Whether I am on a book tour or a cooking school junket, one of the secrets of staying happy on the road is finding out where the locals eat. Recently, while teaching at one of my favorite culinary spots, A Southern Season in Chapel Hill, NC, I posed the question "Where should I eat?" to the staff. Everyone steered me towards an assuming drive-in that I had often passed, but innocently ignored.
A restaurant that serves essentially biscuits, alone or turned into sandwiches and breakfast platters, may not sound too promising. My Chapel Hill friends speak of Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen in hushed, reverential tones that New Yorkers reserve for gastronomical temples like Le Bernadin. However, instead of a white linen tablecloth with a thread count in the thousands, I ate my meal directly off the hood of my rental car. This was actually a good thing, as contact with the hot metal car hood kept my biscuit sandwich warm and at perfect munching temperature. My coffee, too.
You won't find much more than biscuits and the ingredients that love them at Sunrise. Pork is well represented by bacon, country ham, sausage, and even a pork chop--all to put between the halves of a hot, fluffy, just-baked biscuit. There are many other add-ons to customize your biscuit sandwich. One certainly expects eggs, but your eyebrows may rise at the mention of sprouts. As I am always looking for new ways to incorporate fried chicken into my breakfast, my favorite is probably the chicken biscuit sandwich.
Sunrise is take-out only, so don't expect to get out of the car. If you have any trouble finding it, just look for a long line of cars snaking to and from the unapologetically functional drive-in near the corner of East Franklin and South Estes at the edge of town. Do not be discouraged by the cue, as the staff is so fast that I suspect that they teach "Drive-in Efficiency 101" at UNC.
Categories: On the Road