Thursday, August 11, 2011
Pine State Biscuits was highly recommended by a friend's coworker, so I was curious to see this small Southern restaurant that specializes in its namesake item. During a recent visit to Portland I stopped in for a late Sunday breakfast. There was a line out the door of easy going hungry folks who all had their eyes on the plates coming out of the open kitchen. The shop was opened by Brian Snyder, Walt Alexander and Kevin Atchley, who all met at North Carolina State University where they went to school together in the late 1990s. The restaurant began as a stand at the weekly PSU Farmers Market on Saturdays in 2006 and in early 2008 they made the transition to a 7 day a week bricks and mortar location.
Pine Street Biscuits now has 2 locations plus still has a presence at the Farmers' Market. I checked out their original biscuit shop, on Belmont. They are open from 7 am - 2 pm, so its a breakfast, lunch or brunch kind of spot with the menu squarely focused on biscuits and biscuit sandwiches. Their most famous creation, the Reggie, is fried chicken, bacon, gravy and cheese on a biscuit. The deluxe version adds a fried egg. Pine State Biscuits is a small shop, but it is not exactly under the radar. The Reggie Deluxe was named one of the best sandwiches in America by Esquire in 2008, and Pine State Biscuits was subsequently featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in 2009.
I couldn't resist the Fried Chicken Biscuit Sandwich. ($4) The biscuit had a great light texture and the chicken was juicy with a crispy skin. The sandwich is a lot of food, even though it isn't large. I added a little butter to the biscuit and that made it even better, with the saltiness of the sandwich melding with the sweet butter.
It didn't seem right to not sample a side dish so we opted for the Hash Browns ($3). The hash browns were nicely crisped on top (without being burnt) and the bounty was literally overflowing the large plate. One order is enough for several people to share.
Biscuits and gravy ($5) is available with either sausage gravy or shitake mushroom gravy as this is Portland. Biscuits are $1.50 each a la carte. The prices are very reasonable and well worth it. The dining area is tiny so most customers get their biscuits to go or else have to wait. The vibe is casual and cozy and it has a very genuine feel to it.
Pine Street Biscuits is a recommended stop on any Portland itinerary. Just plan on coming early or waiting in line. Coffee drinkers will be happy to know that they serve hometown favorite Stumptown Coffee.
Pine Street Biscuits: 3640 SE Belmont Street, Portland, OR. Phone: (503) 236-3346 Website: http://pinestatebiscuits.com/
Also at 2204 NE Alberta, Portland, OR. Phone: (503) 477-6605 This location is also open Friday & Saturday nights from 6 pm - 1 am, in addition to the standard 7 am - 2 pm hours.