Biscuit King, the only breakfast joint on Ninth Street where you were likely to encounter a moustache, first opened its doors in 1976 and shut them forever on the afternoon of Feb. 27.
Biscuit King was defined by its customers and decor as much as it was by its food. During occasional visits over the past two years, I witnessed patrons–who typically included firefighters, police officers, mechanics, hospital employees and university students and employees–engage in restaurant-wide conversations covering everything from the “development” of the Ninth Street area, to the inability of Ohio proprietors to manage North Carolina beach motels, to (most recently) the apparent renaissance of whitey-tighties among some men.
On the restaurant’s front window, a painting of a cartoon king brandishing a tray of biscuits welcomed patrons into the blue, cinderblock interior. Twenty kinds of biscuits were available, with themes including molasses, fatback and a “dab o grits.” The lunch menu featured garbageburgers and sweetshot sandwiches, along with barbecue and other Southern delights. Sometimes customers had the opportunity to purchase homemade fried pies, individually wrapped planks of cheddar cheese, and an assortment of random junk scattered around a tabletop.
Shortly before the moment of Biscuit King’s tragic abdication, I trudged through the slush of the most recent winter storm to pay my respects. Inside, the ceiling had sprung over a dozen leaks, which proved too much for the half-dozen buckets to capture and contain. Yet, even as the menus and pictures were being removed from the restaurant’s walls, and the whole ceiling seemed certain to collapse, the remaining customers and employees had found a way to enjoy a few last laughs during the fall of the house of Biscuit King.
(Editor’s note: For those going cold turkey for sweetshot sandwiches, much of the Biscuit King’s breakfast menu is now being served at Charlie’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill, just up Ninth Street, from 6:30 to 10 a.m.)