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Biscuit Bar in Deep Ellum Is Good for the Bread, Not Much Else

Because I’m the age I am, the word “biscuit” makes me think of “The Humpty Dance” every single time I hear it or even think it. If I eat a good enough biscuit, I might even quietly rap it. Samoans!

I guess that a place with biscuit in the name had best get them right, but I actually find that such a simple food seems to confound many breakfast places. The Mecca survived for decades in Dallas with some of the blandest, most insubstantial biscuits ever devised.

Walking into Biscuit Bar means adding a whole lot of cheesiness to your day.EXPAND
Walking into Biscuit Bar means adding a whole lot of cheesiness to your day.
Philip Kingston

Biscuits can be done well in multiple styles. Fearing’s will serve you a small, dense little guy in the breakfast breads basket that is just lovely. Most of the examples in Nashville, the self-conscious epicenter of biscuitry, that I’ve managed to try are aiming for ethereal lightness.

The Biscuit Bar in Deep Ellum turns out medium-dense, medium-sized, square biscuits, and they’re great. Paired with whatever filling you get, you’re meant to eat one: They’re Goldilocks, just-right size.

We tried the hot-hot chicken, which was a convincing rendition, and the HOSS, which typographically seems like it wants to be an acronym but apparently is just very emphatic.

As they should be, the biscuit is the best part of this place.EXPAND
As they should be, the biscuit is the best part of this place.
Philip Kingston

Unfortunately, the dominant ingredient, flavor and experience of both biscuits was GREASE. I am a person who sometimes doesn’t like house-made chorizo because of too little grease, so I don’t think I’m being too prissy (today). A return visit reinforced the idea that grease was an intentional culinary choice. No one is hungover enough for this much grease.

Tater tots are trendy AF right now as high-end, semi-ironic side dishes — a way to enjoy a quotidian favorite for $18 next to your A5 wagyu.

Tots, with "cheese"EXPAND
Tots, with "cheese"
Philip Kingston

Biscuit Bar does the old-school, un-ironic kind of tots with toppings. The tots themselves are similar to what you get at Sonic, but who doesn’t like those? The problem here is the cheese. I don’t know what cheeses “melted cheese blend” is made of, but I do know they’re found in a stadium.

Almost every aspect of the experience at Biscuit Bar has an off-putting element. The design is super clean, country style but adorned with neon bon (?) mots that suggest that the author poorly translated jokes from another language to English. The friendly and attentive staff is forced to wear these strange word jumbles on their T-shirts, even the misogynistic one from the ’90s novelty rap track.

I applaud the low price point, but does that absolutely require that all the service wear be unsustainable, cheap, plastic and Styrofoam crap?

We need creative concepts aimed at breakfast, but they should all do better than self-service drip coffee from What Our Distributor Carries Roasters. The one unalloyed triumph of the place is a full bar.

The Epic in Deep EllumEXPAND
The Epic in Deep Ellum
Philip Kingston

People who care about Deep Ellum won’t help but notice the setting. Biscuit Bar leases from Westdale’s The Epic development, which is not epic in even the modern, stupid usage of that word. In order to build this architectural middle finger, the city of Dallas required the developer to include ground-floor retail in what is otherwise an office tower. It’s clear they didn’t want to.

The approach to the restaurant is on the north side of the development. I’m confident the general contractor who built it privately called it the “back” or “ass” side of the complex. But you might as well go there anyway because this is the building you just paid millions and millions of dollars to move Uber into.

Across Good-Latimer Expressway, construction is underway on two refugee concepts from Uptown. To the north, I am assured Bottled Blonde is no longer enforcing the nation’s single most racist dress code.

City government would have us believe that Deep Ellum is simply not financially viable without massive subsidies, greatly increased building height and clean, soulless tenants. The Epic did, after all, restore the Knights of Pythias building.

How can that be true mere steps away from funky, old Deep Ellum? I think it’s more likely that the remaining vacancy in the neighborhood is down to other owners waiting to see whether they can also win the zoning and subsidy lottery that Dallas City Hall is running. Nothing in real estate happens in a vacuum. If you love Adair’s Saloon, Off the Record and Revolver Taco Lounge, this suckle-at-the-teat-of-government theory of development makes it less and less likely that DE maintains its funk.

Or if “Baby Got Batch” legitimately amuses you, then DON’T WORRY BE TAPPY.

The Biscuit Bar, 2550 Pacific Ave., Suite 150 (Deep Ellum). Open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

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