I’ve had wine flights, beer flights, whiskey flights, and dessert flights. But gravy flights? That’s a new one, even for this food critic. The trio of creamy sauces—one with sausage, one with ham, and one with mushroom—was the first thing that caught my eye looking at the menu for Buford’s Biscuits, which opens today in a homey downtown Leesburg space.
The spot is co-owned by Lauren Barrett and Charles Schech, both formerly of Leesburg restaurant the Wine Kitchen. Chef Julio Opazo, another Wine Kitchen alum who has also worked at the Restaurant at Patowmack Farm, is leading the team.
The main draw are “cathead” biscuits Barrett grew up with in Appalachian Virginia and Tennessee. They’re made with buttermilk and dropped onto sheet pans (some biscuits are made with dough that is folded, rolled, and cut). The name comes from both their shape and size. “Some people would say they’re kind of ugly,” Barrett says. “I think they’re beautiful.”
They’re served plain with jam, or stuffed with kinda-Southern combinations like country ham, homemade pickles, mustard, and cheese fondue, or pimiento cheese, charred tomatoes, and fig jam. Of course there’s fried chicken and of course there’s a Nashville hot chicken sandwich, a style that’s been imitated by many a high-end chef over the last few years. Opaso sets his apart by marinating chicken thighs for two days in a sweet-tea-based brine, then double-battering it, frying it, and using some of the fryer oil in the blazing sauce.
The space, formerly Senor Ramon’s taqueria and the meatball-themed Balls of Glory, has been done up with heirloom cast iron pans, cutting boards, and tea cups from both Barrett’s and Schech’s families.
Barrett had wanted to open her own place for a long time, but had never considered a biscuit shop until she visited places like Biscuit Head in Asheville and Early Bird Biscuit Co. in Richmond. She and Schech have big plans for the space, which is currently offering socially distanced tables inside, on the front porch, and in the back parking lot. A catering arm is next, she says, “and we definitely see branching out in different locations—even different states.”
For now, you’ll have to get your gravy flight here in Loudoun County, with a glass of wine or cocktail to go alongside it.
Buford’s Biscuits, 15 Loudoun St., SE; 703-687-7699. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 AM to 3 PM (or until they run out, which Barrett says has been closer to 12:30 PM).