Biscuit Head owners Jason and Carolyn Roy havebeen working together since they met in Colorado in the early 2000s.
“We ended up moving here to be able to open a restaurant,” Carolyn said.
The couple now has four restaurants that feature large “cat head” biscuits with many appetizing accompaniments, including jams, cured meats and fried chicken made with a special recipe they developed.
While some people may wonder about the “cat head” designation for biscuits at their restaurant, others know the term and get excited with they see it, Carolyn said.
“We’re trying to resurrect it,” Jason added with a smile.
This traditional Southern term refers to the size of a biscuit—which is as large as a cat’s head, he explained. A native of Georgia, Jason grew up eating “cat head” biscuits that his grandmother used to make.
The Roy’s newest restaurant on Hendersonville Road was doing a brisk business on a recent Monday morning, with customers choosing toppings at the jam and butter bar for their fluffy biscuits.
“All the jams are homemade,” said Carolyn.
In addition to jams and butter, diners can choose among a variety of hot sauces, which also are made in-house along with many other toppings.
“The basic idea is anything and everything going on (biscuits),” said Jason.
Looking at the extensive menu, the possibilities do indeed seem almost endless at Biscuit Head.
The restaurant offers both regular and gluten-free vegan biscuits, which can be ordered with a variety of gravies from espresso red-eye to mushroom medley and sweet potato coconut.
Side dishes include eggs, fromáge grits, Gouda fries, Sriracha slaw, coconut-strewed callaloo collards and a selection of meats such as bacon, country ham, pulled pork, special sausages, fried chicken and catfish.
For those looking for lighter fare, a fresh fruit plate, house-made granola and arugula salad are on the menu.
Jason and Carolyn are experienced chefs with a flair for blending down-home cuisine with creative options. Their mimosa fried chicken is created by first brining the poultry in a blend of salt, sugar, curry powder, orange juice, champagne and other ingredients, coating it with a Biscuit Head dredge and then frying it in vegetable oil.
“We try to use as many local ingredients as possible,” Carolyn said.
Much of the produce and meat they use is purchased from Hickory Nut Gap Farm in Fairview, which is known for its sustainable, organic agricultural practices.
From chefs to restaurant owners
Opening their first restaurant was a choice that Jason and Carolyn made to ensure that they had time to spend with their young son. The couple and their employees only work one shift at the Biscuit Head restaurants, which open early in the morning and close mid-afternoon.
While employed as chefs at restaurants in Colorado and Asheville, the couple worked long days and had little family time.
Six years ago the Roys opened their first Biscuit Head in west Asheville. A few years later, they found locations on Biltmore Avenue and in Greenville, South Carolina where they opened their second and third restaurants. And with the recent opening at the south Asheville location, they now are owners of a growing enterprise.
“I can’t sit still. I’m always searching for the new space,” Jason said when asked about the relatively rapid expansion of the business.
Jason also said that he has been fortunate to find capable people to mange the restaurants.
“We’re good at hiring people who care,” he said.
Some of the employees they have hired for entry level positions such as server or dishwasher have moved up and are now managing restaurants, Carolyn added.
In addition to opening and managing restaurants, the Roys also have published a Biscuit Head cookbook that features recipes for foods they serve.
Biscuit Head locations in Asheville are at 417 Biltmore Ave., 733 Haywood Rd., and 1994 Hendersonville Rd. The restaurants are open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information, visit the website at www.biscuitheads.com.