Rise and shine! It’s time for breakfast!
Sunrise Memphis is the newest addition to the Memphis restaurant scene. Having opened just last month, this Medical District hot spot is already buzzing — and it’s not just from the coffee!
Sunrise is the brainchild of Craig Blondis, Roger Sapp and Ryan Trimm. You may recognize those names as each is already a successful restaurateur here in Memphis. Craig and Roger are the duo behind Central BBQ, and Ryan is the chef and owner of Sweet Grass. “We wanted to serve the best breakfast in town while also reminding our guests what Sunday morning at Grandma’s house tastes like,” says Ryan when asked about their new concept.
This dream team came together over good food, of course. “Roger and Craig had worked a few events that I worked, and we started talking about their building on Jefferson that they wanted to use to serve breakfast and make charcuterie, a culinary craft of which Ryan is particularly fond, always making his own cured meats and sausages for Sweet Grass. After about a year of discussions and ideas, we pulled the trigger,” says Ryan.
Each one of these talented guys brings something different to the table. “In name, I will remain Executive Chef,” says Ryan. “Craig will definitely handle operations, and Roger the books. However, you can’t expect us to color inside the lines. Craig and I love to work in the kitchen together, and he has already taught me so much about running a business that is consistent and profitable. And we were able to bring my old general manager from Sweet Grass, Johnny Lawrence, back from Nashville to help us keep growing in the right direction. It really is a great team.”
Breakfast, obviously, is the centerpiece on the Sunrise menu.
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day — that’s why we serve it all day,” Ryan says with a grin. “Biscuit sandwiches have to be the main focus of our breakfast menu, but not all that we offer by any means. A big and sturdy buttermilk biscuit served with eggs, smoked meats, house-made sausage and an assortment of relishes, slaws and sauces help to please almost every eater.”
Also on the breakfast menu are buttermilk pancakes, eggs and some of the best spicy breakfast tacos we have tried. What takes the tacos over the top is the house-made chorizo. Did we mention that Ryan and his team are making all the sausages in-house, from scratch? And you can taste the difference.
The inspiration behind the menu might surprise you. “The menu is definitely based on my favorite breakfast foods and deli sandwiches throughout my life,” explains Ryan, “not necessarily from just my Nonnie or my mom, but from so many of my friends’ homes, classic breakfast spots and all of my favorite delis. Of course, I needed to make sure I put my own twist on all of my favorites and classics.”
Whereas breakfast is served all day, Sunrise also offers a lunch menu composed of sandwiches and salads. “At lunch, it’s all about the classic deli sandwich. We use a classic French roll for most of our sandwiches, but we have a gluten-free bread so everyone is happy,” adds Ryan.
“When you’re pondering your order, try to branch out and enjoy something new or a little out of the ordinary. A lot of creativity and time went into some of these dishes, and we are pretty proud of them,” says Ryan.
And creativity abounds. There is no lack of flavor on the sandwich menu at Sunrise. The Mississippi flat steak is a slice of smoked bologna topped with house-made slaw and mustard BBQ sauce. Ryan tops his Chicken Milanese sandwich with not one, but three flavor-packed condiments: pico de gallo, salsa verde and chipotle mayonnaise. There is even an Asian-inspired sandwich. The Last Emperor is loaded with Char Siu pork, pickled daikon radish and lettuce, topped with a soy-ginger vinaigrette.
If you are trying to eat a little on the healthier side, Ryan has you covered, and he hasn’t forgotten to add a wallop of flavor. The tinga salad is a combo of broccoli and cauliflower tinga, green leaf lettuce, radishes, jalapeños, pico de gallo and cilantro-lime dressing. Nothing boring about that vegetarian option!
Because of the location, Ryan, Craig and Roger knew they needed to create a concept that appealed to the busy midtown and downtown worker and resident. “We knew it was so important that we kept things quick,” explains Ryan. “That is why we added the side door on the west side of the building for grab-and-go. We want all of our guests to enjoy our biscuits, but we don’t want to take any time out of their busy day.” So Sunrise not only offers a quick, on-the-go breakfast or lunch, they can also deliver and cater for all occasions as well as offer the classic dine-in experience.
And speaking of locations, this spot down on Jefferson almost to Danny Thomas, once home to Neely’s Bar-B-Cue, is located in a part of town that is undergoing revitalization. “The Medical District could use another option for breakfast and lunch. We simply want to help them get some good food and keep them eating local,” explains Ryan of the decision to put Sunrise in this spot.
Don’t forget that Sunrise offers a full bar. So when heading out to brunch with friends, be sure to indulge in a Bloody Mary, mimosa or one of their craft cocktails. They each go perfectly with a freshly baked biscuit!
Sunrise Memphis is located at 670 Jefferson Ave., Memphis, TN 38105. Open daily from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. Breakfast is served all day; lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m; brunch on Saturday, Sunday and Monday starts at 9 a.m. For more information, call (901) 552-3144 or visit sunrise901.com.
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