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On the Road
On the Road: A Head for Biscuits
Cook's Country headed to Biscuit Head in Asheville, North Carolina to try a mimosa fried chicken biscuit.
12-17-2021
Bryan Roof

Jason Roy greets me in the parking lot of his restaurant, Biscuit Head, in Asheville, North Carolina, with a smile as casual as his outfit: shorts, flip-flops, and a mechanic's shirt bearing the Biscuit Head emblem. We chat briefly by the turquoise picnic tables before heading inside, where food runners weave through a crowded dining room delivering towering plates of mimosa fried chicken biscuits to wide-eyed customers.

Jason Roy in front of the word cathead painted in pink letters on the restaurant wall

Jason Roy in front of the word “cathead” painted in pink letters on the restaurant's wall.

Jason says he always knew he wanted to cook professionally, and he began his cooking career with a culinary apprenticeship at the age of 16. In the mid-2000s, he and his wife, Carolyn, were living in Boulder, Colorado, when they planned to open a bed-and-breakfast in Belize. When those plans lost steam, they turned their sights to the burgeoning culinary scene of Asheville, where Jason found quick work as an executive chef.

They noticed a handful of breakfast places in Asheville doing really great business, but each had a wait upwards of 2 hours on the weekends. “We thought, ‘how can we change that?’” They considered fast-casual counter service, which Jason says was a unique concept at the time. “It's just a smarter business model, I think. On a busy weekend day, our average [order time] is 45 seconds per person. In 7 hours we'll do 900 people.” One benefit of counter service is a more consistent pace for the cooks, with fewer rushes.

blue sign that reads put some south in your mouth

Some wall decor inside Biscuit Head.

From the outset, Jason locked on to the concept of brunch because of the creativity it allowed. The mimosa fried chicken, for example, was a “cheffy” idea that wasn't a clean fit for a breakfast menu. But at brunch, it's been their biggest seller since day one.

Biscuits provided a hook, but the innovative jam bar—featuring an array of homemade jams, compound butters, and hot sauces—proved an effective differentiator and a powerful word-of-mouth tool. “The jam bar is what really brings people back,” Jason says. “It's something that no one else is doing.”

A bar featuring a variety of house-made jams, compound butters, and hot sauces for topping biscuits

The bar featuring a variety of house-made jams, compound butters, and hot sauces for topping biscuits.

A devoted clientele and smart, scalable systems inspired Jason and Carolyn to open three more Biscuit Head restaurants in the region, but Jason is quick to credit his staff with the business's success. “We have really good people who started with us from day one. We created Biscuit Head, but Asheville made it all come together.”

large black sign outside the reads Biscuit Head home cooking since 2013 in yellow letters

The outdoor sign of Biscuit Head.

Try the Recipe

Mimosa Fried Chicken

A North Carolina brunch institution inspired us to infuse crunchy fried chicken with the orange and wine favors of mimosas.