“A Homegrown Experience”
There’s a handful of fun and contemporary dining spots popping up in and around our town, and people are stepping out to enjoy them. Yes, they’re new and exciting. Yes, they spark joy in our foodie hearts. However we are creatures of habit who seek the comfort of nourishing dishes that feed our hungry souls. It’s easy enough to be dazzled by creatively designed plates stacked tall with exotic garnishes and intriguing sauces, but nothing can inspire a wiggle in the seat like a friendly diner babe dropping an expertly stacked BLT in front of you while her other hand fills your coffee mug with a steaming stream of joe. Complicated recipes with equally challenged price tags do nothing for the appetite. Some days you want to open your oversized menu and locate a dish tried and true for it’s deliciousness; a dish that takes you back to simpler times, or your mama’s cooking.
This Holiday season inspired us to head out and find that home-away-from-home situation. We had to look no further than one of Cocoa Beach’s longest standing diners for that “push away from the table and unbuckle the button” feel-good food. Sunrise Diner is just the place to feed your need for a home-cooked meal prepared with consideration and a sprinkle of tradition. Owner, Dimitri Zourdos and his family have been preparing meals for our beachside community for 23 years and counting! You can still find Mum and Dad, Sam and Maria Zourdos, in the kitchen preparing the meals for their guests. We went in search of Dimitri, son of Sam and Maria, to ask him what he loved most about serving the people of Cocoa Beach and all its visitors, and he said,
“It’s the people I love the most. Interacting with all the people and creating friendships from them…
There is much to be said in supporting those establishments that have stood the test of time and economic change. Small ‘Mom and Pop’ joints face a tremendous struggle when competing with the larger, franchised operations. We, as a community, must continue to support them as they have supported us over the years. Dimitri and his family have fed guests who solely rely on their home-cooked meals for food and fellowship. Dimitri says,
“We take care of our guests. They’re like family to us. We take care of all our Veterans, too. We have one Veteran that’s going to turn 100 years old, George McClane, on December 21st. We take care of him and feed him every day. We’re going to throw a big bash for him!” (Everyone is invited!)
The Zourdos family is not lost on the changing trends. Sunrise Diner offers organic ketchup, vegetarian and gluten-free menu items and they’ve even replaced their single use plastics like straws and take-away boxes with bio-degradable products. Sunrise Diner meets the expectations for a universally loved diner. The personalities inside warms the cockles of the heart. Sunrise offers American, Greek, and Italian cuisine – fresh seafood is prepared daily. Not only do they offer a huge variety of menu items, it’s all home cooked with lots of comfort foods including everyone’s favorite – meatloaf!
We couldn’t get away without asking Dimitri a short Q & A:
What do you believe makes people want to come to your family’s restaurant?
“Because they know they’re going to get a home cooked meal, attentive service, and free entertainment.”
What dish did your mom make for you as a kid that’s on the menu today?
“She would make souvlaki, moussaka, spanakopita and she would always make me fresh fish all the time.”
Give us some solid advice passed down by Mum and Dad.
Mom: “Make your food as if it was for yourself. If you won’t eat it, then don’t serve it!”
Dad : ”When you’re in the restaurant business don’t get involved in politics, religion or relationship advice.”
“We are open 365 days a year. Even our address is 365. We’re open EVERY day! When the holidays come, we are here. Join us for Christmas dinner. We would love to have you sit at our family’s table.”
Restaurant of the Month