***UPDATE: Rise & Shine opened on 1/1/10. Get thee to the biscuitry!***
Otherwise titled: Blogger & Bicyclist Becomes Boffo Barista & Biscuit Baker!
Not so fast, though. Even when it dawned on the author of So This Is Your Life (& fellow Platt Park resident) Seth Rubin that the title of his blog applied to him too, he wasn’t entirely sure about ditching his gig as a construction project manager to become the proprietor of Rise & Shine Biscuit Kitchen and Cafe, opening in early January to serve breakfast, lunch, & coffee at 330 Holly St., in a cute little space he’s sharing with Basil Doc’s (he’ll close when the take-out outlet opens, at 4:30pm).
“I was gonna have [Basil Doc’s owner] Mike Miller talk me out of the restaurant business, knowing how hard it is,” Rubin tells me when I swing by for a look-see. Instead his cycling buddy said, “We’ve got space at 3rd and Holly. It’s between two really great neighborhoods”—namely Crestmoor and Hilltop—”without their own coffeehouse.” (Starbucks had been in negotiations a few years back to move into the little mall that contains Locando del Borgo, but the deal fell through.) “So it ends up being about as low-risk as you could ever imagine for the restaurant business, with a clientele of multimillionaires I can educate on the finer points of coffee.”
Not a multimillionaire himself, Rubin has relied on his training in urban & environmental planning to redo the storefront’s interior. “I’ve gotten things up and running for less than a new espresso machine costs,” he laughs (he got his own machine from a former coffeehouse owner in Louisville ). “They should rename Craig’s List. I own it now.”
“You can’t get a biscuit in this town,” the North Carolina transplant notes. “The only biscuit people have been able to come up with is Lucile’s, which is cakey and sheet-cut. My own inspiration is a place called Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen in Chapel Hill. People would line up before football games to get ’em, wrapped in deli paper” (which is how Rubin plans to serve them as well).
Though he admits a short stint at Café Europa constitutes the extent of his pro career, he’s been cooking seriously since he was a kid. “Going way back in my biscuit history, it was my sister who made terrific biscuits,” he says, with one caveat—they contained eggs. “A biscuit should be flour, salt, baking powder, butter, and buttermilk. That’s it. Look on the back of the old Clabber Girl boxes or in The Joy of Cooking. That’s basically the recipe you’ll find. It’s not a big secret.”
To prove it, Rubin starts baking some right then & there.
Though you can order them plain, of course, he’ll offer a hell of an array: not only a variety of egg sandwiches but also roast beef with cheddar & horseradish, turkey with havarti & honey-mustard, a BLT, a vegetarian option, a biscuit dog, & one super-special sandwich about which mum’s the word for the nonce. There’ll even be cinnamon rolls made from biscuit dough. Cookies will come courtesy of the owner of North Star, Tattered Cover’s onetime purveyor, who’s now restarting operations.
Still, that plain biscuit is pretty damn special all by its lonesome—being moist &, as an acquaintance recently described Ritz crackers, “effing buttery.”
“At my other job,” Rubin recalls, “I was looking at a clock at 9:15 and saying, ‘Crap, I have to be here until 4:45.’ Here, there’s always just one more thing I want to do before I leave. Then I get home, and I can’t sleep, so I’ll read the health code.”
More power, & baking powder, to him, eh? More when Rise & Shine opens its doors.