How far will you travel for a great meal? On a weeknight, Bowling Green sounds just about right. Buried in a nondescript shopping center next to a notable bakery, Stimmel’s Market, Sunset Bistro is unassumingly one of the best meals you’ll find in town. As you leave, you’ll look behind you and think, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming.”
There isn’t anything that owner Prudence “Prudy” Brott and her kitchen manager Chris Schnee don’t put their own special flair on, from steaks to vegetarian options to flatbreads and pasta dishes. “I’ve always been involved in restaurant work— both sets of grandparents owned restaurants, so it’s always been in the blood,” said Prudy of her culinary background.
Born and raised in Bowling Green, Prudy moved out to Colorado to work for a major restaurant operation. “When I moved back home, I wanted to bring home some of the Colorado feel— where the concentration is on putting your everyday items together in a unique way.” The result is Sunset Bistro, which opened in April 2015.
Fresh and healthy
“We do a lot of healthy options, quinoa, big salads . . . Our whole menu can be done gluten free. People have all sorts of restrictions in their diets and we try to cater to that,” says Prudy, herself a vegetarian. And it goes the other way as well: any vegetarian option can have meat added to it, so you can have just what you want, the way you want it.
Another focus is freshness. As Prudy tells it, “I get a delivery ( of fresh foods) four days a week, so we’re almost out of everything all the time. Everything is nice and fresh and made daily.” And when they can, they grow their own vegetables.
Although the bistro redid its menu six months ago, the clientele is so varied in their tastes, the restaurant didn’t get rid of anything, and instead added 15 new items. Prudy says they are known for the fried cauliflower, a must-get appetizer. Another must-try: the flatbreads. “They are different because they’re not thin and crispy; they’re kind of a thicker, doughier style.”
Calling the ‘soup list’
One of the major draws of Sunset Bistro is its hospitality– from its friendly and attentive wait staff (our server would not let our glasses get empty) to the willingness to give out recipes, to what might be its most novel practice: the soup list. Sunset Bistro makes some of the best soups you will ever take a spoon to– the Cream of Mushroom, in particular, deserves special mention. But they don’t make their varieties of soups or specials or their cakes everyday. Rather than having you call in to ask if a certain item is available (which is fine as well), they will add your name and specialized item of choice to their call list. When it’s available, you will get a call, so you never miss out on your favorite items. That level of personalized service alone warrants your patronage.
The green light
Veterans are extra special to Prudy’s heart. In addition to a 10 percent veteran discount, she keeps a green light lit in the window in honor of those who have served. Her father, who passed away in December 2014 from Agent Orange complications, was a Vietnam combat veteran. As a result, Sunset Bistro commits to fundraising events several times a year that benefit organizations such as the VA hospital in Ann Arbor, MI. Upcoming is the Bistro’s third annual Dave Brott Memorial Bike Run fundraiser (in memory of Prudy’s father), Saturday, August 12, with proceeds going to the Vietnam Veterans of America. “We do what we can,” says Prudy.
The restaurant’s newly opened patio space is conducive to casual outdoor summer dining, and if you want to live it up, they have musicians play on Fridays and a brunch menu on Sundays. The bottom line: whatever you’re looking for, you’ll probably find it at Sunset Bistro.
Cauliflower Hashbrown Casserole
Take 3 heads of chopped cauliflower, drizzle them with oil and roast them for 30 minutes.
1 large bag thawed peas
1 pound soft cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
½ TBS salt
½ TBS pepper
½ TBS garlic
1 cup asiago/parmesan cheese mix
Add cauliflower and five pounds of shredded hashbrowns
Mix again and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Serve