Biscuit + Gravy + Egg at G.E.B.
Another option only available for brunch, the biscuit + gravy + egg ($11) features a towering house-made biscuit that is crowned with a poached egg and surrounded by a pool of rich, stock-fueled gravy. Though it looks impressive, there is a method behind this madness. The biscuit is actually hollow, and you're instructed by the waiter to puncture the egg with your knife, so that the yolk slowly oozes down the middle of the edible cylinder. Each bite is just slightly over the top, but thanks to the light and fluffy biscuit, it's never completely overwhelming.
Biscuit with Butter and Jam at Bang Bang Pie Shop
At Bang Bang Pie Shop, you're handed a freshly-baked biscuit ($2.50) in a paper boat and directed to the butter and jam bar. You can opt for ham or bacon instead, but the line-up of toppings is too great to miss—think chive butter or blueberry and lavender jam. My favorite combination is salted butter and strawberry jam, since the salty-sweet combination is just spot-on. The biscuits have a soft, fluffy interior while the exterior has a nice golden edge.
Biscuit and Egg Sandwich at Old Town Social
Jared Van Camp's Old Town restaurant is most known for its exceptional charcuterie, but on the weekends it slowly morphs into a generous Southern kitchen, with grits, beignets, and cornbread all making an appearance. But don't overlook the biscuits, which are flaky, buttery, and soft. I went with the biscuit and egg sandwich ($3), a seemingly straightforward, but exceedingly tasty way to start a Saturday.
Biscuit De Jambon at Toni Patisserie
Toni Patisserie goes the breakfast sandwich route with the Biscuit De Jambon ($4.25). The buttermilk biscuit is stuffed with folded slices of French-style ham, a melted layer of nutty gruyere, and a roasted red pepper jam that adds an element of sweetness and takes the sandwich to the next level.
Traditional Farmstead Biscuits at Big Jones
Big Jones’ Traditional Farmstead Biscuits ($4) are made with house-rendered leaf lard and served with sweet cream butter and raspberry preserves. You get two to an order, and they’re served warm enough to melt the softened butter before adding the sweet preserves. Or, you can do what I did and get a side of thick-cut bacon and stick a slice between the two halves of the biscuit, which are dusted with salt and have a soft flaky crumb.
Cheddar and Bacon Biscuits at Three Aces
Usually biscuits need a partner, whether that's gravy, eggs, any kind of cured pork product you can imagine. But at Three Aces, the biscuits ($8.00) are a self contained unit, with only smoked honey butter on the side to help things out. So why are these good to go? Well, the restaurant kind of cheats, incorporating pale ale, cheddar cheese, and house-made bacon in the finished product. Everything you need is all right there, making this the ideal biscuit if you don't feel like extending any sort of effort.
Biscuits and Gravy at Handlebar
Unless you’re starving, opt for the half-size of Handlebar’s biscuits with seitan gravy ($4). A single whole wheat biscuit swims in a pool of salty gravy that has clusters of seitan, sweet onions, and a sprinkling of chives. This biscuit is the densest I encountered, but the gravy softens it up quite a bit.
Biscuits at Ruby's Restaurant
Replacing a classic soul-food spot like Edna's in Garfield Park is a tall order, but Ruby's Restaurant did everything right, mostly by keeping the menu nearly the same. While there are all kinds of incredible things to try, no visit is complete with an order of the biscuits. Made from scratch every morning, they are pillowy and just slightly sweet. You can get them plain, with a rich dark gravy, or even as a sandwich—just make sure you try them.
Ruby's Restaurant, 3175 West Madison Street, Chicago, IL 60612 (map); 773-638-5875
Egg and Cheeser Sandwich at Sweet Maple Cafe
Beloved by UIC students and anyone else with a serious soft spot for breakfast, Sweet Maple Cafe is one of those homey and comfortable joints that every neighborhood should have. Though the menu is large, it'd be a mistake to avoid the freshly made square biscuits, which can be ordered on the side, dressed with gravy, or served as a sandwich. I went with the latter, ordering the Egg and Cheeser ($4.90). The massive sandwich works, but can mysteriously be improved by adding a smear of the homemade applesauce served on the side.
Trucker Bowl at Flying Saucer
For some reason, I had always thought of the Flying Saucer as some kind of healthy vegan diner. And sure, there are loads of vegetarian and vegan options, but it can bring the ridiculousness if needed. Take the named trucker bowl ($10.50), a literal bowl featuring home fries, two eggs, country gravy, cheddar, ham, scallions, and, at the center of it all, two freshly made biscuits. It was hard to quite appreciate the intricacies of the biscuits under the blanket of food, but they were buttery, soft, and up to the meaty challenge.