Biscuits and gravy may seem old-fashioned, but the combination is a popular staple in restaurants around the Top of Utah.
Variations of the biscuit are abundant. Some restaurants are known for their flaky, melt-in-your-mouth biscuits. Others embrace original family recipes with a stick-to-the ribs kind of texture.
Karen’s Café on Historic 25th Street in Ogden goes through four dozen biscuits a day, a large number of them accompanied by its signature sausage gravy.
Kitchen manager Ashlee Ito says the cafe’s buttermilk biscuits are hearty, more reminiscent of what grandma might have made.
“Biscuits and gravy is something people grew up eating because it was easy and cheap to make and made for a filling meal, so there is a little bit of nostalgia while eating them,” Ito said.
She says she didn’t grow up making them herself, but remembers her grandmother’s delicious biscuits.
“It seems like everyone’s grandma made biscuits, but now the convenience of the grocery store and biscuits out of a can has replaced that, though I think there is a misconception on how long it takes to make biscuits in general. Anyone can whip up a batch in 20 minutes, and there really is no comparison to homemade biscuits,” Ito said.
At Jeremiah’s Restaurant on 12st Street in Ogden, general manager Maureen Sletten says people have distinct preferences.
“Some like short biscuits like KFC, some like their biscuits not real flaky, while others enjoy their biscuits made with buttermilk,” Sletten said.
The biscuits Jeremiah’s serves are a combination of thick and fluffy. Often, biscuits are regional, Sletten says; people from the South look for a fluffier biscuit and those from the East want a scone-like biscuit.
Sletten has been making biscuits at Jeremiah’s for 30 years, putting half a pound of melted butter over the tops of them when they come out of the oven on big sheet pans.
The Jeremiah’s crew also adds sausage to the country gravy. “Some places just use white gravy, which can be rather bland, which is why we include sausage in ours,” said Sletten.
“It’s a comfort food, warm and filling,” Sletten said. “With our sausage gravy, it can be a meal in and of itself. It’s not something that has ever gone out of fashion, even with all the carb and gluten phobias. It will always be on our menu, though we do have a whole health section on our menu that includes no biscuits and gravy.”
Brave are the young
Ron Yeates, owner of No Frills Diner on 12th Street in Ogden, says the latest trend is to stack hash browns, cheese, country-fried steak and eggs on top of biscuits, then smother it all in gravy.
“We call it a heart attack on a plate, but we sell it like crazy,” Yeates said.
He has noticed that the older generation sticks to the traditional biscuits and gravy, but the younger generation likes to try new things.
“They will dump Tabasco sauce or our green-chili gravy over their biscuits, and I will wonder what they are doing, but I think a lot of people like mixing their foods these days.”
Over at Criddle’s Café on 37th Street in Ogden, the biscuits are fluffy, according to co-owner Jeff Criddle.
“They aren’t too dense and it’s always been what our families have done, so we stuck with what we knew, and it seems to be a hit with our customers, covered with our sausage gravy,” Criddle said.
Some customers have started requesting Criddle’s spicier hamburger gravy in place of the traditional sausage gravy over their biscuits.
Barney Northrop, head chef at Herm’s Inn on Canyon Road in Logan, said his biscuit recipe includes a frozen Pillsbury product, turning his biscuits into a crowd-pleasing menu option.
“We brush our biscuits on top and bottom with clarified butter, then proof them so they raise and double in size, which makes them incredibly light and fluffy,” Northrop said. “We then heat them on our flat grill with more clarified butter, giving them a crispy bottom.”
They cover the biscuits in sausage or bacon gravy per the customer’s request.
“Our gravy uses chicken stock, milk and heavy cream, making it really rich, along with maple syrup to balance the salty, and sriracha seasoning for a background spice. It all makes for a very savory breakfast.”