Red or Green?
Rising Above the Ordinary
Sunrise Kitchen of Deming offers quality comfort food.
by Peggy Platonos
Sunrise Kitchen is a cozy, unpretentious little restaurant located on Columbus Road in Deming, not far from Peppers Supermarket. It's open for breakfast and lunch on weekdays, with dinner added recently as a bonus on Fridays.
It's a friendly, relaxed sort of place, with a large following of regular customers. And that's the way owner Rebecca Rosales likes it.
"Mi casa es su casa," she says, translating: "My house is your house. I like people to feel at home. I want them to come, sit down, and enjoy good food in a nice atmosphere."
It's a family restaurant in every way. Two of her sisters participate in the business: Rosario provides some of the friendly service at Sunrise Kitchen, while Silveria produces a tasty assortment of muffins every day, as well as all the homemade desserts — carrot cake, chocolate cake, tres leches strawberry shortcake, crepes, flan.
Even the tortillas served in the restaurant have a family connection. They come from the Si Señor Tortilleria in Las Cruces, and the Si Señor business began with the original Si Señor restaurant that Rebecca's sister Irene established in Deming in 1978 with her husband, Martin Castillo. That restaurant has since been sold, but the Si Señor branches that were opened later in Las Cruces and Chandler, Ariz., still belong to Irene and her husband, as does the tortilleria.
It was Irene, incidentally, who introduced Rebecca to the restaurant business. That was in 1968, when Irene was working at the Cactus Café in Deming. Rebecca was 13 and started at the bottom, spending a year washing dishes before serving as a waitress there for five years.
"Irene really liked to cook," Rebecca says. "And she was the one who taught me how to cook. I do pretty much all the cooking at my restaurant, though I've trained the girls to do some of it. But I'm on top of it, because I'm pretty picky. When Irene taught me how to cook, she said you always have to taste everything, and that's what I do."
The food at Sunrise Kitchen can be described as good-quality comfort food. There's nothing on the menu that is really exotic. But all the familiar dishes, both American and Mexican, are done well, and it's that care in preparation that lifts the food above the ordinary. This is not a freezer-to-fryer type of restaurant.
"I serve Mexican and American food, all homemade," says Rebecca, who is known as Becky to friends, family and most of her customers. "We make our own burritos, chile rellenos (grilled, not fried), soups, gravies, salsa, barbeque sauce, roast beef, and yes, mashed potatoes from scratch."
The restaurant's popular Chile Colorado Breakfast Plate is also entirely homemade. It consists of sundried red chile with meat, eggs, hash brown potatoes and flour tortilla, and sells for $5.95. Like many of the Mexican dishes available on a daily basis at Sunrise Kitchen, however, the Chile Colorado Breakfast Plate does not appear on the printed menu. You may find it listed on the chalkboard as a breakfast special, but if not, you can always ask for it.
Likewise, the Mexican combo plates, which are listed only on the Friday dinner menu, can always be had for the asking. The cost is $7.95 for both the Chile Relleno Plate and the Small Combo consisting of one enchilada, flauta, taco, rice and beans. For $8.95, you can choose a Chile con Carne Plate or a Large Combo that includes cheese enchilada, flauta, small taco salad, chile con carne, rice and beans.
Though Rebecca is of Mexican descent and emigrated with her family from Mexico to Deming in 1963 when she was eight years old, she didn't set out to create a Mexican restaurant when she opened Sunrise Kitchen five years ago. Virtually nothing on the lunch menu reflects her Mexican heritage beyond a bean burrito with cheese, listed under "Petit Bites" for $4.25, with French fries.
The breakfast menu does have a few items that have at least a Southwestern flavor to them, including Huevos a la Mex (eggs scrambled with onions, jalapeños and tomato), a Chorizo Omelet, and a Chili Omelet made with New Mexico long green chile and cheese — all for $5.95. But apart from that, the breakfast menu offers fairly standard items, including Biscuits & Sausage Gravy, Belgian Waffles, Pancakes, French Toast and an assortment of three-egg omelets.
The lunch menu includes a variety of sandwiches, ranging from a Chicken Croissant with chicken salad ($6.75), a Grilled Chicken Sandwich with avocado ($6.95) and an Italian Club on pita ($7.25) to a simple all-American grilled cheese sandwich ($3.95). All the sandwiches are served with a choice of soup, salad, French fries, onion rings or potato salad.
"I didn't want to be a Mexican restaurant, but we always have Mexican dishes available, and we put something Mexican on as a special at every meal," Rebecca says. "Our regular customers know they can ask for a Mexican dish and get it, even if it isn't listed on the menu."
The Friday dinner menu does include the Mexican combination plates mentioned earlier, as well as such dinner options as Chicken Fried Steak, Grilled Chicken Breast, Fried Fish Platter, Ground Round Steak with Grilled Onion, and Spaghetti with Meatballs — all for $8.95. There's also a 10-ounce ribeye steak available for $12.95. Except for the Mexican plates and the pasta, these entrées are all served with soup or salad, and a choice of baked potato, sweet-potato casserole, French fries or mashed potatoes.
Both the lunch menu and the Friday dinner menu offer interesting salad meals: Chef Salad, Cobb Salad, Grilled Chicken Salad and Greek Salad at lunch (all for $6.95) and large or small Chef Salad, Gourmet Chicken Salad and Dinner Salad offered for Friday dinner, with prices ranging from $2.95 to $7.95.
Sunrise Kitchen is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday. It is closed on Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, call (575) 544-7795.
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