West Ashley’s Sunflower Cafe to close at end of September

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A West Ashley restaurant plans to close for good after 17 years in business.

The Sunflower Cafe, located at 2366 Ashley River Road, will serve its last meal on Sept. 30. Owner Jennifer Adams said a lot of things led to the decision, among them ongoing staffing challenges, food shortages and rising food costs.

“The price of everything has literally doubled,” she said. “When you’re a breakfast and lunch place, how high can you go?”

She said the COVID-19 pandemic really changed everything, but especially so for small businesses.

“I don’t really see an end in sight,” she said.

The family-owned restaurant, located at 2366 Ashley River Road, opened its doors in August 2005. Operated by four generations of women, the cafe has come to be known by its regulars at least as much for its personal touch as the authentic family recipes.

Those recipes have included breakfast favorites like omelets, benedicts, waffles and pancakes. Lunchtime staples have included “the Best Sandwich in Charleston,” with grilled filet mignon topped with swiss cheese and onion aioli on grilled ciabatta bread and au jus for dipping; a pan-seared Salmon filet served over fresh spinach salad with strawberries, feta and toasted pecans tossed with balsamic vinaigrette; a shrimp platter, or a grilled chicken sandwich topped with caramelized onions and swiss cheese on a toasted croissant with basil dijionnaise.

For some regulars, no visit was complete without a dessert of powdered sugar-dusted beignets.

“We treat them like family,” Adams said of her customers. “I never felt like it was a restaurant. I thought of it as another version of my home where I feed them. We genuinely love our customers.”

Their loyal, longtime customers feel the same way.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many restaurants were forced to offer take-out-only service, Adams said they were overwhelmed by the community’s reaction.

“I do love all of them and I appreciate the support we had during the pandemic,” she said, adding that people even offered donations to the restaurant to help keep them going. “It was really amazing to know we touched people and they touched us.”

The restaurant is open Wednesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. offering breakfast and lunch; and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for breakfast only.

Patrick Phillips

Patrick joined the Live 5 News team in October 2006.