As evident by my love for Crane Ramen and Ameraucana Wood Fire (RIP, never forget), it’s no secret I’m particularly fond of restaurants that do one thing and do one thing very very well. So if you follow me on Instagram and noticed the barrage of biscuit sandwiches, you’ll know of my affinity for Maple Street Biscuit Company. The restaurant born in Jacksonville recently opened a Gainesville location at 3904 SW Archer Road (next to the big Publix) to tremendous fanfare, and the place absolutely does not disappoint.
Here’s a restaurant that takes a simple thing and goes absolutely bonkers with it. The menu is formidable, with a variety of biscuit sandwiches that range from The Five & Dime (fried chicken breast, smoked bacon, cheddar, sausage gravy, and egg) for $9 to the Squawking Goat (fried chicken, fried goat cheese, house made pepper jelly) for $8 to The Garden Bird (over-easy egg, collard greens, chicken breast, and hot sauce) for $7. In all, there are over 20 different sandwiches to choose from. I’ve sampled six of them so far, and every single one has been wonderful. Other highlights include The Sticky Maple (fried chicken, smoked bacon, drenched in real maple syrup) for $7, The Farmer (fried chicken, smoked bacon, cheddar, house-made apple butter) for $7, and The Wildwood Deluxe (shiitake mushroom gravy and over-easy egg) for $6.
The chicken is flavorful, the sausage gravy is some of the best in town, even the collard greens were really tasty. Don’t miss out on any of their homemade jams or jellies either. I’m in love with the pepper jelly. It’s not spicy, but has wonderful sweet pepper flavors. It is also worth noting that there are vegetarian options available, and the option to substitute sausage gravy with their house-made shiitake mushroom gravy.
Whatever you’re ordering, don’t forget the sides. There’s several varieties of a “Hashup”, which are home fries with chopped smoke ham, peppers, grilled onions, mushrooms, and cheese. Mac and cheese, oatmeal, sweet potato fries (get these), grits, and fried green tomatoes are available as well. The restaurant even grinds their own brand of coffee every morning. The beans are roasted at the Julington Creek location and shipped whole to the Gainesville location. I’m not usually a fan of flavored coffees, but their maple-infused “Maple Tap” roast has a wonderful aroma with just a hint of maple on the finish. It’s a fantastic, low acidity, and very smooth brew that really surprised me for being a restaurant cup of coffee. Oh, and please save room for the Iced Cinnamon Pecan biscuit. It’s a pecan and cinnamon filled biscuit completely covered in icing.
If you’re asking yourself why all the fuss over biscuits, consider the following. Not only is the food really tasty, it’s actually really great quality as well. Maple Street uses all natural chicken with no added hormones. Their jams, maple mustard, honey mustard, ranch dressing, and pepper jelly are made in-house every day. The maple syrup comes from Bissell Family Farms, who have been producing pure maple syrup for over 150 years. Of course, the biscuits are made in-house as well, and are just absolute soft, flakey, buttery heaven. In short, they give a shit, and believe me you can taste it.
They’ve even nailed the ambiance of the place. It’s your standard issue wooden-everything, Edison bulbs, and nu-farmhouse trendy goodness. But it’s a fun environment. The seating is communal to encourage guest to guest interactions, the staff is all smiles, and it’s lively. Even the ordering process is just a little different. Despite being your standard order-at-the-counter service, they’ve put their own twist on it. Instead of asking for the guest’s name, they’ll ask a rotating question like “What’s Your Favorite Band?” When your food is ready, they’ll call it out. Which could be a good thing or a public shaming depending on what band you name (someone said Backstreet Boys while I was there and I judged). Of course, you could always be like me and say “This is Sparta!” then watch the counter worker fully commit to his best 300 impression.
It has been some time since I’ve gushed this much over a new restaurant, but it’s truly a wonderful addition to our fast-improving food scene. And if the success of places like Maple Street Biscuit Company, Crane Ramen, and Cilantro Tacos are any indication, then we’re headed in the right direction.
Maple Street Biscuit Company is open Monday through Saturday from 7 AM to 2 PM. They will soon add evening hours on the weekends, and will consider opening select Sundays during football season. 3904 SW Archer Road next to the big Publix, and in the former Barnes & Nobles location.