The moment you realize why Biscuit Head has such a cult following is different depending on who you are. For some, it’s just walking up to a breakfast joint on a random weekday and seeing a line out the door, since that does seem to indicate an intense following.
For others, it’s that first bite of an exquisite biscuit sandwich or other flavorful entree. For me, though, it was the jam bar. For the uninitiated, rather than just popping a tasty-but-standard packet of jam on the side of your biscuit, at Biscuit Head, they go all out with a buffet-style array of jams that are house-made and not always standard flavors.
It takes true attention to detail and pride in one’s breakfast food to create homemade concoctions, like the berry bomb and the peach rosemary, and let your guests pick their favorites to add to their breakfasts (there’s a sign exhorting us all not to waste the goodness, but if you’ll eat every morsel, you can try a lot.). I still dream of my first taste of the sweet potato chai jam!
The biscuit is the centerpiece of the Biscuit Head menu, and these aren’t anything like the tube of pop-able cylinder dough that you can get at the grocery store.
Cathead biscuits are the name of the game, so named for a dough that is spoonable and droppable rather than worked over through kneading. As a result, these biscuits get serious lift, a fluffy, large, and occasionally irregular flavor sensation that gets its name from how big they can get – as big as a cat’s head!
The team at Biscuit Head has done an incredible job making a biscuit that is so beloved that we’ll all keep coming back to see what else we can eat on top of one of them.
I am a huge fan of everything I’ve had at Biscuit Head, including the Southern-inspired fried green tomato eggs benedict. Like many good eggs benedicts, this one disintegrated into a puddle of delicious richness, bits of fried green tomato, and, of course, chunks of biscuit.
If you haven’t had a fried green tomato, you’re missing out (and also have been skipping a key Southern staple in many kitchens around these parts). Their unripe flavor mellows with cooking and becomes a sturdy and sour canvas onto which the delightful crisp exterior can juxtapose. It’s just perfect, made even richer with gravy or hollandaise.
This menu isn’t meant to trick or fool you – biscuits are at the center of it all. You can start out with a regular biscuit or a gluten-free and vegan biscuit (my vegan friend loves these so much that it was the first thing she requested after giving birth – they are that good!).
You can then dress it up with one of five kinds of gravy – espresso red eye, fried chicken gravy, pork sausage, veggie sausage, or sweet potato and coconut gravy. Want more gravy? Order multiple biscuits and do a sample tasting.
I come from a family that loves to compare and contrast flavors together, and I can see swapping different pieces of biscuits with different gravies could be a very popular way to communally consume Biscuit Head.
A variety of side dishes can also dress up your plate-o-biscuits – pimento cheese grits delight the Southern set, sriracha slaw brings a zing to the table, and many different kinds of breakfast meats, eggs, and home fries can round out your decadent brunch.
For more specialty biscuits, consider the mimosa fried chicken biscuit, which features that crisp and deeply flavored chicken, sweet potato butter, sriracha slaw, and a poached egg – a gooey and rich delight. Or opt for the sweeter side of things by getting biscuit french toast topped with strawberry syrup and powdered sugar.
The drink menu features lovely local coffee and iced coffee from PennyCup and iced AppalaChai, a local chai product that tastes like fall in a cup. There are also fun espresso drinks, like the maple bacon latte that is made with a crispy bacon garnish and sweetened with real maple syrup.
And there are brunch drinks to be had if your biscuit tastes better with a little booze, with a sake Bloody Mary as the signature cocktail, topped with house-made pickles, as well as the ever-popular mimosa on offer. If brunch is a celebratory meal, champagne in orange juice seems like the perfect accompaniment!
You can see why people find themselves rolling out of Biscuit Head full and ready for a nap – but always returning for another excellent meal. I personally visited on my own the first time, showing up early on a weekday, not near any major tourism day, so that I (gasp) didn’t even have to wait in a line.
When you walk in the doors, you’re greeted by a quirky and feline-themed restaurant equipped with different atmospheres depending on the location. I think the original location, with higher ceilings and a single wide-open room, is a real West Asheville treasure, while the Biltmore Avenue location has a more corner-diner atmosphere, a little smaller and closed-in, but with such a neighborly feel.
The South Asheville location feels the most like a big, popular brunch spot, maybe because I visited at the height of Sunday brunch, but the big windows make this one the airiest of the spots. All serve the incredible menu you’ve come to love if you visit often, so you’re not likely to go wrong with any of the three.
I tried their fried chicken biscuit that first time, since it featured two things I love so much, and got myself a small coterie of different jam samples, vowing to try everything and see if I could figure out what really made this biscuit pop best (while sweet potato chai was my favorite jam, literally all of them added great depth to the richness of fried chicken and a biscuit).
I sat at the bar, looking into the bustling opening into the kitchen, and noted that people seemed to be enjoying themselves behind the counter and in front. It wasn’t a frantic day at Biscuit Head, but people seemed to have the easy-going productivity that I feel characterizes many of my favorite Asheville haunts – there’s no rush, but we’re on a mission here.
An underrated aspect of the menu is that, if you are willing to go for a light breakfast over a heavy one, it’s one of the more affordable places that is also local and has a good atmosphere. If you opt for a heavier breakfast or load up on extra sides, it’ll still be in the standard range for breakfast and brunch food, while offering you a better experience with more variety than you’d get at some of the breakfast chains.
I’ve heard of folks who eat their breakfast in-house and then opt to take a box of biscuits to go as an easy and portable snack or breakfast for the rest of their Asheville adventures, a convenience if you aren’t really cooking while traveling but want some easy, low-cost meals.
When Asheville cooking is at its best, I think it brings a Southern Appalachia twang to a plate of high-quality ingredients that are thoughtfully sourced. I’ll always be intrigued by cuisines from around the world, and I try to find my favorites among the fancier, fine-dining set, but that ain’t Biscuit Head’s appeal.
I think where Asheville restaurants like Biscuit Head can offer something that other places long to emulate is when they take the flavors of the local surroundings, combined with a knowledge of food that helps them source the absolute best in everything from meat to flour to vegetables, and serves it up as a gussied-up, perfectly-prepared version of the things you’ll recognize.
That’s what Biscuit Head can do – it’s exceptionally good without being exceptionally expensive or so unusual in its flavor profile as to raise an eyebrow.
While the food is good, I think that Biscuit Head keeps its reputation for delight by continuing to try to top their own past successes with specials and new jams and always a signature commitment to quality ingredients and superior flavor.
With three locations in Asheville now, you can get a cathead biscuit no matter which part of the city you’re in, from just south of downtown to West Asheville to the Arden area. Stop in when the hankering for breakfast food strikes next.