Dining With Denise Neil

For the love of biscuits and gravy

Wichitans who eat breakfast mostly agree on this: Biscuits and gravy rule.

And they love them even more if the gravy is heavy on the sausage and the biscuits are homemade.

Recently, I asked readers of Dining with Denise to tell me who serves the best biscuits and gravy, a down-home carbfest found on nearly every breakfast menu in town. I heard from hundreds of people, and each named their favorite place to order the dish.

The lead nominee was Doo-Dah Diner, a 4-year-old breakfast-and-lunch restaurant at 206 E. Kellogg that serves up giant plates of morning goodness. Chef Patrick Shibley arrives at the restaurant before dawn each day, and he and his staff mix up dozens of buttery biscuits and vats of sausage gravy that’s heavy on the milk and cream.

Biscuits and gravy aren’t especially difficult to make, Shibley said. But how good they turn out depends on how much the chef cares.

“I think every restaurant has an idea of how to make biscuits and gravy,” he said. “It really just comes down to the pride and the passion the chef has, if they want to put out powdered stuff or if they want to put out the real thing.”

The biscuits and gravy that got the second most reader nominations come from relative restaurant newcomer Garden of Eatin’, whose owners, Rebecca Amos and her brother Kevin, have not only a food truck but also a stationary restaurant at 612 E. Douglas.

Rebecca Amos said she recently started opening the restaurant a little earlier when the employees at neighboring business Espresso to Go Go discovered her biscuits and gravy and started demanding them every morning.

Amos makes hers with a lot of seasoning. The gravy has chili flakes, garlic, salt and black pepper in it, and she uses a maple sausage.

She knows how she likes her biscuits and gravy and tries to give her customers the same thing.

“I have had biscuits and gravy at so many places and worked at places where it comes out of a package and you’re crumbling in yesterday’s sausage. That’s so gross,” she said. “Biscuits and gravy should be like a party in your mouth. That’s what I feel like people really like.”

Here are some of the other restaurants whose biscuits and gravy got multiple mentions from readers:

Greystone Steak & Seafood, 9719 E. 21st St.: This upscale restaurant just added a Sunday brunch that starts at 10:30 a.m. and features a menu of breakfast favorites. Biscuits and gravy are on the menu, and several of those who commented said Greystone’s version is tops. “Their biscuits and gravy are to die for with the perfect amount of pepper in their gravy to give it the right kick,” said Ian Luzer.

Public at the Brickyard, 129 N. Rock Island: Diners raved about the unusual biscuits and gravy on Public’s Sunday brunch menu. They’re made with a smoked chicken-and-leek gravy on top of homemade cheddar-and-chive biscuits.

Jimmie’s Diner, 3111 N. Rock Road, 1519 George Washington Drive, 2121 N. Tyler: One of the stars of this old-time diner’s breakfast menu is its old-time biscuits and gravy. Reader Gary Herman said the biscuits taste just like the ones from the restaurant’s predecessor, King’s X. “They’re almost as good as grandma’s and mom’s,” he said. “The biscuits are soft and flaky and just melt in your mouth.”

Old Mill Tasty Shop, 604 E. Douglas: This historic soda fountain opens for brunch only on Saturday mornings, and biscuits and sausage gravy are a favorite on the menu.

Riverside Cafe, 739 W. 13th St.: This local breakfast restaurant makes Eric Hudson’s favorite biscuits and gravy. “The biscuits are always moist and soft – never dried out,” he said. “The sausage gravy is great as well.” There’s also a Riverside Cafe at 2539 W. Pawnee.

The Beacon, 909 E. Douglas: The Beacon, an old diner in downtown Wichita, knows diner food, and several people say their biscuits and gravy exemplify it. And the biscuits are big.

Beautiful Day Cafe, 2516 E. Central: This restaurant makes biscuits and gravy either fully loaded or vegan-friendly with mushrooms and serves them over multigrain biscuits on Saturdays and Sundays.

Livingston’s Cafe, 4733 E. Douglas: The former Jeanne’s Cafe lists biscuits and gravy under the “favorites” section of the breakfast menu, which pretty much sums it up.

Denise Neil: 316-268-6327, @deniseneil

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