The trendy-casual Sunrise Social is serving made-from-scratch brunches with exciting twists on the classics

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Monthly features include this French toast with lemon poppyseed cream and a strawberry reduction. (Photography: Felicia Vargo)

By Mitch Allen

I don’t know who first brought together the words “breakfast” and “lunch” to create the concept of “brunch,” but whoever did must have been thinking about a place like Sunrise Social.

Brunch is not about the time of day you enjoy it (early morning to early afternoon). It’s about quality. So forget short order-style breakfast chains or Sterno-lit Sunday morning buffets at hotels. Sunrise Social is leading-edge. Its tall windows and yellow accents envelope the front-of-house in sunrise. And co-owners Lisa Houck and Jeannie Hopkins, both from the Portage Lakes area, are passionate about quality.

Local restaurateurs and Sunrise Social co-owners Jeannie Hopkins (left) and Lisa Houck are passionate about quality, local ingredients. The pair is still putting in 14 hours a day, seven days a week, but the effort has paid off. Finishing its first year, Sunrise Social has become a regional brunch destination.

“We’re foodies,” says Lisa, who is also a co-owner of the popular Lala’s in the Lakes. “It’s about high-quality food made from high-quality ingredients.”

Sunrise Social, which celebrates its first anniversary next month, boasts a fresh, nothing-frozen, scratch kitchen where they slow-roast their own corned beef and make all sauces in-house, including a classic French hollandaise using fresh egg yolks, real butter, white wine, and lime juice. The no-preservatives bread comes from a legendary bakery in nearby western Pennsylvania (excluding the fresh-daily cinnamon rolls and biscuits), and the kitchen uses locally sourced ingredients whenever possible—except for one.

“We always use real Vermont maple syrup,” Lisa says.

The Menu
Best-in-show brunch favorites include Shrimp & Grits, Chicken & Waffles, and eggs benedict, which Jeannie and Lisa dub “Eggs Benny.” The toasted split English muffin and poached, cage-free eggs topped with hollandaise arrive with traditional Canadian bacon, or choose the house-roasted corned beef. The Eggs Royale Benny is smoked salmon, tomato and arugula, while adorning the Avocado Benny is a jalapeno beurre blanc.

Chicken & Waffles feature corn flakes-crusted fried chicken with house-made gravy and maple sriracha syrup.

The Chicken & Waffles feature corn flakes-crusted fried chicken with house-made gravy and maple sriracha syrup.

The Shrimp & Grits are traditional and authentically Southern. “We use stone-ground grits and enough Cajun spice to give them character without going too far,” Lisa says. “You won’t find better shrimp and grits anywhere in the North.”

The Avocado Benny is topped with a jalapeno beurre blanc and served with fresh-cut home fries.

The Basics +
There are basic breakfasts, too, like sausage and biscuits. But hold the phone: “We take Lisa’s homemade biscuits, split them open, butter them, then place them on the flattop,” Jeannie says. “That helps keep them crispy under the gravy. The sausage comes from Cleveland Holiday Sausage Company.”

Other favorites include Steak and Eggs, Corned Beef Hash, Stuffed Poblano, and, of course, French toast and pancakes.

“Our pancakes are a corn meal base in addition to traditional flour,” Lisa says. “It gives them a unique texture.”

Gluten-free pancakes and bread are available, and vegan options include the Coconut Milk Chia Pudding Bowl, a recipe Lisa brought back from Costa Rica.

Several entrées come with home fries, but these heavenly morsels are fresh potatoes cooked in real butter. And Lisa and Jeannie serve only fresh-squeezed Natalie’s Orange Juice out of Orchid Island, Florida.

The house-roasted Ultimate Corned Beef Sandwich.

Sandwiches, too.
If your idea of brunch is more lunch-y than breakfast-y, Sunrise Social has you covered, too. The handhelds include a burger, Reuben, lox and bagel, and a patty melt made with a Wagyu burger. The Ultimate Corned Beef is the house-made corned beef piled on sourdough then topped with Swiss cheese, pepper jam, cream cheese, and kimchi.

And to Drink?
Sunrise Social features a full bar, so you can enjoy a vacation-style brunch. How about a flight of mimosas or bloody Marys? A spicy pineapple margarita, tequila sunrise (featuring fresh cherry juice), or a creamy espresso martini? Even the soft drinks feature cane sugar instead of corn syrup,

And forget greasy spoon-style coffee. Sunrise Social offers specialty coffees—lattes, espressos, cappuccinos, macchiatos, and more—from beans by Akron Coffee Roasters. “Buy a Sunrise Social coffee cup and get a free refill,” Jeannie invites.

Finally, I’ll leave you with just three words: Sriracha Bacon Candy.

Sunrise Social is located at 3875 Massillon Rd., in Green. The phone is 234-492-0202. It’s open 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., seven days a week. Find more at