Sunrise Cafe – Chesterfield, MO (suburban St Louis)

I love breakfast. It IS the most important meal of the day, right?

I remember as a little kids getting to go out to eat on trips to have breakfast and what an amazing difference it was having breakfast in a restaurant instead of at home.  Cracker Barrel, Waffle House, Denny’s and IHOP were the choices I remember growing up, as well as the occasional McDonald’s Egg McMuffin, but now there are so many other great places to nosh at breakfast time, so I look for them.

Last week I was in St. Louis for a conference and found a little place just south of town and  it was wonderful.  They even are so proud of the fact they are an “independent restauranteur” that they print that fact right on the front of their menu!
Sunrise Cafe

They so focus on the food, they do not even have a website… but there are lots of places that list reviews or suggestions for it and most are great.  Here is YELP‘s take.
I did manage to find that they do have a Facebook page.

My omelet was called the Spanish Dawn. It was big, fluffy and felt like there was 6 eggs in it… though I am assured it was just 3.  The best part was the spicy chorizo sausage. Gave the omelet the kick it needed! The sour cream and guacamole helped cool that spice down and worked so well with the eggs.  Plus the salsa and guac were made fresh and tasted great.
Southwest Omelet

My friend got a southwest omelet which looked equally as savory with its pepper jack cheese on top!
Omelet

Service was great and the coffee was fantastic. Most local breakfast places like this do not ever seem to have good coffee. Theirs was very robust.  They have good food, great service and hearty coffee which helps keep themselves going – even though 3 doors down is a “St. Louis Bread Company” chain store (like a Panera).

One advantage they have over folks like Panera, is that they serve a full breakfast menu, not just bagels and eggs.  Everything from oatmeal to omelets, from pancakes/waffles to biscuits/gravy, from corned beef hash to steak & eggs.  All you would want. (Even Cream of Wheat!)  Another advantage they have over the competition is that they do not just serve breakfast, though with the name SUNRISE CAFE that may not be as obvious. They have a great selection of lunch & dinner options (sandwiches, soups, salads, burgers, fish, BBQ, ribs, steaks, etc) and even do appetizers and sinful deserts!

Another great example of why we need to “break the chains”… eat LOCAL.  It is just better.

🙂

Blue Marlin – Columbia, SC

Wow. No surprise that once again, we had an amazing meal.  Like the history of this great restaurant (being located in Columbia’s old downtown train station) the food here has a long storied tradition of being fantastic.  Steaks, Seafood, Pasta and more, are all highly recommended at this classy restaurant in The Vista district.

Thankfully we were able to get a table on short notice with 6 people (thanks Open Table!). It is a bit loud in there at times when it is crowded, so it is not really ideal for an intimate quiet dinner, and even a business meeting could be tough on a crowded night, but the food is so good you will not be talking anyway!

For an appetizer we tried their Fried Green Tomatoes. They were perfect. Tart, but sweet, with a spicy sauce. (and it counts as a green vegetable!)
Fried Green Tomatoes

For dinner I usually get shrimp and grits (their speciality) or the salmon steak, but this time got Tilapia Charleston, which is pan seared and covered in a shrimp and crabmeat cream sauce, laid over a bed of amazing creamy Adluh grits with green beans. (my mouth is watering as I type… it was that tasty!)
Tilapia Charleston

My wife got Flounder which was also excellent, though was far too much food for her to eat, so she brought about half of it home.
Flounder Dinner

If you are interested in trying their world famous, award winning Shrimp & Grits, but do not want to commit to a meal, there is a small single size portion on the appetizer menu. That is a perfect way to experience it without too much risk. (but rest assured you will love it!)
Shrimp and Grits

I am always so happy to get to eat there and so far, it has never failed to be fantastic!

www.BlueMarlinColumbia.com

*Tip for first timers… if you want to try it without breaking the bank, LUNCH or even Sunday Brunch has the same exact food, at a much less expensive price. Try that then once you know you love it, come back for a night out!

Metro Burger – Greenville, SC

Couple of weeks ago, Tina and I were in Greenville, SC and before we headed to a movie, we wanted to find a bite to eat.  We had resigned to the fact we would be eating typical chain, fast-food, but thankfully we stumbled upon a local place that sounded interesting instead.

Metro Burger is a locally owned gourmet burger shop at 1102 Woodruff Rd, in the old Jack In The Box location, right across from the movie theater.  On the Metro Burger website, they list it as a chain (and have info about franchise options) but this is currently the only location.  I would LOVE to get one of these in Columbia!  It is so much better than a Five Guys or any other burger joint I have been into a while.

They have lots of great signature burgers on the menu, but also have a build-it-yourself option too, so you can create almost any possible combination.   Tina built a wonderful turkey burger with lots of great toppings (regretfully I did not get a picture of it…).  I had one of their signature items called a Carolina Slawster Burger!  Angus beef burger, blue cheese slaw, tomato and one onion ring!  It was delicious! And I was pleasantly surprised to see they serve Duke’s mayo with it! (my favorite!)

The Carolina Slawster Burger!

If you are looking to save money, and get a cheap, super-quick burger that is ready the moment you order it, head to MickeyD’s or something… but if you have a few minutes to wait, and can spend a little more, this is the place to get a burger in Greenville.

www.MetroBurger.com

***(And I will promise to frequent the location if someone in Columbia wants to open one up!  Just let me know!  🙂