Wake the Day with Greensboro’s Rise Biscuits and Donuts
Greensboro might very well be the most important crossroads in Southern breakfast staples. The city is almost exactly in the middle between some of the most famed biscuit and donut makers in the world but you really can’t get the best of both in the same location.
Well, at least that’s the case until Saturday, Nov. 5. On that day Rise will open in Greensboro’s Friendly Center. This newest location of the growing North Carolina-based early day treats chain will be offering great upscale donuts and biscuits to suit everyone’s taste, whether savory or sweet.
Owners Rick Robinson and Ken Priest were looking for a good location to open a new Rise location in Greensboro and heard about the new building being finished in Friendly Center just between Whole Foods and the Apple Store. “The fact that they had a spot in Friendly Center and right there in that place was just great,” Robinson said. “My dad grew up here in Greensboro and with us visiting our grandparents a lot, I knew what a big deal Friendly Center was. And I think we’ll fit in well, because good donuts make for good neighbors.”
Robinson and his partner already own the Rise franchise serving the Carrboro/Chapel Hill area (and an upcoming one in Winston-Salem), but they’ve been in business together for some time, starting in the San Francisco Bay Area and moving on the New York City before heading back to Robinson’s native North Carolina roots.
“My experience had always been in the back of the house as a chef while Ken has over 30 years of experience working the front of the house in systems operations and hospitality,” Robinson said. His early work with the founder of Rise led to the partners’ investment in the franchise. The change in how the restaurants operated were also a major plus for them.
Robinson explained that high end quick serve restaurants like this one were quite attractive to people who had spent a lot of years working in the traditional restaurant industry. Customer interface opportunities and artisan food are great, but the change in working hours is a welcome change to many. While Rise will be open seven days a week, the shop will only be open from 7 am to 2 pm each day.
“While that means our workers could work another job if they wanted to,” Robinson said, “it also means that they could get off work early enough to pick up the kids from school and have some family time.”
The commitment to a good working environment is also a commitment to producing great food. All the biscuits and donuts will be made on site and the menu is extensive. There’s also a commitment to local sourcing of as many ingredients as possible, like North Carolina-made country ham and sausage.
So, about that food. On the savory side of the menu, they offer the classic biscuit pairings like country ham, bacon or sausage, plus their own fried chicken (brined and breaded in house). You could also choose for a bit of nostalgia and have a slice of fried bologna on your biscuit or go the adventurous route and try their eggplant “bacon” strips. There’s also a potato hash cake with cheddar cheese and should you really want a taste of the South, just ask them to add pimento cheese or a fried egg to your biscuit. If you’re sneaking in around lunchtime, load that biscuit up with lettuce, tomato and red onion with a bit of Duke’s mayo and you’re good to go. You can also get a savory twist on the classic pigs in a blanket favorite, try the mac and cheese biscuit or go all in with a fried green tomato biscuit with pimento cheese and arugula.
And then there’s the donuts.
There’s a glazed donut that will rival the best the region has ever produced as well as plenty of chocolate iced ones and old fashioned donuts with lemon icing, cinnamon twists and even a vanilla iced classic with sprinkles for those times when you just need something to brighten the day. There are a number of new wave donut types available, too. Crème Brule ones are right there alongside maple bacon bars, chocolate chocolate cake donuts, hearty apple fritters and a pineapple-basil filled donut with pistachios. You can bet there will be daily specials as well, both classic and experimental.
Rise will be holding its Grand Opening on Saturday, November 5 at Friendly Center. Hours of operation will run 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. every day. They are available for catering and large pre-orders. You can learn more about them at www.risebiscuitsdonuts.com.