Biscuits are a way of life in the South. From fast food favorites to family heirloom recipes, there’s not a meal that can’t be made better by a hot, buttery biscuit. In December, Birmingham added another biscuit purveyor with the opening of Nashville-based, family-run breakfast and lunch spot Biscuit Love.
The new spot on Dolly Ridge Road in Cahaba Heights is the fourth Biscuit Love—and first outside of the Nashville area—helmed by Karl and Sarah Worley, who started the venture from the back of a borrowed food truck in 2012. In the decade since, they’ve turned their back-of-a-napkin dream into a beloved brand.
Biscuit Love has come a long way since its early days, and Sarah says the success is due largely to “a 100 million God moments” that all came together. It started when Sarah, a small business accountant, decided she wanted a career change. Approaching 30, she quit her job and enrolled in culinary school. She had recently met her now-husband Karl, and he decided to follow her to Johnson & Wales in Denver. They got married after their first year of culinary school, then welcomed their daughter less than a year later. Her birth prompted the couple’s move back to Nashville. Shortly after, Biscuit Love was born. They opened their first brick and mortar in 2015, then two more locations in 2017 and 2018.
“After that, I kind of waved my hands in the air and said, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa—I have a 7-year-old daughter and I never see her,’” Sarah remembers. “If we keep expanding like this, I’ll see her even less. I just need to build a team around me that can sustain growth if we’re going to keep growing the concept, so that’s what we set out to do.”
After several years of building out their team, the couple was finally ready to move forward with more locations, but then the pandemic hit. While they waited for the right time to expand, they got connected with Melanie Zauzur through one of their Birmingham-based business partners and immediately felt a kinship.
After 20 years building a community at the Starbucks coffee shop in Cahaba Heights, Zauzur was ready to strike out on her own. Becoming the local partner for the new Biscuit Love was the perfect fit.
“The store opened with a bang,” Sarah says. “I think the community was really excited to embrace what we were doing. Breakfast is a really fun segment to be in. We get people at the best part of their day.”
The bright and cheery space now welcomes locals daily beginning at 7 a.m. The menu features several of the giant biscuit sandwiches that first put Biscuit Love on the map, as well as biscuit-less breakfast and lunch creations. First timers should consider the Princess, a buttermilk biscuit topped with Nashville-style hot chicken, pickles, mustard, and honey, or the Southern Benny, open-faced biscuit halves topped with shaved country ham, over-easy eggs, and homemade sausage gravy. If you’re craving something sweet, the Bonuts (fried biscuit dough served with lemon mascarpone and blueberry compote) or B-Roll (a cinnamon roll made with biscuit dough and topped with pecan sticky bun sauce) should do the trick. The restaurant serves coffee from local, small-batch roaster Cala Coffee.
“We’ve been really excited to get to breathe life into some other small businesses and really get to support another local entrepreneur in the process,” Sarah says. “We had so many people who did that for us when we started, so being able to pass that torch is fun.”
The biscuits at Biscuit Love are a variation of Karl’s grandmother’s recipe for angel biscuits that are made with yeast and baking soda for a double rise. In late 2019, Biscuit Love brought Chef Lisa Marie White on as culinary director, and she added a lamination process to the original biscuit recipe.
“Lisa Marie had served me some of her biscuits when she was in New Orleans, and I always said hers were my favorite,” Sarah says. “With the new biscuits, you get a flaky, peel apart layer by layer biscuit, but you still get all that buttermilk and butter flavor.”
With their first out-of-state location successfully up and running, Sarah says the goal is to continue expanding in the Southeast, but to do so mindfully.
“When Karl and I talked about expansion, one of the things we’ve always said is we never want to walk into a Biscuit Love and not recognize it,” she says. “So, for us, we’ve been really dedicated to our in-house relations before anything else.”
All Biscuit Love employees are paid a living wage and have access to a staff care program that includes therapists and mental health assistance. Sarah says it all goes back to creating a place of belonging, kindness, and hospitality for their employees so they, in turn, can do the same for customers.
“It’s a really special space that we get to share with people,” she says. “So being able to do that in a way that benefits not only consumer but also the people working, means something to us.”