"It's a family recipe" has to be the most overworked gimmick in the history of food and beverage. Restaurants will give an elaborate spiel about how their chicken and dumpling was passed down through the generations. They'll have you believing that their great-granny Gertrude passed it down to their granny Norma Jean, who passed it down to their mother Phyllis, who then bestowed the recipe upon them — when in reality they got the chicken and dumplings recipe from Paula Deen's website.
"Made from scratch" is the second most overworked gimmick in the history of food and beverage. All of us have that favorite Italian restaurant that claims the pasta for the rigatoni bolognese and the cannolis were made "from scratch" until you realized the pasta came out of a box and cannoli cream shipped from elsewhere and thawed out before being piped into premade cannoli shells. Then they double down on the narrative by naming the dish after a family member, for example, Cousin Vito's Rigatoni Bolognese or Aunt Antonella's cannolis, but in reality, neither "Cousin Vito" nor "Aunt Antonella" exist.
Biskit NV hangs its hat on this pair of gimmicks. However, Biskit NV is different. Nothing seems to be fabricated or fictitious. I believe that somebody comes in before the crack of dawn to start baking their mile-high biscuits, which are really at least five inches tall. That alone is commendable in a time when corners are cut to combat razor-thin profit margins. I believe these recipes were passed through the generations, like edible heirlooms. Unlike Cousin Vito, I do believe Quintin, the namesake of their gargantuan fried chicken breast, is a real person. Unlike Aunt Antonella, I do feel like Mr. V, the guy whose name is on their Southern loaded chicken biscuit, is a real, beloved member of the family and so is Marlee, who the cinnamon swirl biscuit is named after. There's even a twiced-baked butter biscuit slathered in icing and confettied with sprinkles named after somebody named Kam. Then there's the J. Cole lemonade, which is either an homage to the North Carolina rapper or another member of the family
— Where: 270 South Ocoee St., Cleveland, Tennessee.
— Contact: (423)473-3016.
— Hours: Thursday-Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday through Saturday.
Quintin's fried chicken breast is the centerpiece of Mr. V's Southern loaded biscuit, which is topped with thick-cut slab bacon (not the skimpy kind), cheddar cheese and a fried egg, and is also the best seller. Another chicken dish called the rooster plays into the sweet/heat flavor profile with the addition of honey and jalapeno pepper jelly. Instead of cheddar cheese, the loaded rooster comes with a handful of goat cheese, sauteed spinach — and the egg is served over easy, so the yolk can slowly cascade down the sides of the biscuit.
For those who don't believe you should eat fried chicken for breakfast, there's the pork savage with crispy bacon, sausage patties, cheddar cheese and fried eggs. For the traditionalist, the good ole bacon, egg and your choice of pimento or cheddar cheese. Then there's the B.L.T. biscuit, except the mayonnaise is made with lemon and basil, the tomatoes are roasted and instead of lettuce, it's sauteed spinach. If all that's not enough, they have sides: hash browns, grits without any lumps, ooey gooey macaroni and cheese and collard greens that rival anything your granny ever whipped up at Sunday dinner.
Biskit NV embodies that cozy, family-oriented ethos most restaurants rarely pull off successfully. They've mastered the art of the boutique biscuit trend popularized by chains like Vicious Biscuit but with the level of hospitality and "homemade" cooking that make "mom & pop" restaurants special. There's gospel music playing softly in the background. The staff is so friendly, you can't decide if they want to refill your fruit punch, invite you to their next cookout or pray for you. It is a shining, nap-inducing example of gluttony (in a good way). The paper boats they serve the food in surrender to the enormity of the biscuits. They cover everything with so much of that glorious sausage gravy, tomato gravy or turkey gravy, it's almost impossible to eat without a knife, fork, spoon or maybe even a shovel. Cleveland native Alphonso "Spudder" Pugh not only introduced me to Biskit NV but gave me a pro tip that might help you prevent a mess: Ask for the cook to pour the gravy on before they crown it with the top half of the biscuit. It'll still be delicious and slightly messy but at least you'll be able to wrangle it with both hands.