Rise and shine. Sunrise Grill opens at 6:30am for the early-morning crowd hungry for a full breakfast to start the day. Located just inside Sapulpa territory but maintaining a Tulsa address, Sunrise Grill is a no-frills, home-cookin' kind of place. It's a place you seek when you're really hungry to eat a solid meal that sticks to the ribs. It's not a place you seek for the atmosphere or full-table service. It is just a good, down-home place to eat in an ultimately casual setting.
So casual, in fact, that your meal is presented in Styrofoam "to go" containers even when eating in. The atmosphere is simple, what you would expect for a place along a busy highway. A few Route 66 signs and maps are on the walls to add an historic feel to the place.
"Hearty home cooking on the go" is Paul Corrao's philosophy of his little restaurant in west Tulsa. No stranger to the restaurant business, Corrao was initiated in this profession (as many are) as a teenager washing dishes. His journey began at Shoney's and continued in various positions at International House of Pancakes, Denny's, Sammy's Deli, and Ma Bell's.
He designed Sunrise Grill to be a little of all of these experiences. He says he got the idea to serve all meals, dine-in and carry-out, in Styrofoam containers when he was at Sammy's Deli. Sunrise is in its fifth year of operation, so Corrao's strategy has worked so far.
Corrao, as owner and chef, serves full breakfasts of omelets, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, burritos and more.
"We prepare good ol' American food," he said. "We prepare eggs in almost every way we can."
But breakfast is not the only meal served. Sunrise Grill stays open almost through sunset, offering barbeque, burgers and sandwiches.
A friend and I breakfasted here recently. The easiest way to arrive at Sunset Grill, says Corrao, is to take I-44 west and exit old Route 66, also called New Sapulpa Road, which is a left exit off I-44 not too far from the turnpike entrance. It is located a few miles off the exit. We arrived mid-morning to find the early diners gone and preparations in progress during this transitional time before lunch.
We ordered breakfast at the counter, interrupted and delayed briefly by an answered phone call.
After that conversation, I continued with my order: two eggs, bacon, hash browns, biscuits and gravy, and coffee, and the Route 66 Omelet ($6.45) for my friend.
My coffee came in a large Styrofoam cup; cream was of the powdered form, and I poured it into my cup from a large container that was brought to our table. Napkins were ripped off a paper towel roll. It was not long before our meals were ready.
My eggs, bacon and hash browns were in one container; the biscuit and gravy in another. My friend's large omelet of eggs, bacon, hot links, sausage, green peppers, onions, black olives and Jack and cheddar cheeses was spread out on the base of his container, with lots of the melted cheese visible on top.
All was good--a good hearty breakfast on this Saturday morning. My friend especially enjoyed the cheesy omelet with all different ingredients in it. Each bite was an experience of tastes and textures.
In addition to breakfasts, Sunrise Grill offers a good selection of salads, burgers and sandwiches. Burgers come in many varieties: Chili Cheeseburger, Olive Burger, Jalapeno and Pepper Cheese Burger, Patty Melt, Mushroom/Swiss Burger, Smoked Ham and Cheese Burger and the Burger Stuffer--a two-thirds pound burger with onions, mushrooms, peppers and cheese. But the Mountain Burger is for the really hungry hombre. For $6.29, the customer gets a two-thirds pound burger with grilled onions, cheddar cheese, and served with Sunrise Grill's "Smokin' Pigs" barbecue sauce.
Sandwiches include PB&J ($1.79), BLT ($4.29), Tuna and Chicken Salad, Smoked Ham or Turkey, Classic Club, Philly Cheese Steak (which comes highly recommended), Grilled Chicken Breast, Crispy Chicken Breast and German Toaster.
For the BBQ selections, Corrao does all the smoking and prepares his own BBQ sauce--hot, sweet and original, he says. "It's like Head Country, but much better."
Ribs and brisket are the big sellers among the BBQ selections, which also include hot links, smoked bologna, Oklahoma-style pulled pork, sliced brisket, smoked sausage and chicken strips. Fried shrimp and Hamburger Steak Heaven (a generous portion of chopped sirloin smothered in Cheddar and BBQ sauce) are also available.
Corrao says he keeps very busy on this side of town, getting many return customers, and even more people who call in their dinner order and pick it up in the drive-through window on their way home.
Route 66 Sunrise Grill
7915 New Sapulpa Road
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