If there can be multiple fried chicken and doughnut joints in D.C., why not two biscuit pop-ups?
While plenty of attention has been lavished upon Mason Dixie Biscuit Company, which is currently operating out of Park View "pop-uppery" EatsPlace, Biscuit Lab Baking Co. is just getting started. The newest biscuit biz is set to host its first pop-up at Lyman's Tavern beginning Oct. 26.
Biscuit Lab comes from Flying Fish Coffee and Tea owner Michael Visser and his roommate Phil Coppersmith, a former government contractor. Coppersmith says they didn't know about Mason Dixie Biscuit Company when they first conceptualized their idea. (Such coincidences happen often.) They found out about it when a friend sent Coppersmith a link to Mason Dixie's Kickstarter campaign and asked, "Is this you guys?"
"They are way, way ahead of us, way better organized," Coppersmith says. "They're probably six to eight months ahead of us."
Visser first wanted to open a bar where biscuits would be the only thing served, but he and Coppersmith decided it would be best to just focus on the biscuits. They started experimenting with recipes at their Columbia Heights apartment, inviting friends over to get feedback. The roommates then found out that new food incubator Mess Hall was hosting a competition for up-and-coming food businesses called LaunchPad. That motivated them to actually put together a business plan. They didn't win. Coincidentally, Mason Dixie did.
Flying Fish doesn't have the kitchen capacity or equipment for them produce the biscuits there, so they arranged to do a pop-up at Lyman's Tavern. The biscuits will be available on Sundays from 11 to 3 p.m. beginning Oct. 26 and possibly expanding to Saturdays over the course of at least six weeks. Their goal is to eventually open their own shop.
The pop-up menu will include basic buttermilk biscuits plus egg and cheese sandwiches with bacon, ham, or sausage. There will also be one "fancy thing," Coppersmith says. To start, that will be the "Red Neck Benedict," an open-face biscuit with ham, slow-poached egg, and red eye sausage gravy.
In addition to the buttermilk biscuits, which need dry and cold dough, Biscuit Lab will make drop biscuits, which are really wet and, in this case, cooked in muffin tins. The drop biscuits will come in flavors like pumpkin spice with maple icing, black pepper with honey butter cream, and apricot with aged gouda.
"We're going to have to find a way to differentiate ourselves," Coppersmith says. He thinks the drop biscuits might be one way to do that. Either way, he thinks there's enough biscuit business to go around. "There are how many burger places in D.C.? Two dozen? And they all can co-exist side by side."
Photo courtesy Biscuit Lab