Sunny side up in Concord
New local-focused eatery opens
By Linda A. Thompson-Odum firstname.lastname@example.org
Locavores now have a new place to enjoy a night out. Sunny’s Table in Concord is an Asian-American bistro with a menu based on ingredients from area farms, bakeries, shops and vendors. And husband/wife owners Sunny Chung and Kim Lully bring more than 20 years of restaurant experience to this new endeavor.
The idea for a local-focused restaurant “was something we’ve been working on for years,” Lully said. “It’s how we like to eat. We’ve always had a garden at the house and always just enjoyed fresh food. And the restaurant industry has really evolved in the last five to six years where people want to experiment and try new things. They’re not just stuck on eating broccoli and carrots. So if you have a little adventure and enjoy food, it’s the next step.”
On the wall above the bar is a blackboard that lists the local purveyors the restaurant currently turns to for ingredients, such as Red Manse Farm in Loudon and Willoughby Farm in Pittsfield, plus Butter’s Fine Food and Wine, Lewis Farm, Bread and Chocolate bakery, and White Mountain Coffee in Concord. Each week will see more providers added to the list.
Lully acknowledged that the local focus puts the restaurant at the mercy of the seasons. While produce is readily available at this time of year, in the fall the restaurant will have to turn to larger vendors. But the focus will remain on organic and sustainable products. Even with summer’s abundance, Chung and chef de cuisine Justin Lemieux still have to be flexible and creative.
“You thought you were going to serve Swiss chard with the steak, and then Harry from Lewis Farm calls and says the Swiss chard doesn’t really look that good so he’s going to send some kale instead. But if you really enjoy food, this way is so much more dynamic,” Lully explained.
Both Lully and Chung worked in the restaurant business for more than 20 years. Chung’s parents owned the Korean Place in Manchester, which recently closed when they retired.Lully’s parents own an American-style restaurant in northern Maine not far from the Canadian border, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner 363 days a year.
After high school, Lully swore she would never work in a restaurant again. She spent time as a department store buyer in New York and then worked in sales for WMUR in Manchester. She met Chung at the Korean Palace, where she “was his best customer. It was cheaper if we started dating. I could get a discount on food. The rest is history.”
While many of the dishes on the Sunny’s Table menu have an Asian twist, Chung wanted to make sure this place has a different feel and style than his parents’ restaurant. It’s larger than the previous place, and it has more of a bistro feel.
“It’s causal, but people can also dress up to celebrate a special occasion. And we serve comfortable food but we give it a kick with an Asian flair,” Lully said.
The menu changes a little bit each day depending on what’s available, and it will change overall every four to six weeks. Fish and seafood, delivered fresh daily, dominate the menu. There are also vegetarian selections, as well as free-range chicken and natural pork and beef. Lully said the new potatoes and crisp pork belly salad was a big hit on opening night, served with an organic sunny-side-up egg and a sweet and sour vinaigrette.