After multiple visits to a restaurant, but before I start to write, I usually surf the web a bit to see what others are saying. Not that I believe much of that unmonitored drivel, but it sort of gives me a place to start. In the case of the diminutive and semi-under-the-radar Sunrise Restaurant in Dewey Beach, I have never read so many positive comments about any place here at the beach. And, after 6 visits, I agree.
Sunrise Restaurant gives "no-frills" a whole new meaning. No band, no mirror ball, no bar, no flashing neon (except for the "open" sign), no ads in the Gazette, Coast Press, Beach Paper -- whatever, no airplane banners, no ceremony -- no frills. Just basic and beachy food. And they've been doing it for 29 years! Could it be that they're doing something right?
It's all about breakfast and lunch at Sunrise Restaurant. Breakfast specialties include a choice of 10 omelets and a list of breakfast meats that includes scrapple, of course. On one of our first visits I had the Scrapple, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich [pictured, right]. This is the most generous breakfast sandwich I have had here at the beach -- and equal to or less than the price of some of the more visible breakfast joints. Delaware is known for its quality scrapple, and Sunrise Restaurant does it justice by cooking it well-done to a nice crispiness. But if you just can't wrap your mind around this regional, if not controversial favorite, there's ham, bacon and sausage too.
Other breakfast sandwiches (available on a bagel, roll, muffin or toast) include grilled cheese, grilled ham & cheese, and of course the various combinations of meat, egg and cheeses on bread.
On another visit we had the Ham & Cheddar Omelet with a side of a single pancake [pictured, left]. The exterior of the omelet was amazingly thin and light, with lots of the required fillings. Matt definitely knows how to treat an egg back there at his flattop grill. Because the exterior was so thin, the omelet covers an entire oval plate from end to end. Accompanying diners had the Sunrise Special omelet (a Greek flavored combination of mild feta, tomato, onion and green pepper) and the Spinach Omelet (get it with feta and it's like an eggy spanakopita, sans filo). Both were equally appetizing and loaded with the required fillings.
The pancake was surprisingly moist (considering there was no stack -- we only ordered one) with a yeasty, nutty flavor and a light crust on the outside. I have two favorite pancake places here at the beach, and now I have three. They are available as a full stack (3), a short stack (2) or the lonely yet tasty single that we enjoyed.
Another breakfast sleeper there on that corner in Dewey Beach is the French Toast, available as a full stack (3) or as a short stack (2), with or without eggs. I'm sorry there is no photo. One of my not-quite-so-favorite-any-more Foodettes attacked her French Toast and took a huge bite out of it before I could even get the camera aimed. (I really need to be more selective as to who accompanies me on these visits.)
That notwithstanding, she loved it -- loaded with cinnamon, creamy on the inside, slightly crisp on the outside. But that doesn't replace a photo. UPDATE! Went back. Got the photo [pictured, right].
Lunchtime involves fairly typical fare, with a selection of subs including cheesesteaks (chicken or beef), cold cut, ham- or cheeseburger, turkey, and a gyro sub (think gyro on a sub roll instead of pita) and a combo "club sub." (A BLT with turkey and ham -- now what could be wrong with that? Nothing.)
Sandwiches are again what you would expect and include a selection of burgers and pretty much everything else available on the subs but served as a sandwich. The Club Sandwich [pictured, left] is exceptional, with ham, turkey, bacon, cheddar and fresh lettuce & tomato. It is served regulation-style (in quarters) on toast with a big pile of chips.
I haven't had the burger yet, but on two of my visits neighboring diners happily dug in to a Double Hamburger and a regular Cheeseburger. Both burgers looked good on a nice soft roll. I have certainly been known to saunter over to a table and ask to photograph people's food, but these guys looked like hungry construction workers on a mission and it just seemed prudent to leave well-enough alone. Even I have my limits.
On one visit I had the chicken cheesesteak [pictured, right]. It is a simple, straightforward and delicious affair. Chunks of lightly seasoned and grilled chicken breast join the standard toppings on a toasted roll. For all the hoopla around here about cheesesteaks, who wooda thought this tiny little diner would be crankin' out such a nice, fresh tasting sub?
A list of salads rounds out the lunch side of the menu, and one of the stars is the Greek Salad [pictured, left, in a to-go container]. Greek olives and mild feta decorate the huge mound of cold and crunchy lettuce, tomatoes and green pepper. It is a meal in itself, and certainly meant to be at $9.50. Another little surprise at Sunrise Restaurant is the Sausage & Gravy over a Biscuit, with their moist and garlicky homefries [see the omelet photo above]. For just $9.50 I doubt if you'll be hungry for the rest of the day.
Sunrise Restaurant is small beach-town breakfast and lunch at its best. The same server has been there for over 11 years, and after my first visit, she remembered what I liked to drink. There's nothing like walking into a restaurant and being asked if you want "your regular."
A few things to note: This is a VERY informal place. Minimum credit card charge is $10, and their prices are reasonable for beach standards, so if you're not all that hungry, bring cash. Parking is tight in the summer, as they only have about 7-8 spaces of their own (staying in Dewey? Walk!). And you will not leave hungry.
Sunrise Restaurant is open year-round from 7 a.m. at 2300 Coastal Highway at Swedes St. on the ocean side (driving north, just before the fork to Silver Lake Dr.). Always check in the winter to make sure they're open: 302-227-3202. (B., L.) Price range: Moderate -.
By the way, before you fire up your email to scold me for awarding them a "9" for food, read the Ratings & Standards section (or click the ratings box). The ratings are not meant to be comparisons! They indicate how well a restaurant lives up to what they promise and if they provide good value for the money. Sunrise does.