For all its diversity, the Triangle dining scene has long come up short in a category that is key to the modern metropolitan lifestyle: restaurants that serve breakfast all day. Flying Biscuit Café (2016 Clark Ave.; 833-6924; www.flyingbiscuit.com), which opened last week in Cameron Village, addresses that problem with a style as whimsical as its name.
The restaurant is the first Triangle location of a small Atlanta-based chain that offers an eclectic menu with a Southern accent. It doesn't feel like a chain, however, thanks largely to its cheerily casual décor and the homey vibe of a space that's broken into several cozy rooms and nooks.
Flying Biscuit Café is best known for its breakfast, which includes a varied offering from buttermilk pancakes to omelet and Benedict variations, as well as house specialties such as Smoked Salmon Scramble and the Flying Biscuit Breakfast (two eggs with chicken breakfast sausage link or patty). All breakfast plates are accompanied by choice of roasted potatoes, "creamy dreamy grits" or seasonal fruit. A complimentary biscuit with signature house-made cranberry-apple butter is served on request.
The lunch and dinner offering covers a similarly broad spectrum, with options including shrimp and grits, chicken-fried steak and pasta jambalaya. An unusually strong vegetarian selection includes black bean and cornmeal cakes, roasted red pepper pasta, and fried green tomatoes topped with cashew relish and warm goat cheese. A handful of sandwiches and salads round out the offering.
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The other Flying Biscuit Café locations don't offer pork, but local franchisee John White (who also owns the Moe's Southwest Grill in Cameron Village) has tweaked the menu to include that North Carolina staple. You'll find the words "applewood-smoked bacon" and "North Carolina country cured ham" sprinkled throughout the breakfast and sandwich menus.
Flying Biscuit Café is open Sunday-Thursday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday-Saturday from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. Pending approval of a liquor license, a full bar will serve local microbrews, wines by the glass and cocktails. And no, the biscuits don't actually fly.
Lenny's Hideaway (1110-150 Navaho Drive; 872-4433; www.lennyshideaway.com, on the other hand, really is a hideaway. It's tucked into the ground floor of an office building set back behind the row of businesses lining Wake Forest Road in North Raleigh. And there really was a Lenny, too. The restaurant is named for the late father of the restaurant's owner, Edward Schultz.
At first glance, Lenny's looks like your typical neighborhood pub, with a modest menu of mostly sandwiches to match. But the restaurant has two distinctive attractions that make it worth seeking out. One is the signature stuffed Lenny Burger, which is patted to order with the complements of your choice (options include bacon, roasted mushrooms, onions, peppers and an assortment of cheeses) inside rather than on top of the meat.
Lenny's second claim to fame is "pet-friendly Sunday," when pets are allowed inside the dining room from noon until 8 p.m. Hostess for the event is Schultz's lovable (and, judging by the name, feisty) mutt, Miss-Chief. "I checked with the health department," Schultz says, "and as long as they're not allowed in the food preparation areas, it's OK."
In addition to Sundays, Lenny's is open for lunch Monday-Friday and dinner Monday-Thursday nights. At other times, the space is available for private catered events. Pets, presumably, are negotiable.