By Kristin Hackler
It’s a quiet, unassuming place from the outside. Located in the little pewter-gray strip mall on the side of Maybank highway and Main road, there is a delicious new reason to stop and give this blossoming roadside complex another look.
Sunrise Bistro is the product of a collaboration between two former chef’s from Hege’s, a fine dining French restaurant located in Freshfields Village. Brian Appelt and Jessica Walentechick, former Hege’s hot appetizer and pastry & salad chefs respectively, felt it was time that they branched out on their own and opened a restaurant which features fresh food and local produce at very inexpensive prices.
Brian, a self-made chef who has worked in restaurants around the world, is a magician with breads. Making all of Sunrise’s pastries, pastas, pizzas, breads and bagels by hand, the extra effort is evident in the quality of the final products. The bagels are lightly crispy on the outside with a delicious, not-too-gluttony chewy center, and the pizzas have a perfect Roman-style cracker-thin crust. Regular menu favorites include the Cajun shrimp sandwich made with locally-harvested shrimp and homemade Cajun mayo, and the chicken pot pie, made with Brian’s personal biscuit recipe. Soups are made daily and feature in-season produce. A recent feature of butternut squash soup was stick-to-your-ribs delicious with just enough spice to ward off some of the chill of our recent winter weather. Besides the regular menu, Brian and Jessica are constantly offering a variety of specials, the list taking up almost two whiteboards, as well as a little “dessert” feature board at the checkout counter.
The interior of the Bistro is night and day compared to the dark dive bar of the building’s former tenants. The walls are sunflower yellow with black and natural wood accents. Professional photography lines the walls, featuring scenes from throughout the Lowcountry. Soft lighting highlights the cozy back bar and the wide glass window at the front of the shop keeps the room feeling fresh and bright.
Although Sunrise Bistro is open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday – Saturday from 7am – 2:30pm, the restaurant is open for dinner regularly on Thursday nights, and on one Friday a month, the Bistro opens for an all-out prix fixe dinner featuring some of Brian and Jessica’s latest creations.
For the next dinner, planned for the evening of Friday, February 19, Brian and Jessica are sorting through a list of delicious menu items, but among the final contestants are appetizers of smoked salmon napoleon, sweet potato soup and pickled shrimp; entrees of seafood casserole, crab cake stuffed salmon and chicken tetrazzini; and desserts of caramel pecan cake and white chocolate key lime pie.
For more information about Sunrise Bistro or to check out their full menu, visit www.sunrisebistro.net. Sunrise Bistro is located at 1797 Main Road. They can be reached at 718-1858.