dishes from the biscuit joint photo by mabel suen

The Biscuit Joint serves interesting takes on breakfast fare in Midtown St. Louis

If you're hoping for a Cinnabon, the Biscuit Joint at 2649 Washington Ave. in Midtown is not the place for you. Because this one, here, is definitely not that. And thank goodness. For starters, it's — blessedly — a quarter of the size and more resembles a little rosette than a breeze block; it's prettily spiraled, judiciously iced and since it's made of biscuit batter rather than yeast dough, it has less bounce and a far more interesting flake. How come, we asked, someone didn't think of this excellent idea sooner?

Paradoxically light and dense, it's all things: tender and a little bit scone-y inside, crunchy and a tiny bit crisp outside. But its main charm is that it's fragrant with spices 1,000 times more intriguing than cinnamon. Imagine, rather, a paste of star anise and clove; conjure the lovely perfume of toasted fennel. To boot, there's a fairy pinch of five spice somewhere in this curlicue. One bite in and we aren't on Washington Avenue, but thinking about the palm-fringed Moluccas and how quickly we could snag an Uber to the Spice Route.

the biscuit joint in downtown st. louis // photo by mabel suen


Elliott Brown, chef and owner of the Biscuit Joint, is also chef and owner of Dinner at the Loft. That business, which started as a pop-up, morphed after the pandemic to become private, in-home dining. Brown has a Cordon Bleu background, a lovely smiley face, and big plans in his head; the Biscuit Joint's location in Midtown, he says, is now the perfect place to house a pop-up (no extra rent to pay).

The thing is, here at the Biscuit Joint, the foundation is exceptionally sound: The biscuits confidently know themselves to be top-notch and then humbly stand by for fillings and gravies that are delicious — bacon that tastes of smoke, hot cheese and eggs; sweet, cool pickles; a vegetarian gravy involving mushrooms and sage; and two types (pork and chicken) of housemade, pankoed patty (although, rather generally, whoa, the salt!).

I'm a sucker for jams and jellies — as long as they're not on toast. Give them to me with sausage, give them with lamb. And definitely put some on the bacon and egg sandwich (named the Papa) and mysteriously call it "juke."

"What's 'juke jam?' I said to myself, having yet to Google and find that it's a Chance the Rapper song (which then made sense, because everything about this place is coolio). In any event, and Chance aside, it's a jam made in-house of strawberries and peaches. I was so there.

I was also there for fried chicken with Calabrian chile aioli, and there again for housemade pork chorizo gravy, scattered with scallion. It all just seems to work. None of this food screams Jenny Craig, but the portions are modest and the ingredients quality.

the biscuit joint chef-owner elliot brown // photo by mabel suen


The Biscuit Joint is in a small storefront with an open kitchen offering a clear view of the action. When we visited, the sage-flecked, fennel-strewn, house-ground chicken was being rolled into tidy balls, weighed and packed in a very large Tupperware box. They were clearly expecting company.

The man doing the rolling, whom I learned was Cameron, was grooving a little as he worked, with Eminem on the turntable ("Guess who's back," etc.). It was contagious. The others started up, still holding their frypans, still flipping their eggs. I almost got going myself.

There was a special the day we went — bananas foster something-or-other.

"It's been popular," said the woman at the till. "We've already sold 10." It was barely 9 a.m. And after I'd made quick work of No. 11, I could see why. It was a biscuit's turn at being bread pudding. Two thick slabs glistened with a caramelly sauce that more than whispered banana were draped with a ribbon of everyone's favorite member of the Musaceae family. It wasn't the prettiest thing in the world — a lot of brown — but it didn't matter. For someone who adores banana derivatives (pudding, shakes, taffy, body wash and so on) even more than bananas themselves, it was a breakfast (I guess?) of the gods.

As for the environs, the Biscuit Joint is a penny's toss from the dismally lumpen Wells Fargo complex (good move; they're a ravenous bunch), and directly next door to Omen Coffee, also wise since the Joint doesn't serve Joe (yet), offering instead a small selection of non-alcoholic drinks (orange juice, cola, bottled water, etc.). Omen is relatively new to the neighborhood as well; it opened early last year and plays a part in Brown's business plan, which seems to be all about good-spirited collaboration.

"We're catching a flow," Brown says. "The community is embracing us like crazy."

Being at the Biscuit Joint is like happening on the kitchen at a party when you're trying to find the bathroom or get away from the boring person who's been bending your ear about his portfolio for an hour. It's where the real fun is. It's where the cool cats hang and the conversations flow free, away from the stuffy old chintz of the living room.

Think silvery ducts and exposed brick. Think black walls and a stone wall pinned with a sign that says LOVE ALWAYS. Think industrial lights, 18 or so leathery/retro counter seats and one beast of a stove. And then summon to your ears a playlist of classics that smack, and a small handful of smiley biscuit enthusiasts — nay, specialists — chillin' along in time.

"I love working with just a few humble ingredients," Brown says, going on to list flour, butter, buttermilk and baking soda. He forgot alchemy, but it's def in there somewhere.

The Biscuit Joint is open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

This article was originally published by the Riverfront Times.