Pine State Biscuits: Heart Attack on a Plate
2204 NE Alberta St., Portland, OR
Portlandians love their biscuits. We stumbled upon Pine State Biscuits on Alberta Street when we were looking for the Waffle Window. It was late, and the Waffle Window had closed at 10 pm so we opted for biscuits instead. The Alberta Street location of Pine State Biscuits opens until 1 am on Friday and Saturday nights for happy hour. $5 biscuits, how awesome is that?
I knew exactly what I wanted to order: the famous Reggie, fried chicken, bacon and cheese smothered with gravy sandwiched in a fluffy biscuit.
They add full fat yogurt AND buttermilk into their biscuits at Pine State. Is that the secret to the buttery fluffiness? I have to try this at home.
We could smell the biscuits even before we went in. The rich little pastries are made fresh, you can spy the kitchen staff mixing flour and kneading dough in the window facing NE 22nd Ave.
Biscuits are the ultimate comfort food, filling, homey and buttery. The three owners of Pine State Biscuits opened their restaurant just because of that: because they missed the biscuits back home in North Carolina. College buddies, Walt, Kevin and Brian became known to Portlandians as “The Biscuit Boys” after they launched Pine State Biscuits at the Portland Farmers Market in 2006.
I first heard about Pine State Biscuits on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and ‘The Reggie’ has been on my eating wishlist ever since. The Reggie totally exceeded my expectations, piled high with a big, moist piece of fried chicken with bacon and gravy, we had to eat this monster with a knife and fork.
The gravy is something we still remember, rich, thick and creamy. It was peppery and dense. You can barely see it but there’s also a huge piece of chicken under all that biscuit and gravy. The chicken was covered with a crispy batter and the inside was moist and juicy. A great pairing to the crispy strips of bacon, which are also barely visible under all that gravy.
The biscuits were substantial and also fluffy. They were the perfect sponges to mop up all that gravy, which was so delicious, we almost licked the plate. You can totally see each fluffy, buttery layer in the biscuits in the above photo. Each layer trapping bursts of butter flavour.
The slice of melted cheese in the Reggie held the whole, towering sandwich together and added to the richness of the dish.
There are golden rules at Pine State Biscuits, they’re written on the chalk board behind the counter: order before seating, seating is first come, first serve, and most importantly, bus your own table. There are dishwasher bins beside the door where customers can dump dirty glasses and plates. It’s old school, and a little humbling. It reinforces Portland’s sleepy, college town ambiance.
We also ordered the BBQ biscuit: Podnah‘s pulled pork with Carolina style bbq sauce and coleslaw. This was a hybrid of two regional bbq styles since Podnah‘s pulled pork is prepared Texas style, smoked for 12 hours and tossed in spicy vinegar sauce. Podnah’s Barbecue Pit is also located in Portland. Pine State Biscuits tops the BBQ biscuit with their own signature Carolina style BBQ sauce.
I wish there was more bbq sauce though, the meat to sauce ratio was definitely lacking in this biscuit sandwich. But this might be because of the major excess of gravy we got on the Reggie. In fact, we were greedily dipping forkfuls of pulled pork into the Reggie’s gravy throughout our meal.
The pulled pork was delicious! Smoky, moist and so tender. Texas style bbq includes whole hog barbecuing, utilizing the entire pig, and we tasted all different cuts in our sandwich, from the fatty pork belly to the leaner, firmer cuts of pork. The coleslaw adding a fresh and crunchy element to an otherwise very rich sandwich. Again, the biscuit was soft, fluffy and moist.
To wash down our heavy biscuit sandwiches, we each had a glass of local cider. The cider was sweet and fruity and totally quenched our thirst after the salty bacon and fried chicken in the Reggie.
I’m craving the Reggie already and all that amazing gravy it was swimming in. I can’t wait to go back!