Review: Sunrise Pizza

Another pizza place? Really?

Well, yes it is, but hang with me.

This one’s got a nifty trick. Sunrise Pizza & Café opened in eastern Madison in July. Lea, the boys, and I stopped in for dinner. Clean and cheery inside, Sunrise is locally owned and classic “fast casual.”

The somewhat offbeat menu includes pizza, spaghetti, bagel sandwiches, and biscuits. Fruit cups and frozen yogurt are available for dessert. You can order anything on the menu at any time of day. Pizza for breakfast? Sausage biscuit for dinner? Go for it.

Bagels and biscuits are $2-3, and pizzas start at $5. Add a side item and a fountain drink for an additional $2.50. No alcoholic beverages are offered. Pizza is the signature dish — it’s right in the name — so that’s the way we went. We each ordered a small, which is about eight inches in diameter. (The crust is pressed by hand, so there is a little variability from pizza to pizza. This is also not good if “not quite round” flares your OCD. Heh.) Gluten-free crust is available upon request.

Pizzas are made to order and customized to your liking.

Pizzas are made to order and customized to your liking.

A small cheese pizza is $5; a large, $6. Add a dollar to each price to start with a cheese pizza plus one meat topping.

Now here is where it gets cool. You specify your toppings and watch them build your pizza, just exactly the way you do a sandwich at Subway. With each person ordering his/her very own, topping strife is vanquished forever. Each meat topping adds $1.50 to the price, but all vegetables are free! (How’s that for vegetarian-friendly?) And the gang’s all here. Meats include pepperoni, sausage, bacon, ground beef, and chicken. Vegetables include bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, sliced tomatoes, black olives, and spinach (excellent!). You can spec out one seriously impressive-looking pie for not a lot of money. After it’s built, it goes through the oven for five minutes, and then you get it.

It all tasted fresh. The vegetables popped nicely, as if they were sliced and chopped that day. The crust had an appealing crunchy-outside-soft-inside quality (which was also true of Lea’s breadsticks). The pizza sauce is mild—certainly not all the way to bland, but not at all spicy. If seasoning overload is a common complaint of yours, you’ll probably find a Sunrise pizza ideal. Pesto sauce is also available, but we didn’t try it.

We topped our meal off with strawberry frozen yogurt, which was smooth and not excessively sweet.

There is ample seating inside, but the booths are a little small. Now, to be fair, lots of booths are a bit, ahem, “snug” for me, but we also found that a family of four ran out of real estate on the booth’s tabletop without careful planning. We moved to a regular table for our frozen yogurt and were much more comfortable.

Inside sunrise2 In my view, Sunrise Pizza & Café is particularly well-suited for a family dinner with children from, say, 5 to 12 years old. There are no highchairs or booster seats available, so much younger than that isn’t really an option. Also, while the restrooms are clean and well-stocked, they are single-seaters with no changing tables.

So, why 5 to 12? Well, the pizzas are sized to make a good meal for such a child, with perhaps a slice or two to share. They taste good, but they are not spicy, so young and tender palates won’t be offended. And it’s fun! It’s really neat to order a pizza this way. Plus, with each child having one of his/her own, it’s a tailored experience for everyone. Sunrise Pizza & Café is reasonably priced, with a quality product and an interesting distinctive feature in its pizza ordering process. It’s a fine destination for a family dinner, and a worthy addition to the Tennessee Valley’s offerings.

Sunrise Pizza & Café is inside Richland Plaza, at the corner of U.S. 72 and Slaughter Road in Madison. Hours are 9 am to 10 pm Monday through Saturday, and 10 am to 9 pm Sunday.

Details

Sunrise Pizza & Café
Address: 7185 Highway 72 West, Suite H, Madison, AL 35758
Phone: (256) 517-8398
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