Posts Tagged ‘sonker’

Downtown Mount Airy Eatery, Down Home Restaurant, Joins the Surry Sonker Trail

Posted on: May 18th, 2016 by 89and52 No Comments

MOUNT AIRY, N.C. – The Surry Sonker Trail has a new member as the Down Home Restaurant came on board in March. Down Home opened in the location formerly occupied by Granite City BBQ and replaced it on this confectionary trail in Surry County.

Sandra Johnson and Bonnie Reynolds run the casual eatery on Main Street in Mount Airy. Both grew up in the area and learned to make sonker from family recipes. Reynolds is the primary sonker maker and Johnson bakes the cakes. But they trade off.

“We’ve made sonker all of our lives at home,” Johnson says. “It’s just a traditional, quick dessert here.”

Similar to cobbler, sonker consists of cooked fruit and a crust. Some have a liquid batter poured on top of the fruit, others have a rolled dough for their crust, and others are prepared on the stove top with a dropped-dumpling crust. Each recipe depends upon family tradition.

Down Home Restaurant makes its sonker by cooking fruit — strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, apples or peaches — on the stove, transferring it to a pan, adding a crust made from a liquid batter and baking it.

“I took one bite of the Down Home Restaurant sonker and almost cried because it brought back so many memories of my granny’s sonker,” says Jessica Johnson, assistant marketing director at the Mount Airy Visitors Center.

The region’s sonker dates to the early 1800s. The dessert was a product of frugal home cooks who didn’t want to waste any over-ripe fruit.

In addition to Down Home Restaurant in Mount Airy, the Surry Sonker Trail includes The Living Room Coffeehouse and Winebar in Pilot Mountain, Putters Patio & Grill in Dobson, Old North State Winery in Mount Airy, Miss Angel’s Heavenly Pies in Mount Airy, Rockford General Store in Dobson and Roxxi & Lulu’s Bakery in Elkin.

The trail was created in January 2015 by the Tourism Partnership of Surry County. Each of the seven stops on the Surry Sonker Trail offers a different style of the dessert.

“Trying the food is part of learning about the place where you’re living or visiting,” Sandra Johnson says. “Sonker is native to this region.”

To receive a Surry Sonker Trail brochure map, which has all the info needed to enjoy a day or two along the trail, call (800) 948-0949, or go online at: www.SonkerTrail.org

Down Home Restaurant

Posted on: August 14th, 2015 by 89and52 No Comments

Down Home Restaurant offers homemade breakfast, lunch, dinner, as well as daily specials. Enjoy the large, covered patio for dining! Every Tuesday night from 6 to 8 p.m., Down Home hosts a bluegrass and old-time jam session!

Down Home Restaurant also offers a FULL BREAKFAST all day long as well as many homemade desserts!

Locally owned and operated with the owners on site every day! Family run!

Hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Closed on Sundays.

The restaurant is located in Downtown Mount Airy, at 243 Main Street, Mount Airy, North Carolina 27030

Surry Sonker Trail Showcases a Tasty Confection

Posted on: January 27th, 2015 by 89and52 No Comments

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Just Desserts: Surry Sonker Trail Showcases a Tasty Confection

North Carolina’s newest culinary trail showcases a heritage food passed down from generation to generation in Surry County.
The Surry Sonker Trail leads visitors to several places that serve sonker – a cobbler-esque dessert unique to the county. Seven trail stops offer this sweet confection on their regular menu. An additional stop is a pottery studio selling sonker baking dishes and sonker cookbooks.
So, what exactly is this authentic Southern delicacy?
Sonker is similar to a pot pie or cobbler. It comes about by blending fruit and unshaped dough that is sweetened with sugar, molasses, or other secret ingredients. Sonker is also similar to snowflakes in that no two are exactly alike.
“Everyone has their own recipe,” says Carolyn Carter of the Rockford General Store, “and I’ve never had a bad one.”
Sonker’s origins in the county date to the early 1800s. A common belief is it was made to stretch the usage of fruit in tough times, or as a way to utilize fruit toward the end of its ripeness.
A lot of places on the trail, including Rockford General Store, feature sonker that is baked; however, Loretta Flack of Roxxi & Lulu’s Bakery in Elkin has a different philosophy. Her grandmother taught her to cook a dumpling-style sonker in a pot on the stove.
“The dumplings sit on top of the fruit,” says Flack. “When you cut into the dumplings they are like a biscuit inside – fluffy and soft with the flavor of the fruit.”
Not far from Roxxi & Lulu’s Bakery in Elkin is Heaven’s Scent, a hometown bistro featuring a recipe handed down from Linda Darnell, mother of co-owner Jones Darnell.
“Our sonkers are all baked. They have a crust on top, and no crust on bottom,” says Heaven’s Scent co-owner Jeff Taylor. “We do not use a glaze. The butter itself gives it a bit of a glaze. Most people like our sweet potato sonker. That seems to be everyone’s favorite.”
In addition to Heaven’s Scent, Roxxi & Lulu’s Bakery and Rockford General Store, there are four other eateries on the trail. They are: The Living Room Coffeehouse in Pilot Mountain, Putters Patio & Grill in Dobson, Trio Restaurant in Mount Airy, and Miss Angel’s Heavenly Pies in Mount Airy.
Another trail stop is Mayberry Pottery in Mount Airy, where visitors can purchase baking dishes and sonker cookbooks.
The most unusual sonker on the trail belongs to Miss Angel’s Heavenly Pies. Owners Angela and Randy Shur are natives of Long Island, NY, and have bestowed a northern flavor on this tasty treat. They utilize a crumb-based crust, and drizzle a moonshine glaze over the crust.
“They tease us for being from the North, so I don’t call it a sonker,” says Angela Shur. “I call it a zonker because when you eat ours with moonshine, you go zonkers.”
The trail was created in early January by the Tourism Partnership of Surry County. It aims to spotlight a heritage food at a time when culinary trails are gaining in popularity.
“People travel now to find good food and this ties in nicely,” says Jessica Roberts of the tourism partnership. “We have visitors who have picked up the brochure and said, ‘Oh wow, that reminds me of what my grandmother baked,’ or ‘That reminds me of what my mother made for me when I was growing up.’ We’re getting a lot of good feedback from the trail already.”
That sentiment is echoed at the state level by Wit Tuttell, executive director of Visit NC.
“These unique trails bring the history and culture of the state to life through food,” Tuttell explains. “They showcase the diverse landscape of North Carolina by highlighting the customs and local foods that make a visit to our state so special.”
A brochure map has been created by the Tourism Partnership of Surry County to guide folks along the trail. It includes all the key info to enjoy a day or two along the trail.
The brochure map is available at no charge by calling (800) 948-0949, or by requesting a map online at: www.SonkerTrail.org. Also, you can “like” the Surry Sonker Trail on Facebook!

From left to right – Peach “Zonka” at Miss Angel’s Heavenly Pies in Downtown Mount Airy, followed by Blackberry Sonker at Rockford General Store.

Miss Angel's 010-2Rockford

 

From left to right – Peach Sonker (a stove-top version) from Roxxi & Lulu’s Bakery in Elkin, followed by Sweet Potato Sonker with Ice Cream from Putter’s in Dobson

Roxxi and Lulus                                      Putter's Patio and Grill