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Decade-Plus Franchisees Win Sunny Street Café’s Franchise Operators of the Year

Kate and Asch Mikhail, owners of the Sunny Street Café franchise in Dublin, Ohio, have been named the Franchise Operators of the Year due to their dedication, hard work and commitment to their community.

By Luca Piacentini1851 Franchise Managing Editor
SPONSOREDUpdated 12:12PM 08/18/23

When Kate and Asch Mikhail first opened their Sunny Street Café® in February 2010, they didn’t have much restaurant experience. Asch, with a financial background, and Kate, with experience as an office manager in the dental industry, were drawn to the breakfast and lunch franchise for another reason — it aligned perfectly with their family values and desire to give back to their community. Now, after over 12 years with the franchise, the Mikhails have been named the Sunny Street Café Franchise Operators of the Year.

"We wanted to be in business for ourselves, but not by ourselves,” Kate said. “We also love our community; we love where we live. We wanted to be able to have a business where we can provide jobs for people, and then use our business to support the community. Sunny Street Café was a natural fit.”

A 10-Year Journey of Building One of the Best Breakfast Cafe Franchises

Sunny Street Café is a family-owned and operated breakfast and lunch concept founded by Mike Stasko Sr. that opened its flagship restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. Sunny Street Café is not only family-owned, but they’re also community-driven. The brand plays a valuable part in the communities it’s a part of by providing a friendly atmosphere for family get-togethers, business meetings and the weekend brunch crowds. All of its food is handmade from scratch using fresh ingredients. 

“Mike Stasko Sr. is probably the main reason we were drawn to the brand,” said Asch. “His values, his background and the way he cares about people all resonated with us. That’s really why we signed on with this franchise in the beginning.”

The Mikhails spent the first few years building the Sunny Street Café reputation in their community and getting accustomed to the operations. “We were going to hire a manager at first, but we quickly realized that we needed to be in the business day-to-day,” said Kate. “I took over the operations and Asch kept his other job. After the first few years, I started letting go of some of my responsibilities and divvying it up between my staff.”

The Sunny Street Café team believes in maintaining a work and life balance, and that’s reflected in the restaurant’s 6:30 am to 2:30 pm hours of operation. They want their employees to be satisfied with their work, while also being able to be involved with their families and community.

In 2018, the Mikhails were recognized as the Dublin Chamber of Commerce Business Persons of the Year, an award given to individuals who have positively contributed to the betterment of Dublin’s business community. Asch and Kate consider their restaurant an extension of themselves because it allows them to help with school fundraisers, local charities, church organizations and other small businesses. 

Just as the Mikhails were starting to find their stride with the business, the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. While it certainly presented a new set of challenges, the Mikhails say they were able to adapt due to the mutual support they found in their community. 

"The one thing that wholeheartedly sustained us through COVID was our community,” Kate shared. “We went from 20 employees to four overnight. We went from full dining rooms to 100% carry-out. But our community and staff were there for us the entire time. After COVID, about 75-80% of our staff returned to us and are still there. They are the backbone of our business.  Our kitchen manager has been with us for 12 years.” 

Franchise Operators of the Year

This year, all the hard work and perseverance paid off when Kate and Asch were named Sunny Street Cafe’s Franchise Operators of the Year for 2023. And while the Mikhails may be proud of the distinction, Kate says they couldn’t have done it without the people that help operate the restaurant on a daily basis.

"I’m very honored that the corporate team saw that our business was running phenomenally, but it’s not a one-person or two-person effort — it's the entire staff,” said Kate. “That includes my kitchen managers, my front-of-house manager, my catering manager, all the way to our brand-new high school kids that we hired as bussers or cashiers or hostesses. Every person in that business that we employ is just as important, no matter what their position."

Asch notes that the Sunny Street Café team has also given them enough flexibility to build something that is truly their own. 

"In most franchises, you’re in a system and you have to follow rules and it’s very cookie-cutter-like,” said Asch. “But with Sunny Street Café, we’re allowed to add our own touches. And when people walk into our restaurant, they’re like, ‘oh this is Kate and Asch’s restaurant.’ Our restaurant shows our personality. It’s nice that we’ve been recognized for what we’re doing. I think we’ve created a good model. You give back to the community, and the community gives back to you."

Their advice for someone considering opening a Sunny Street Café? "Be prepared for some hard work,” Kate advised. “Surround yourself with your community. You have to give in order to receive. And understand that your staff are not just people collecting a paycheck. They’re people that deserve respect, and they’re people that deserve your kindness and gratitude on a daily basis.” 

Sunny Street Café is currently expanding and is offering new franchise opportunities in places like Ohio, Missouri, Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. 

The initial investment required to open a Sunny Street Café franchise ranges from $464,545 - $1,307,514 including a $35,000 franchise fee. For more information, visit: