Sample a Southern breakfast on a New England Island

South beach scramble — Marnely Murray

If you’ve traveled to any of the Southern states, you know how seriously they take their food. From casual breakfast eateries to fine dining establishments, Southern chefs are known for their big flavors and authentic dishes they keep close to their hearts. You might be wondering why I’m even talking about Southern fare in a New England–based food column, but to my delight, there’s a spot right in Oak Bluffs that serves up tasty Southern breakfast almost all day long.

Biscuits, located on 26 Lake Avenue, has become an Island institution. For the past 15 years, Chris Arcudi and Celeste Elser have been serving Southern-style foods to clients they now see as family. Throughout the years, they’ve seen guests grow from babies in highchairs to teenagers. Those teenagers will quickly become adults, bringing their own children in for breakfast and lunch.

You notice the familiarity the moment you walk in, greeted with a hearty “Good morning!” by Mr. Arcudi himself or one of his incredible servers. A consistently returning staff is not common in Vineyard restaurants, so it’s safe to say that people love working for Mr. Arcudi and Ms. Elser. Milu, Mr. Arcudi’s daughter, fills up coffee mugs with a smile and suggests menu favorites. As the food arrives, I’m reminded of the reason I live for food — because it’s not just about the food.

It’s about seeing every single person around me having a great time in a great environment. It’s about sipping that piping-hot cup of coffee and enjoying a bite to eat. Whether you’re a family of four coming in for a weekend treat or a hungover chef stumbling in for a cure of tender biscuits drenched in creamy sausage gravy, it just clicks. Biscuits is a spot for everyone and anyone.

The breakfast menu offers a variety of items, but here were some of my favorites:

  • Shrimp and Grits Blackened shrimp, garlic, and roasted red peppers are all served atop cheesy grits. The flavor of the shrimp and its sauce seeps through the grits, making it the ideal savory breakfast. Add a splash of Tabasco and you’ll think you’re in New Orleans.
  • Fried Chicken and Waffle Incredibly crispy fried chicken (two pieces of dark meat) sits on a malted waffle, begging for you to douse it with syrup and devour with your hands, etiquette rules be damned.
  • Vanilla Mascarpone Crepes Delicately thin crepes are stuffed with a fluffy cheese filling and topped with fresh strawberries and a sprinkling of granola. You’d think the granola is unnecessary but it’s not, it adds a great crunch!
  • Twisted Stuffed French Toast Brioche bread slices are stuffed with cream cheese, dipped in batter, and deep-fried. Topped with your choice of berries or chocolate chips, this is a definite treat. Sometimes you just have to treat yourself — that’s what summer is all about, right?

Don’t forget, this place is called Biscuits for a reason. Order a side of their Biscuits and Gravy for the table (in hopes of distributing the delicious calories), and dive your fork into a tender Southern Biscuit smothered in sausage gravy. I also saw the next table order a Biscuits Benedict, so I’ve made a mental note to order that the next time I visit.

Visit Biscuits seven days a week, seasonally, for breakfast and lunch from 7 am until 3 pm.