Jason Roy wants to be your Southern grandma.
With the opening of Biscuit Head in West Asheville, his flaky creations will make grandma proud — in fact, he might even show her up.
The shop will serve a variety of plain and adorned biscuit creations along with a selection of house-made, specialty jams and butters and a variety of globally inspired side dishes. The menu also includes gluten-free biscuits. “Quick, affordable, gourmet, fun,” Roy says. “Southern, heirloom, these are all kinds of words that describe what the food is, what the experience is that we're trying to create.”
For the past four years, Roy has served as executive chef at Lexington Avenue Brewery. He'll continue to develop that menu, albeit from a distance, while he manages Biscuit Head with his wife, Carolyn.
The restaurant features counter service and patio seating in the former location of Tolliver's Crossing on Haywood Road. However, the space belies its barroom past. The Roys have revamped the dining room by hand, laying tile, building tables and brightening the walls with mosaics.
Container gardens dot the dining room; succulents emerge from vintage coffee pots. A sense of honest effort and thoughtful planning makes the place feel like home. “It's real,” Roy says. “We're real people. We're not corporate.”
So what exactly can you eat at Biscuit Head? Platter-sized biscuits, known as catheads, predominate. They come topped with specialty gravies, including espresso red eye and sweet potato coconut, and topping combinations that feature plenty of pickled delights, poached eggs and slow cooked meats. The fried catfish biscuit, for example, comes with spicy slaw, tomato, egg and creole gravy. The brisket biscuit includes pickled onion, smoked chèvre, egg and barbecue hollandaise sauce.
While biscuits are the main attraction, the menu includes granola, fruit and salad plates and steel-cut oats. Among the dozen or so sides, there’s a dish of coconut-stewed callaloo collards that Roy hopes will become a local favorite. “It's very much a West Indian staple dish from Jamaica and Trinidad,” he says. “Tarro, that leaf is what they use to make the callaloo with. But we're using collards because that's kind of like the regional thing here. I want it to be a really awesome staple of a side here that people have never had before, and they're just going to freak out about.”
Specialty drinks accompany the Southern fare: Fresh-squeezed orange juice, mimosas, lemonade, house-made sodas and smoothies are all part of the program. Plus, Biscuit Head will offer a Carmelita latte made with Looking Glass Creamery goats milk caramel.
As the menu boasts, Biscuit Head serves “breakfast, lunch and everything in between.” Roy's counting on the versatility of the biscuit to keep hungry diners coming. “It really is a blank canvas, and you can take it in so many different directions,” he says. “Traditionally, yes, it's a breakfast food, but I think it can be breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, dessert. It really takes on so many different things.”
Biscuit Head, 733 Haywood Road, opens daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, visit biscuitheads.com or search for Biscuit Head on Facebook.