Rarely does a new eatery in the Triangle get the publicity and buzz that I've seen for Rise Biscuits and Donuts in Durham! I'd see pics of luscious baked goods, savory and sweet, popping up on my Yelp and Facebook which killed me. But by all accounts, the place is usually slammed and its location by the Southpoint Mall meant a 30 minute drive and/or a longish wait so I stayed patient. I likes my sleep nearly as much as I like my food so Rise caused a lot of conflict in my pea-brain. But finally I had to do an early morning trip to Charlotte and Rise would be right on the way over. So my food tractor beam gets locked in! Yes, oh yes Rise, you will be mine...
What I found most interesting about Rise is the juxtaposition of its location and its hip feel. I mean we're talking a big ol' strip mall and small storefront in suburban Durham. Inside you'll find funky hipster staff with mohawks and tat's while being immersed in catchy pop music from the speakers. I mean it's a bit of a different scene but given the early success of Rise, I totally understand it works. The interior is bright and welcoming with a cool, puffy logo up front, bright Carolina blue walls and an sign encouraging you to serve yourself some coffee. A small pastry case to the left and two very, busy cash registers up front. The menu is not that big but you've got a lot of options to customize your biscuit with meats, different cheeses and even three different types of egg (fried, runny, scrambled). There's a short line even at 7:15am and people waiting for their food. I order up a coffee, biscuit with sausage, egg and cheddar along with their mythical maple-bacon bar! My order takes 10 - 15 minutes to come out, I can't imagine what the wait would be like during the busy periods. I'm given a small, paper bag with an aluminum-foil wrapped biscuit, along with my maple-bacon bar in wax paper. I'm off to my car, I'll have to eat while driving down to the CLT...
In the car I open up my foil-wrapped biscuit and OMG! It's huge and tall, bigger than most other biscuits I've had and I'd share it but there's no one around to share it with! But thankfully I can stuff my face in the privacy of my vehicle so it's time to dive in! And it's a good sandwich full of great ingredients. Nice soft egg, tangy melted cheddar and a good sausage patty. The biscuit is fluffy and without much salt or grease so each bite gets you a subtle blast of savory, cheesy goodness. Now here's where it gets tricky, Rise is definitely a place for high-quality ingredients but there is part of me that misses the greasy, salty biscuit that you get at most other places. I like the sausage biscuit at Rise but I'll have to say the sausage was probably the weak link and while a good sandwich, it didn't blow me away.
After a bit of a break I dove into the maple-bacon bar and it's really a good-looking pastry. A slightly yellow bun that looks like an un-split hotdog bun with a thick, maple glaze on top and a perfect, flat piece of fried bacon on top, beautiful! Bite in and you get the salty, crisp of the bacon, move into the maple, sugary sweetness before hitting the contrastingly soft bun. The bun is nice and fluffy but pretty plain, probably meant as a maple-bacon delivery vehicle. The glaze is flavorful but of course what makes the whole pastry is that perfect bacon on top, yum! My coffee was solid but nothing to write home about, oh well.
All told my biscuit, pastry and coffee was about $10, not a bad deal at all. You could have probably shared it with another person and had a decent breakfast. I do like Rise and I think it mostly lives up to the hype of "serving the best danged biscuits & donuts" and for a reasonable price. The only question is whether you're willing to wait in line for their eats or wake up super early like I did. And that's the $10,000 dollar question, eh? Sleep or food? In the morning for me, that's a really tough call! So awesome job, Rise and welcome to the Southpoint neighborhood. Hopefully I'll be back again soon but I have to say, I think it's now time for a visit to Monuts Donuts and see what they're doing. Bon appetit!
8200 Renaissance Parkway, Ste 1003
Durham, NC 27713
Rise Biscuits and Donuts Ron Wen Rating: 4.5 out of 5