Bread fads come and go (baguettes, croissants, bagels) but you can tell when something has peaked when they make a sandwich with it. Judging by that, the biscuit has hit the top.
Southerners have a proprietary feeling about biscuits, but basically, any biscuit is made with fat (lard or butter), flour, baking powder, salt and a little milk or buttermilk. (Originally, Southern biscuits were made with a softer wheat, meaning it had less gluten, so the biscuits were more tender.) There is a thing called a “beaten” biscuit that leaves out the leavening and instead requires a half-hour of beating (literally) to loosen the gluten so the biscuit will rise, but it’s a labor-intensive rarity. Everyone except me loves biscuits smothered in sausage gravy—I’m a born-Southerner, but I prefer butter.
At any rate, you can’t go to many restaurants these days without tripping over a biscuit. Here are a half-dozen-plus-one of the best biscuits in Utah:
1. Sweet Lake Biscuits & Limeade,
54 W. 1700
South, SLC, 801-953-1978
Slightly strange bedmates—limeade is in no way a traditional accompaniment to biscuits—but each of this restaurant’s specialties are terrific. Originally a stand at the Farmers Market, now Sweet Lake serves seated biscuit-oriented meals until midday—try the biscuit sandwich with grilled asparagus, bacon, arugula and an egg.
2. The Daily,
222 Main St., SLC, 385-322-1270
I get into more detail about Ryan Lowder’s new downtown endeavor on p. 108, but this is about the biscuits, which are fantastic. Lowder has made this space the bakery for all his restaurants and head baker Caroline Hargraves is turning out sandwich bread, as well as these tall, flaky, ever-so-slightly sweet biscuits. Sausage gravy? No. But perfect for strawberries and whipped cream.
3. Woodland Biscuit Company,
2734 E. State Rd. 35, Woodland, 435-783-4202
Open only on the weekends and you’ll need your GPS to help you find it, but Woodland Biscuit Company is worth finding. So I hear—I haven’t found it yet. But I have it on the highest trusted authority that the biscuits here rule, so a field trip is forthcoming. For breakfast or lunch. Almost every dish is biscuit-based. Even the burger.
4. Ruth’s Diner,
4160 Emigration Canyon Road, 801-582-5807
Probably the most famous biscuit in the state, Ruth’s “Mile High Biscuits” are enormous. Like, enormous. They’re a little bit doughy and less flaky than other biscuits on the list, but they come with every breakfast entree. So if your banana walnut french toast doesn’t provide enough carbohydrates, you’ve got a major biscuit to fall back on.
5. Penny Ann’s Cafe,
1810 S. Main St., SLC, 801-935-4760; 280 E. 12300 South, Draper, 801-662-0009; 1856 5400 South, Draper, 801-613-9702
Most famous for their “heavenly hotcakes,” Penny Ann’s makes a mean biscuit too. Like many biscuits, this one is hidden on the menu under sausage gravy, but you can get a single biscuit and slather it with butter if you prefer. Like I said, I do.
6. Pig & A Jelly Jar,
401 E. 900 South, SLC, 385-202-7366; 227 25th St., Ogden, 801-605-8400; 1968 E. Murray Holladay Rd., Holladay, 385-695-5148
Biscuits play a supporting role in this Southern-tinged cafe—dig through the spare rib, eggs, beans and kale or the smoked ham, tomatoes and eggs or the double-battered fried chicken and you’ll find a biscuit. Or you can have them with the inevitable Southern gravy.
508 Main St.,
Park City, 435-615-7700
I have been at a dinner where guests literally fought for these biscuits. Granted, it was a fingertip fight, polite, but there was a primal intent to snag the last of these buttermilk beauties (generally, NOT served with sausage gravy but as the side bread with honey butter).
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