I smiled when I first walked into East End Market and up to Winter Park Biscuit Co. Yes, East End Market is in Orlando, not Winter Park, but if we niggle about that we’ll also have to bring up WP-based Orlando Meats and we just don’t have enough time.
Anyway, on the wall over the counter of this quick-serve operation is a banner that reads: “To Order: Line Starts Outside” and includes a pointing finger just in case you can’t see where the door is.
What made me smile was that several years ago, John Rivers told me that when he opened his first restaurant that would lead the way to his 4 Rivers Smokehouse empire, in the free-standing building on Fairbanks Avenue where Hunger Street Tacos now resides, he engineered the space so that there would always be a line outside, even if there were just a few customers waiting to order.
Why? Because as Disney and others have figured out, people love to stand in lines. They see a line and they think they’re missing out on something.
There was no line when I visited Winter Park Biscuit Co., though I had heard there were large crowds when it first moved into the space, so large that biscuit orders were rationed out and the supply would still be frequently depleted. I did not exit to go stand outside.
Instead, I stepped up to the counter and gave my order to one of the people there. I ordered the OG, which according to the menu is a “Crispy Chik Cutlet on a [sic] Oat Buttermilk Biscuit with choice of sauce on the side.”
Chik is not misspelled; it’s a clue that it’s not real chicken. In fact, all of WPBC’s menu is vegetarian/vegan. (I’m not sure why one of the salads is spelled Chikpea – maybe some vegans would worry chickpeas might contain actual chicks?)
Spicy mayo was my sauce of choice and I also ordered a side of sausage gravy, which had no alternative spelling. (I recommend sawsage.)
The chik was heavily coated in a nicely seasoned breading that had its own spicy notes even before adding the mayo. It was also temperaturely hot, indicating it was fresh out of the fryer. The two halves of the biscuit it sat between were good and flaky but not life altering as biscuits go. Then again, I’m not really looking to have my life altered by a biscuit.
The gravy didn’t appeal at all. It had a sweet flavor that was almost like maple syrup, not something I look for in my sausage gravy. (I look for sausage in my sausage gravy but I knew going in that that wasn’t going to happen.) I was not charged the $3 fee the menu listed for the side of gravy, but even a buck fifty for this tiny amount was too much.
The staff was courteous and took a number to text me when my order was ready, which was not very long after I placed it. There is a lunch counter inside and communal picnic tables outside. Takeout works, too.
And by the way, the website says the reason the line starts outside is so as not to block the market’s main corridor, which is a valid point. But it’s also nice to have a line people can envy when they drive by.