Sonja’s Restaurant Sells Groceries
“I Remember Rainier When…”
by George Johnson
Sonja’s Restaurant opened in 1994. When it first opened, it was just a small burger stand. Sonja and her husband, Gene Cram, rebuilt the restaurant into what it is today. Gene did most of the work himself. He said “I made everything in the restaurant. I enjoy everything I do, so it’s not work. If you don’t enjoy doing something, you probably won’t do a good job.”
When I asked Gene what he thinks about all the changes they’ve made in the restaurant, he smiled and said, “It’s SUPER!”
Sonja’s fridge with food for sale to the public.
Sonja’s Restaurant started selling groceries in Rainier after the Rainier Market closed. When you first walk into Sonja’s Restaurant, you’ll pass a commercial refrigerator filled with produce, eggs and dairy products. As you move into the seating area, the walls behind you are again filled with food that you can purchase to take with you. She has a wide variety of staples for sale at reasonable prices.
She’s done this to help people in Rainier, who just need an onion, eggs, milk or coffee, so they don’t have to drive all the way to Yelm, Lacey or Tenino to get groceries.
When Sonja decided to open her restaurant over 21 years ago, she didn’t know it would be so much work. She loves to cook. She likes people and loves to visit with them, so she thought she would be a successful restaurateur.
Over the years she has hired and trained many young people in her restaurant, giving them skills they can use for life. Sonja supports the Rainier community in many ways; as two examples, she hosts Coffee with a Cop, and she and donates to various schools and nonprofits in the area.
years with a lot of community involvement, including the Rainier Lions Club and Rainier Senior Center.