Photograph by Drew Podo
Homegrown, nestled between overgrown lots and a body shop, doesn’t look like a place for a superior breakfast. Neither does their trademark comfy biscuit, a messy, chaotic jumble of fried chicken and sausage gravy, garnished with an ironically thin orange slice. And yet, this is the dish that helped earn the diner city-wide acclaim.“It’s just simple Southern food,” says Kevin Clark, chef and owner of Homegrown. “It’s comforting. It feels like you’re at your grandmother’s house.”
Clark freely admits that he didn’t invent the dish, but his version is certainly the best one in the city. The freshly-baked, buttery, “true-southern” biscuits and made-to-order buttermilk brined chicken stand out, but it’s the rich, thick gravy that sets it apart. While “you could almost just eat the gravy as a meal,” he made sure that it didn’t overwhelm everything else.
Clark wouldn’t dream of taking the dish off the menu now, but when he first opened in 2010, it didn’t even make the initial draft. “It was something the staff would eat because it was quick and easy,” Clark says.
Sometime around the end of 2011, he decided to add it on.“I thought the kitchen was going to walk out. Every single ticket had the comfy on it. It was ridiculous,” Clark says. The kitchen served more than 200 biscuits that day. It’s been on the menu ever since.
Clark has a counter by the register to track the number of comfy orders, but he says that it probably isn’t accurate. He estimates that the restaurant serves more than 400 orders of the biscuit each week. “[The Comfy] has taken on a life of it’s own,” Clark says. “When I’m out, people will call me Comfy.”