I’m a goal setter.
Obviously some parts of life (like school and work) require you to set goals, and of course I set running goals each year and before I start training for an important race. When eyeing my Yelp account a few months ago, I noticed my habit of eating at the same restaurants. It’s fun to have standby diners and places to take guests (or recommend to out-of-towners), but a new restaurant opens almost every week in Charleston.
There’s no way to ever keep up, but I decided on a goal to try a new-to-me place every week and to write more reviews- and of course, share those reviews with you.
I’ve been to Sunflower Café a few times, especially shortly after Clay and I moved to Charleston in 2012. The restaurant is close to our old apartment complex, so I ate a few lunches there and we took his family there for a pre-cruise breakfast when they visited. We moved to our current home in 2013, and since I didn’t drive by Sunflower Café each day, it slipped off my radar.
A few weeks ago, I rediscovered Sunflower Café when my friend and Columbia-area running blogger Maria (Lil Mys Ninja) visited for the Cooper River Bridge Run. During the month of March, Maria completed the Run Hard Columbia Marathon (her first!), the Palmetto 200 Relays, the Columbia St. Patrick’s Day 5K, and the Cooper River Bridge Run.
Between running all those races, along with volunteering with Pawmetto Lifeline, Maria likes good food just as much as the next distance runner, so I was excited to hang out and have brunch.
Our original plan was for Early Bird Diner, but the line was out the door and the wait was about an hour (Early Bird Diner was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and is extremely popular with both locals and visitors). Maria texted me for another suggestion and I remembered Sunflower from my days of living on that side of Ashley River Road. I met her and her friend PJ there, and we waited about 10-15 minutes for a table on a Sunday afternoon.
Sunflower Café is definitely a hidden gem of the West Ashley area, with a big local following but a great place for anyone traveling through to visit. Most travellers opt for one of the “more hype, less parking” restaurants downtown but would be smart to consider Sunflower- and don’t think many other restaurant patrons were visiting for the Bridge Run.
After chatting and looking at the menu, Maria had a short stack of pancakes and the Sunflower Breakfast Club Special (Two eggs served with choice of grits or potatoes, bacon or sausage & biscuit). PJ had the spicy sausage, peppers, and onions benedict.
I decided on the spinach, sun-dried tomato, and feta omelet with potatoes and a biscuit. My omelet was cooked perfectly, as were the potatoes, which had peppers and onions with them- but you can request plain home fries. The biscuit was hot and delicious as most Charleston biscuits (and biscuits in the South as a whole) are, with butter melting when I plopped it on top. I liked the sun-dried tomatoes on the omelet because they didn’t make it overly watery or wet like regular tomatoes would, and the feta was just the right amount.
All of the breakfast entrees are under $10, and so are most of the lunch items. Portions are huge, and you should prepare for leftovers. The pancakes take up the whole plate- so come hungry or prepare to split a few dishes between everyone. Sunflower posts some mouthwatering daily specials on Facebook, but I’ve always ordered off the regular menu (I also recommend the Sweet Potato Pancakes and the Greek Salad).
Sunflower Café’s decor reminds you of eating at grandma’s house. The décor (sunflowers and the south) and food aren’t fancy, but it’s delicious and service is great. Our server kept our drinks full and made sure we were taken care of. Our food came out quickly, but nothing was rushed- I had plenty of time to catch up with Maria and PJ. We were there after the restaurant closed at 2 PM but were not rushed out.
The only drawback is that on Sunday, Sunflower Café is breakfast menu only, even though they are open until 2 PM every day. On other days, they service breakfast until closing but add lunch foods. If you visit on a weekend afternoon, the menu is all breakfast- but this was fine for us.
All three of us had a great time, and I was glad to catch up with Maria and PJ and introduce them to a new restaurant. Now that I’ve remembered Sunflower, I’ll be back for more weekend breakfasts and lunches.
Other Local In the Lowcountry reviews: