their own restaurant, and they took it.

Today, Sunni’s Grille’s has been able to maintain the intimate appeal of a family restaurant, but offers a diverse menu gleaned from Michael’s years of experience in a variety of restaurants.

Michael has been involved in the restaurant business since 1976, and has held various kitchen manager or chef positions since 1980.

Throughout those years, he has worked at various types of restaurants, such as Café Odyssey at the Mall of America, Champps Americana Restaurant, Leeann Chin, Figlio in Minneapolis, and the Boston Sea Party and Muffuletta (now known as Blue Point in Wayzata).

“There’s a little bit of me spread all over the place,” Michael commented.

His background gave him the experience to put together a diverse menu offering everything from meat and potato dishes, to tasty ethnic foods.

When he first opened Sunni’s Grille, Michael stuck with a basic meat-and-potatoes menu, he said.

“Now, I throw in a little of everything from all around,” Michael said.

His goal was to bring what people could get in the Cities to a small town, and it has been successful.

In a small town, “the passion and commitment we put into what we do comes across to the guest,” Michael said.

If it didn’t, Sunni’s Grille would not be as successful as it is, operating in a small town, he added.

For a long time, Michael was working under someone who would answer his questions and provide guidance.

He found not having someone to answer questions kind of scary, at first, he said.

“I’ve been scraping my knees and elbows for nine years on my own, but I think we’ve accomplished a really good thing,” Michael said about the experience of operating his own business.

Ninety percent of everything Sunni’s Grille serves, from sauces and dressings to dessert, is made from scratch at the restaurant.

“I only order the things I cannot make taste as good,” Michael said. “A lot of love goes into everything we do back here.”

Sunni’s Grille offers a VIP club for diners, delivery to businesses within a 10-mile radius for lunch, and is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.

It can be found on Facebook and Twitter, and Sunni’s Grille’s website is www.sunnisgrille.com.

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