Rick Rodgers - cuisine americane

Sunrise Biscuit Sandwich


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. 

Tags: biscuit sandwich , breakfast , Chapel Hill , fried chicken , Sunrise BIscuit

Categories: On the Road

Mo Dickens  | September 19, 2010 6:03 PM

I live in Kansas City now, but lived in Chapel Hill for 20 years. My wife-to-be lived a block from the Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen and on Saturday mornings in our courting phase I would pick up two country ham biscuits and sweet tea and head to her house. When we finished the biscuits, her cat would lick the wrappers clean. A great way to start the weekend...Thanks for the memories!
Mo Dickens
Kansas City, MO

John Esser  | September 20, 2010 3:27 PM

I grew up about 6 blocks from the Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen. I remember seeing the building built but it was always a drive through for buying dairy products when I lived there. The nearest place to my house for us to buy candy was a 7-11 across the street. My brother-in-law was a regular SBK customer when he lived in Chapel Hill.

Arthur Cain  | July 9, 2012 11:38 PM

I wish I'd known about the Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen when I lived in Chapel Hill, back in the late 1960s. Next time I'm there I'll be sure to check it out.

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