Rise Biscuits & Donuts is a North Carolina chain of breakfast eateries with locations in Durham, Morrisville, Carrboro, and Raleigh, and new locations opening in Charlotte and Wilmington soon. Their website proclaims their vision of serving great food at an affordable price point, made with premium quality ingredients by people who care. I had been hearing about Rise for some time, usually with fervent adoration, and the insistence of “you haaaave to try it.” Based on this, I decided that a rainy Spring morning would be ideal for visiting. My logic was that the rain would drive away the lines usually seen out front (also it was the wife’s birthday and she wanted to go, so there it was). I was wrong.
Before we go any further, I have to admit that I was approaching Rise with healthy skepticism. The hype was just too much, from too many people, I felt like everyone was just convincing one another that this was some kind of artisanal donut/biscuit thing and if you didn’t say how great it was, you just didn’t get it. There was just no way it could be as amazing as everyone was saying. I was wrong again.
Upon entering, I first observed a donut + biscuit = heart shaped art thing and thought “how true it is…”, but then I noticed the line…and the lack of places to sit. The Rise disciples will not be deterred by weather, will be out in droves always, and will eat standing up. Upon approaching the counter there was a glass case full of awesome looking donuts and pastries (the apple fritter is as big as my head, and I have a noggin). The girl behind the counter had the disposition of a wet paper bag and couldn’t be bothered to smile, or really say anything. At this point I thought, “yup, here we go…all aboard the artisanal, too cool to care hype train”, but then a funny thing happened. The price was totally reasonable, not an inflated artisanal price, but a reasonable, normal price for a bacon egg and cheese biscuit (it was like $3 and change, I don’t remember exactly). I happily walked over to waiting area.
While waiting, you can peep through a little hole in the wall and watch the kitchen staff buzzing around like manic worker bees, assembling, frying, baking, and running orders. I’m sure kids love this type of stuff, but I felt bad for the people working. I wouldn’t want to be constantly watched at work, but they seemed not to notice.
A much friendlier seeming man brought the orders out, and when I heard him call my name I proceeded forth to claim my biscuity prize. It came in a Rise branded bag, wrapped in Rise branded paper, and was an impressive specimen upon unwrapping. I forgot my little tape measure, so I used a quarter for referencing size as seen in the pics below. It was of noble stature, not gargantuan, but not small (it was a little shorter than I had envisioned). The golden yellow biscuit contained a single fried egg, some great thick cut bacon, and a slice of cheese. I have to say that the best part of this biscuit was the bacon. It was very flavorful, and its smoky character really compliments the buttery (but not greasy) Rise biscuit. The biscuit itself was an absolute champ, it didn’t crumble away, held together like you would hope, and had an impossibly light but substantial texture. I think the buttery flavor sans greasy texture is accomplished through a bit of extra flour, I noticed that it had a bit of a floury thing going on. I kind of inhaled it honestly, so the truly unique floury undertones went somewhat unappreciated until the end of the experience, but it was good.
I’d like to revisit and try some of pastries next time…Rise, you are as good as the hype.
Tune in next time when I begin part one of what will be a summer long run of beer reviews from the Bull Durham Beer Company from their ballpark brewery!