David Allen grew up watching his grandmother make biscuits to feed her family of 17 on their farm in eastern North Carolina. Now he uses that same recipe and technique at his award-winning Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen restaurants that he first opened with friends almost 40 years ago. The restaurant now has locations in Louisburg, and Chapel Hill, which recently topped the list as the best breakfast spot in North Carolina.
As a really young child, I watched my grandmother make biscuits and I would stand there by her apron and get flour all over me. She taught me the basics of how to make a good biscuit.
When Allen’s friend John Carmady asked him to help start a biscuit restaurant, Allen agreed to stick around through December that year to help get it up and running. Thirty-eight years later, Allen is still in the biscuit business. And their restaurant, Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen, makes fluffy, buttery biscuits that are a Chapel Hill staple.
Allen and Carmady established the Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen in 1978 in Louisburg, NC. They later established their Chapel Hill location, which was North Carolina’s first drive-thru only restaurant. Their biscuits, which are available in a variety of sandwich combinations, are known for their large size. Some say they are as big as your face.
Allen said his grandmother was the inspiration for how Sunrise makes their biscuits. “As a really young child, I watched my grandmother make biscuits and I would stand there by her apron and get flour all over me. She taught me the basics of how to make a good biscuit,” Allen said.
Featured on the Travel Channel and more, Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen has garnered national attention. Allen says for the local customers, Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen has become a part of their morning routine.
“People are loyal, they are creatures of habit,” Allen said. “If they have a spot that they know they are going to get a hot coffee, fresh biscuit, good food, quick service, they are going to be loyal to that place.”
Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen is located on East Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, and is open Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.