The Stanley Marketplace is just bringing out the best in everyone. Established restaurants, new restaurants, shops, breweries – it’s all local and all artisan. There’s good old pizza, beer, doughnuts, coffee and ice cream there, all taken up a notch in scratch-made, artisan goodness. Denver Biscuit Company is no exception. This is the first time the trio of Atomic Cowboy bar/Fat Sully’s Pizza and Denver Biscuit Company have not traveled in threes. This solo opportunity allows DBC to do what it has always wanted to – give the people what they’ve begged for with biscuits in the morning, noon and night.
Fist-size biscuits, perfectly soft inside and crispy outside are the basis for all dishes at DBC, from french toast to biscuits and gravy to sandwiches so tall you just stare at them a while trying to figure out your strategy. We’ve partaken of the biscuit on several occasions at the other locations and at their food truck with mixed reviews. The biscuit is always great but the toppings and fillings can be overpowering like on the extremely popular The Ellsworth with seeded mustard that overwhelmed the chicken/ honey/pickle/biscuit sandwich at the food truck – I had to wipe off the mustard just to be able to eat it. But, oh, the cinnamon roll made out of a biscuit – that is a happy memory I hang onto and think about in quiet moments.
On our first visit to the Denver Biscuit Company at the Stanley, we were struck by the swell, retro atmosphere including the two-story mural of a happy boy and girl in a world of floating southern biscuits – can you blame them? We were also struck by the way-too-loud music. My companion and I, sitting one foot away from each other, had to yell to hear each other. That ain’t right nor necessary! Someone else must have noticed too and turned it down a bit – but not quite enough. With wall-to-wall-to-ceiling-to-floor hard surfaces, noise can get out of hand. I know the staff at many restaurants like to keep their energy flowing with cranked tunes but they have to think of the customers – you know, the ones with the money?
Looking for a little breakfast for dinner, my friend ordered the Three Run Double – Buttermilk Biscuit, 2 eggs, choice of ham steak, sausage or bacon, jam & honey butter. She chose the sausage, housemade with just the right amount of heat. The rhubarb jam, also made in-house was delicious. A standard meal, not much could go wrong.
I debated between the Shrimp & Grits which came with braised pork belly or the Biscuit Pot Pie, an inside-out dish with pot pie filling ladled over a biscuit with lots of mushrooms. I asked our nice server which of the two she’d pick. She said both were her favorites (does she say that about every choice?) but that the Shrimp & Grits was extra special. She recommended them cheesy for $1 more) which was a good choice. The slightly hollowed out biscuit base was filled with grits, then topped with plenty of plump shrimp, nuggets of pork and a tomato broth. The dish had good flavor, through and through, a nice mix of textures but had a tad too much salt. I was content with my choice until I saw the table next to me get the monstrous Chicken Pot Pie Biscuit. Not that I envied the size but it was topped with a tangle of crispy, fried onions. Had I known that, I wouldn’t have hesitated to order that dish! I’m a freak for two things – bacon and tangles of crispy, fried onions. Next time. A chef friend of mine recently told me that diners these days want to know everything that’s going to be on their plates, from ingredients to garnishes. I’m beginning to think that’s true – at least it was for me on this visit.
On another visit, we ordered The Sherman, basically a BLT on a biscuit. Tomato, shredded lettuce, mayo and Tenderbelly bacon, it was fundamental, per its description but it was lacking. Turns out toasted bread adds an element of flavor and texture contrast that really benefits a BLT. A big biscuit was too much of a dough-bomb. Maybe with a more full-flavored, in-season tomato, romaine lettuce and the optional egg on top?
On a third visit (nope, we weren’t turned off, despite iffy visits previously), I finally got me that Chicken Pot Pie with that tangle of fried onions. Bingo! Get it vegetarian or with chicken and that biscuit smothered with pot pie filling. The menu says “Yes, it has mushrooms.” Do they get asked that a lot? I bet so. People either love mushrooms or hate them. I absolutely love them so I was happy the dish had lots. Bring it on! My third visit was a charm. This dish hit it on all four burners – flavor, good texture, variety and not too salty. And, yes, I had leftovers for two more meals!
Getting a to-go box is de rigueur at DBC. Meals are also available to be picked up under the special lit up arrow near the front door. The atmosphere is fun, the service attentive and the food heartier than hearty. Although it’s a little hit or miss, there’s good, southern charm there, for sure.