What is it? A Southern-style biscuit sturdy enough to be a sandwich for Rise, a concept Chef-owner Tom Ferguson launched five years ago in Durham after a successful run with his Only Burger food truck. Rise started with complex biscuit flavors and ingredients, but Ferguson found that the approach posed consistency issues as he began to open other locations. The solution: create one badass biscuit for the sandwiches.
Inspiration: Recon at Pine State Biscuits, a casual restaurant, in Portland, Oregon. Ferguson, however, wanted a fast casual he could stamp out but maintain a chef-driven approach, so he hired Brian Wiles, whose credentials include working the line with renowned Chef Michel Richard at Citronelle in Washington, D.C.
Obsession factor: Biscuit nirvana can be reached in many ways, but nothing beats mixing ingredients and rolling out the dough by hand, Wiles says. Cold ingredients are essential, as well as self-rising locally milled flour, eggs and buttermilk. A wetter dough, he says, leads to a biscuit that doesn’t crumble when paired with sandwich fillings.
Impact: Eleven locations and many more to come. “It takes a solid recipe, solid training and holding people accountable,” Wiles says.
Photography by Felicia Trujillo