Local in the Lowcountry: Sunflower Cafe

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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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7 Responses to Local in the Lowcountry: Sunflower Cafe

  1. This sounds delicious! I love breakfast food!

  2. Sally says:

    Hi Amy,
    I read your Coffin Island 2014 recap and saw that your husband was run off the road by a car. Is that a common occurrence? Our 9 year old daughter wants to run that race, and although she’s careful to pace near adults, it makes me very nervous that the course isn’t closed.
    Should we avoid it? Thanks for any thoughts you might have!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Hi Sally!

      I know your daughter Jane (I know her through Ashley and Ava), and she shouldn’t have any issues as she is a very speedy 9-year-old and has done other road races. Last year’s course was not closed and while most motorists were considerate, you always run that risk of a crazy driver on an open course. To be on the safe side, she probably shouldn’t wear an ipod.

      I am not running the Coffin Island 5K this year, as my friends who organized it last year aren’t organizing it this year. I’m not sure who is organizing this year or any sponsors. The course has also changed- the first half is road and the second half is beach, so it is NOT a certified 5K course.

      The race is on Charleston Deals Today for $16. April’s a dry month for road racing in Charleston so if she wants to do it, go for it.

  3. Pam says:

    I’ve made a note of this restaurant for our next trip to Charleston. The food looks so good and big portions are always a plus after a run or race.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      We have loads of awesome food here, and I can make recommendations for most any cuisine (or area of Charleston). There are so many restaurants with new ones opening, that it’s really hard to keep up with all the cool places to go.

  4. Jennifer says:

    I’ll have to look at your Yelp reviews (and email you of course) next time I visit Charleston (hopefully not too long) 🙂 Looks good!

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