There’s nothing quite like a home-cooked meal, but eating at the Sunglow Café in Spanish Fork makes for a pretty good alternative.

The recently opened Sunglow Café in Spanish Fork, formerly Amber Family Restaurant, offers home-style cooking at a price that won’t break the bank.

With a menu featuring country-style cuisine top to bottom, comfort food is the name of the game at the Sunglow Café. The restaurant offers a variety of classics from burgers to chicken parmesan to country fried steak.

Considering Sunglow’s signature taste of home, it seemed all the more appropriate that my husband and parents came along with me for my first visit.

Our time at the restaurant similarly reflected the high-efficiency homes many of us grew up in. My party of four arrived at the restaurant a little before 7 p.m., and we were seated right away. We had briefly perused the menu when a friendly server visited our table to take our drink orders. Shortly afterward, with drinks in hand, we ordered and had our food on the table in no time.

We started with the Garlic Cheese Fries appetizer, a pile of seasoned French fries beneath a lovely mound of melted cheese and small chunks of bacon, served with ranch dressing. Though it was obvious this was not an appetizer that would help my figure, the look of it was tantalizing and the taste even better. A foot-long trail of cheese followed the first fry into my mouth, bringing with it a symphony of salty spice and the always-pleasing bacon. I always was a sucker for cheese.

Around the same time, our server brought out a small salad that came with my mom’s meal. The side dish looked like a standard salad made with iceberg lettuce, purple cabbage and carrot slivers with beets, cucumber, cheese, crunchy croutons and dressing added. Ever a beet fan, the combination of flavors and textures in my bite of the salad seemed to me a tasty way to whet one’s appetite before digging into an entrée.

Then came the main course, served in good portions all around the table. I ordered the Sunglow M.O.A.B. (Mother of All Burgers), a burger that certainly lived up to its name. A quarter-pounder topped with cheese, fried egg, bacon, onion ring, lettuce, tomatoes, jalapenos, guacamole and house mayo, I thought, “What more could you ever want out of a hamburger?”

The answer proved to be, “Just about nothing.” Though the hefty burger was not easy to handle or fit into my mouth, it was delicious, delivering a pleasant new flavorful surprise with every messy bite.

Not a huge fan of spicy food, I was a little worried about the heat this burger would serve up, but the spice proved to be nothing more than the small occasional kick. And the pickle spear served on the side was a nice added touch that made the dish feel a bit homier.

Aside from the bacon strips, which were a little tougher than I would’ve preferred, and the fact that the onions inside the onion rings both on the burger and served on the side were a bit crunchy and undercooked, this burger was just about perfect.

My dad ordered the Chile Verde Navajo Taco, a fresh scone hidden under a mountain of homemade chile verde, shredded lettuce, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, onions, olives and sour cream. The scone was a perfectly soft and pillowy base for the delicious topping combo, and the chile verde gave the dish true Mexican flair.

My husband ordered the Smothered Burrito from the breakfast menu, which is served all day. The burrito was filled with potatoes, scrambled eggs, diced ham, green peppers and onions, topped with cheese sauce, melted cheese and sour cream, and served with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onions and olives on the side.

The dish had the taste of a standard breakfast burrito, although a little too cheesy. Our server had recommended the cheese sauce above the alternate options of homemade country gravy or Spanish sauce, but we thought the dish might have been better with a more salsa-like dressing.

My mom ordered the Crispy Chicken Cordon Bleu, made with ham, Swiss cheese and cheese sauce served atop a breaded chicken breast, with fries and steamed carrot slices on the side. The chicken’s breading had just the right amount of crunch, and the toppings truly gave this dish the taste of home, albeit with a strong cheesy, buttery aftertaste. The fries were a little too soft for our liking, but the carrot slices were plain and tender, just the way they should be.

Our tummies were happy the way only comfort food can make them after finishing our entrées. But with intriguing pie flavors including pickle, pinto bean and buttermilk offered for dessert, we couldn’t just stop there. We couldn’t resist trying a slice and settled on the Pinto Bean Pie, which was unusual but delivered pleasantly surprising results.

Made with real pinto beans, the traditional pie crust was filled with a smooth, brown pinto bean paste flavored with what tasted like cinnamon and other sweet spices, and on top of the filling was a thin layer of caramelized coconut flakes.

The pie had a surprisingly similar taste to traditional pecan pie, although without the same nutty crunch. The best way I could describe this pie is that it has the flavors of pecan and apple pie but with a smooth texture a little thicker than pumpkin pie — simple and yummy in its own unique way.

Though we didn’t try them, the other seemingly strange pie flavors similarly imitate other well-known pies, according to our cashier. She said the taste of the Sunglow Café’s pickle pie is comparable to pumpkin pie and that the buttermilk pie has a similar flavor to lemon custard pie.

We left the Sunglow Café a little over an hour after we came, our spirits high and our stomachs satisfied with the taste of home we’d just been served. The food was good, and our experience was pleasant.

If I’m being nitpicky, my only complaint would come down to the details, as we weren’t offered some of the options described on the menu with our dishes, such as being given a choice between different cheeses or sauces. But to be fair, we could have been more vocal about this to our server, and the food tasted great all the same.

All in all, it’s good to know that when time or distance may keep you from your favorite home-cooked dishes, the Sunglow Café provides some decent substitutes.

Features Reporter

Sarah Harris writes about arts and entertainment for the Daily Herald.

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