Here is a first for our blog. We’ve never considered a restaurant for inclusion, dined, declined and then gave them another chance before. Mountain Biscuits, a very busy place on Old 41 between the Church Street Extension and Barrett Parkway, got back on our better side after a less-than-thrilling introduction suggested just enough promise to make me want to give them another try, and while the results still were not quite perfect, the second trip was certainly warranted.
A few Thursdays back, I was looking around for something new to eat or revisit, when Mountain Biscuits came up as a “nearby suggestion” to some place on the Marietta Square that I was considering. They allegedly made a very good chicken sandwich, and so I drove over there to try it. The drive wasn’t at all bad, and the lovely old building, very photogenic, was inspiring. It is no fault of the restaurant, but the illusion of a middle-of-nowhere roadside shack is sadly spoiled by the presence of some condos across the street.
While the service was impeccable and very friendly, I found this chicken sandwich to be completely overrated and overpriced. It wasn’t bad, and I was not offended, but it was incredibly ordinary. It just tasted like an interstate fast food chicken sandwich, and I couldn’t understand why on earth I was paying $5.75(!) for something that tasted like it came from a Wendy’s or something. The bun, in particular, set off the trucked-in alarm. I crossed this place off my “to-blog” list.
But I noticed something curious as I had my lunch. From 11 to 3, six days a week, they offer lunch, with the promise of burgers and barbecue and an overindulgent plate of loaded fries that I might have ordered had the awesome, super-friendly woman at the register not told me that they were frozen fries. While they were not completely packed while I was there, they were nevertheless busy, and despite the lunch hour, every single person who came in seemed to be ordering biscuits instead of typical lunch fare. Were these biscuits really so good that they made for better 1 pm lunches than this ordinary sandwich?
My return was assured when the woman at the register started passing around little sample cups of their potato salad. While I almost never order this anymore for diet reasons, I do certainly love it, and this stuff was incredibly curious and interesting. If you will, it’s baked potato salad, and it tastes a whole lot like a loaded baked potato, with bacon and sour cream. In point of fact, while I have had better, I have never had anything like this, and I believe in celebrating unique dining-out experiences. I also felt that I should be judging a restaurant based on what they make in-house, rather than what some truck brings. If the potato salad was any indication, they really can make some great stuff here.
So two mornings later, while my daughter embarked on a lengthy and detailed makeup job for her Anime Weekend Atlanta costume, Marie and the baby and I paid them a second visit for breakfast. We joined a very long line and were rewarded with some excellent biscuits. They are not, perhaps, quite in the same league as Stilesboro Biscuits a few miles up the road, who set the gold standard, but they’re nevertheless really good. The line’s length is testimony that they are doing something very right.
I think these treats are a little firmer than Stilesboro’s, and Mountain makes them memorable by putting this wonderful concoction called Farmer’s Biscuit Syrup on the tables. It’s sort of a thin molasses and it goes incredibly well with a hot, buttered biscuit of this consistency. Frankly, should we return for breakfast one day, I won’t even bother with any meat filling. As good as the country ham was, and it was quite good, I think drowning a plain biscuit in this delicious goo and eating it with a fork would really be something. Doesn’t that sound insanely indulgent? I’ll do that on a day when I’m planning to eat two ounces of steamed cauliflower for lunch.
I do, however, operate with a pretty strict three-strikes rule where Fox News is concerned. If I do go back for a third visit and the single TV there is still tuned to that propagandist garbage, it will be the last time. Maybe I’ll wait a good while, and see whether they’re giving their lunches the same homemade attention as their breakfast, and told that guy in the Flowers Bakery truck that he no longer needs to bring them those awful buns. The baked potato salad is clearly a step in the right direction and shows what they want to be doing. Hopefully, over time, they’ll refine their lunch recipes further and turn out a chicken sandwich that’s every bit as unique, and warrants the price. If they’ve turned that divisive dirt off the TV, it’ll show that they really mean business.