Port Jeff Baker Reclaims Her Past Success With Her Morning Sunshine Breakfast Cookie

With Morning Sunshine Breakfast Cookie, Port Jefferson-based baker, Lisa Harris, is reclaiming a big bite from her past to reboot the future of breakfast.

Once upon a time, Lisa Harris had an idea: to change the way customers at her coffee shop thought about breakfast. It was 2010 and Harris owned Cafe Portofino in Northport. She noticed that people were grabbing the typical quick to-go items on their way out the door like buttered muffins and bagels and she thought there was a better way to breakfast.

“I needed to provide a better option,” she said she thought at the time.

Harris is no stranger to trying something new. She is a serial restaurateur who has since opened up multiple spots including Port Jeff’s Prohibition Kitchen on Main Street (which was sold last year) and her current shop, Torte Jefferson Pie Co. & Bakery, also in Port Jeff in the upper East Main Street neighborhood. This breakfast idea combined two of Harris’ food interests.

“My love of cookies and my passion for healthy eating,” she said.

So with $500 she saved from tip money she made as a barista, Harris set out formulating a healthy breakfast option. She eventually came up with Morning Sunshine Breakfast Cookie, a nutritional cookie that people could eat for breakfast (or anytime) and was as easy to carry and as filling as a buttered roll but much healthier.

Things were going great for Harris.

“I went door to door with my cookies to local businesses until I was selling to 25 stores on the Island,” she said.

In quick succession, Harris was contacted by an airport dining company that wanted her cookie to be sold in every national airport throughout the country where they had locations and that exposure resulted in a boon for her online business. She had almost a thousand customers online and was in over 250 grocery and gourmet stores across the country including Zabar’s in New York City.

“I knew I was on to something that had potential to be big,” Harris deadpanned.

She also knew that it was a crucial point in her business. 

“I either needed to get acquired or find an investor to help take the company to the next level,” she said.

One day, on a flight back from a national food trade show in Chicago after meetings with salespeople and retailers, Harris sat next to a healthy food manufacturer who was intrigued by her brand and said he’d get in touch. No sooner had they landed and Harris was driving home from the airport when her phone rang.

“He said he opened up his backpack and there was a note from his salesman taped to my cookies that said ‘you need to meet this girl,’” she said. “Weeks later he was acquiring my company and I was brought in as vice president of product development to assist in the rebranding and development of my recipe.”

It afforded Harris an opportunity that she could only dream of before for her cookie product. After a few years the company ended up changing the cookie formula to jump on a number of trends in the marketplace, which, according to Harris, significantly altered the texture and taste. While the cookie did well – selling in national grocery store chains including Whole Foods – they eventually stopped selling them altogether.

“For them, $2 million a year in cookie sales didn’t justify the slotting fees the grocery chains expect,” she said.

Harris left the company but it was a bittersweet parting of ways.

“Part of my contract buyout included the right to my original recipe back again,” she said.

With her original formula back in hand, Harris waited until the time was right to relaunch Morning Sunshine Breakfast Cookie.

That time has come.

Harris says that things are better than ever, especially for small batch makers of healthy foods. Awareness for healthy options has grown in the last dozen years or so and so has the acceptance from retailers so it’s much easier to get them to carry her product and others like it.

“Thankfully, most grocery stores are absolutely aware and promoting healthier eating now,” she said. “Not only is it easier to sell healthy products now, it’s mainstream.”

It’s also easier to reach the customers who want her product through technology and social media.

With full control of the brand and the recipe back in her hands, Harris is now selling her healthy breakfast cookies again. She offers a number of different cookies including Dark Chocolate Flax, the original recipe of healthy, slow release carbs to get you started in the morning. Three is also the Rise & Shine, infused with cold brewed coffee, cacao and a sprinkle of coffee on top, and her Peanut Butter Berry cookies, made with high protein peanut flour, dried cherries, raspberry flavor throughout and chopped peanuts.

Since she’s been back, the breakfast cookie business has been brisk.

“It’s going amazingly well,” she said.

Order Morning Sunshine Breakfast Cookies online at www.sunshinecookie.com or follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *