Biscuits & Gravy

The Samper:
Heavenly Biscuit

It has come to my attention that many people engaged in the business of selling breakfast to the general public don’t have the slightest idea how to make biscuits and gravy.
Growing up here in Southern Indiana, I always assumed that everyone knew what biscuits and gravy were and what separated the good from bad.
It’s one of those things—like an omelet or béarnaise sauce—that is so simple and yet so easy to get wrong.
I notice that restaurants have taken to using pre-prepared biscuits, and not even the good frozen ones that you bake yourself, but the pre-baked, mealy, hard, dry, crumbly sub-biscuits that come on a cardboard tray. Sometimes, they don’t even bother to heat them up!
Luckily for me, there’s a new restaurant in town, up on North Van Buren Street, called “Heavenly Biscuit,” and I am very pleased to announce that they, for one, know what real biscuits and gravy are.
Open from 8 to 2 daily and 7 to 2 on weekends, Heavenly Biscuit is a regular breakfast mecca, with a menu featuring everything that’s good for the morning meal.
It starts with the biscuits, of course. They are hand-made and freshly baked at the store every morning. Big, fluffy and delicious, they are the perfect platform for a mind-boggling number of possible toppings; bacon, egg, sausage patty, ham, country fried steak, fried chicken, and even egg whites, or a grilled tomato.
Of course, I know I am going to order the biscuits and gravy, but also some sides; maybe fried “taters” with onions, eggs cooked any way, or a delicious hash brown casserole.
Mrs. Sampler has a bit of a sweet tooth, which may explain why she is so darned sweet, but I can see right away she is fixated on the giant, sticky, sweet-smelling cinnamon roll. I convinced her to also get a pecan roll since, purely for professional reasons, you understand, I will need to sample some of her pastry.
There’s also banana bread, an English muffin, a croissant, or just plain toast.
Amazingly, there is a bagel with cream cheese, smoked salmon, tomato and onion—a big city treat all the way out here in the wilds of Indiana! There’s also a “healthy alternative” of egg whites and grilled tomato on wheat toast.
There’s nothing like a stack of flapjacks first thing in the morning, and Heavenly Biscuit offers “Marci’s Pancakes,” two full-size buttermilk or a four-piece short stack.
Heavenly Biscuit serves a limited lunch menu with several great sandwiches—grilled cheese, grilled or fried chicken sandwich, homemade chicken salad, and a BLT.
Also on offer, a delicious half-pound Black Angus burger that is the basis of their “Hangover Helper,” a big juicy burger topped with cheese, bacon, grilled onions, jalapenos and an over-easy egg. That is going to either cure you or send you back to your bed—one or the other.
They also offer a nice vegetarian soup of the day served in a bread bowl.
My biscuits and gravy arrive at the table, steaming hot and delicious. The first bite is, well, heavenly! At last, somebody who gets it right! Fluffy, fresh-baked, handmade biscuits covered with creamy, white, sausage laden gravy.
While my more refined partner lingered daintily over her sweet rolls and coffee, I pounced on the savory breakfast delight with vigor.
The business motto down at Heavenly Biscuit is “A Lil’ Taste of Heaven” and, while none of us can be certain what awaits us in the great beyond, it seems likely that those of us who have been called according to the purpose will there know the supreme joy of perfectly-made biscuits and gravy.
But why wait?
After lapping up the blessed breakfast offering, I nibbled a bit on the pecan roll which was, if not heavenly, certainly divine.
I was starting to write a little bluegrass tune in the back of my head. I could almost hear the claw-hammer banjo and the guitar line skittering along like a coon hound crossing a log. I could hear the thumping bass line and that high lonesome whine of three men singing in tight harmony;
“Will there be biscuits in heaven?
“Or will we only feast upon the Word?”
“I hope they have grandma’s fried chicken,”
“That surely was a heavenly bird…”
I finished my milk, drank my coffee, and soaked in the ambience. And I was profoundly satisfied.