On the northwest corner of East Idaho and North Main in Meridian sits a single-story brick building. In spite of big bold letters on the front awning that read "805 East First," the address for the Sunrise Cafe is actually 805 N. Main St.
It's just a sign that things appear to change slowly at the Sunrise Cafe. That's as true on the inside as it is out. Inside, the restaurant probably looks much the same as it did 20 years ago, down to the hanging plants ensconced in macrame.
To go with the macrame, they also have dark wood paneling covering nearly every wall surface. The tables are not fancy, and that lack of pretense is echoed overhead, where the ceiling light fixtures have bare fluorescent bulbs.
On the Saturday morning when I visited, there was a steady stream of people arriving for breakfast. The Sunrise is open for lunch and dinner too, but their focus seems to be on breakfast. Out of a seven-page menu, four pages are devoted to breakfast items, while there are two pages for lunch and only one page of choices for dinner. The breakfast menu includes all the usuals: pancakes, waffles, biscuits and gravy, egg scrambles (and plenty of other egg options), as well as an assortment of cereals.
I met John, a friend from Meridian, for breakfast. We seated ourselves and were given a friendly greeting by our waitress. Upon request, she brought a cup of coffee for John and a generously sized pot of Darjeeling tea for me ($1.29 each).
We scanned our menus and sorted through the four pages of breakfast options. The Sunrise's breakfast selection seems to have something to appeal to every palate ... with a special emphasis on hash browns. Their menu offers hash browns with three toppings for a small additional charge: shredded cheese and bacon, green onions and bell peppers, or country gravy.
John ordered a California scramble ($7.29) though, I must admit, the scrambles look just like omelets to me. The California includes bacon and Monterey jack cheese and is topped with a generous dollop of guacamole. It also comes with hash browns—John didn't opt for any of the extra toppings—and either pancakes or toast. For 50 cents extra, he upgraded his pancake order to their special banana nut variety.
I ordered French toast ($3.58) with a side of sausage patties and scrambled eggs ($2.99). My French toast was nearly ideal: crisp on the outside, hot and moist on the inside. The sausage patties were obviously handmade. These were not perfectly round or uniformly thick like patties typically served elsewhere and, unlike patties sometimes served in other restaurants, they were well-seasoned and delicious.
The owner of the Sunrise Cafe, Robert Gobsil, opened his first restaurant in 1988. He now has six Sunrise Cafe locations in the Treasure Valley. His stated goal is "to provide great family dining with fast, friendly service in a clean, comfortable atmosphere." That's what we found on our visit as we both left pleasantly full and without complaint.
As a reminder that things don't change much at the Sunrise, the breakfast receipt still showed the restaurant's old East First Street address. So, even if I don't make it out to Sunrise again for awhile, I can rest assured that things won't be much different then.
—Curt Nichols could gobble up gobs and gobs of handmade sausage.