There's become a trend arising across the nation. It's not a new concept as most of us could find them in our mothers' kitchens. I'm talking about biscuits. Hand made, good ole' southern biscuits. Here in Jacksonville, we have a place that doesn't just specialize in the buttermilk flaky biscuits that they create in-house, but what they put inside of them. Maple Street Biscuit Company is a local restaurant that's been around for a little over a year in the San Marco Square but has grown tremendously. Since opening up in November of 2012 the owners Scott Moore and Gus Evans were taken back at how popular they quickly became. They were so welcomed by the community they decided to open another location in Jacksonville Beach with Chris Sears in the summer of 2013.
If you've been to Maple Street, you're probably nodding your head in agreement with what I'm saying. If you haven't heard about Maple Street and wondering what's so special about a biscuit, let me just tell you.
If you're like me, you like to know the heart behind a place, so I'm going to start with just that. There's a heart beat behind Maple Street that isn't just about making money; it's about being involved in a community. Owners Scott Moore and Gus Evans set out with a few core values - consistent southern comfort food with a modern twist, immaculate clean store, and gracious service. They also decided from the very beginning that they wouldn't be a place of advertisement, but they'd be a word of mouth type of business. They'd encourage you to tell your friends and bring them back with you. They've even designed it so tables are community styled sitting. A modern rustic atmosphere that makes you feel right at home. It's a feel-good place that uses good food to produce good products.
Before I get into the sandwiches, let me give a notable mention to their coffee selection. With this being a word of mouth type of place, I feel I owe you this information. Their coffee is organic and locally roasted just for them on a weekly basis. It's ground each morning to maintain freshness. There are four coffees to choose from; dark bark, light amber, decaf, and my personal favorite and most popular, maple tap.
Now let's delve into the sandwiches because you can love the heart beat behind a place but their gracious service better match up to their products. And oh boy does it ever. Starting with their most popular sandwich: The Five and Dime - five ingredients plus an egg which they call the dime. The San Marco location is where the old Peterson's five and dime store was once located, so history lives on through gravy and butter. Flaky biscuit, all natural fried chicken breast, pecan wood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, and house-made gravy dousing this, oh and nice fried egg. The gravy is really what it's all about for me on this sandwich. Almost everything on their menu is made in house including the gravy. I'll give you a fair warning: their gravy does have a kick but it's the beating that makes you coming back with friends.
The Farmer! Biscuit, chicken, bacon, cheese, and house made apple butter. I don't know what else to tell you but that apple butter comes in jars and if you get addicted, you can buy it and eat it at home and profess your love to it outside of judgement zones.
If you're in the mood to try something really unique, get the Loaded Goat. Chicken biscuit and a piece of what they call, a goat cheese medallion. That goat cheese is breaded in a panko thyme breading and put on their grill to fry and melt a little bit. Put that melty piece of goat cheese on a chicken biscuit and I'm in heaven. If you add their house made pepper jelly to it then you've ordered the Squawking Goat and my personal favorite.
Listen, I'm not from the South so I didn't realize that if you're a Southern restaurant you need to have collard greens. Now I know that you do, and I know now that everyone has an idea of the right way to make them. I believe that Maple Street is on point with their collards. Like with everything else, they've added a little kick to theirs. The garden bird is a chicken biscuit, a good portion of collards, an over easy egg, and a splash of hot sauce. Eat this sandwich and you'll question if you were ever not a southerner.
I've just highlighted a few notable sandwiches; they have a menu packed full of different sandwiches, and sides galore. I know the photos are tempting so let me wrap this up and tell you where exactly to go.
San Marco- 2004 San Marco Blvd or Jacksonville Beach- 410 North 3rd Street.
This place is busting at its seams with potential of much more growth. Take a group with you and eat as much gravy as you can handle and maybe take a nap afterwards. Talk to Scott, Gus, or Chris and see what I mean when I talk about community and gracious service.
Photography by Morgan Burden (Hand lettering by Amanda Lenhardt)