Hibbing stalwart Sunrise Market, purveyor of porketta, potica, and pasties has opened a combo cafe / retail shop on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. That’s good news for fans of their products — and anyone in need of a hearty, soul-warming meal.
The menu at the cafe is small, but there’s nothing wrong with that when the items available are done well, and Sunrise has that down pat. The signature porketta sandwich ($9, below) is tender and juicy, with fennel and garlic overtones that aren’t overwhelming. It’s served on a softer-than-usual baguette, making the whole sandwich melty.
In contrast, the chicken pot pie sandwich ($8) comes on puff pastry that’s almost impossibly delicate and flaky yet holds up to the pot pie mixture of chicken and vegetables in an aromatic, rosemary-infused gravy. The puff pastry gives the sandwich a lighter feel than a regular pot pie has, and the filling is kept to a reasonable portion, so you don’t feel like you’re eating an entire pie at one sitting. But be aware: This is a knife-and-fork sandwich. Don’t even think about trying to pick it up with your hands.
As good as the sandwiches are, the star of our visit was the porketta pizza ($4.50 per slice, $14 for a whole pie), upgraded to add giardiniera (50 cents per slice, $1.50 for the pie). It’s not surprising that seasoned pork would work well on a pizza, but the overall quality of the pizza was unexpectedly high. The crust was crisp on the edges and nicely charred, the cheese was of better-than-average quality, and the giardiniera was an inspired addition. Pickled celery isn’t the first ingredient that comes to mind when you think of pizza, but here, it’s a great tangy counterpart to the tender pork and the sweetness of the cheese.
In the back of the cafe is a retail market where you can stock up on several Sunrise Market items, including the aforementioned porketta, potica, and pasties. The cafe and the market share counter service, staffed by friendly, enthusiastic porketta-lovers. The transplant from Hibbing is off to a hearty start.
Sunrise Market & Cafe,
Iron Range specialties in St. Paul
1085 Grand Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105,
OWNERS: The Forti family
Mon-Sat 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sun 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / No