Charlotte skyline behind three images of biscuits and gravy

Best Biscuits and Gravy in North Carolina

Biscuits and gravy are the epitome of Southern comfort food, a dish known for its warmth, weight, and ability to satisfy your stomach quickly each morning. This breakfast item is generally believed to hail from late 19th century Southern Appalachia, and while its popularity has spread across the nation, there is nothing quite like eating biscuits and gravy in North Carolina.

Competing restaurants offer differing biscuits and gravy. The “perfect dough” depends on how well the dough is folded, how fresh the biscuit is, and how long it is baked. Biscuits are most often served alongside sausage gravy or country gravy (the difference lies in the presence of meat), but red-eye gravy sometimes makes an appearance as well. While the order in which gravy ingredients are added is the same for most recipes, the specific fats, liquids, and seasonings vary from chef to chef, as does the ratio of chunky meat to smooth sauce. So, the “perfect gravy” can depend more on personal preference.

As a born and bred local, I’ve eaten many biscuits and gravy, so I’ve compiled a list of 11 top-rated North Carolina restaurants for this dish, according to my personal experiences and friends’ recommendations. For the most up-to-date sampling, I went on a biscuits and gravy spree, and I also commissioned my foodie friend Connor Davis to try the biscuits and gravy near him. For more information on my methodology in curating this list, refer to the end of this article.

Krankies Coffee

Biscuit with turkey, ham, gravy, and cranberry sauce

krankiescoffee / Instagram

Established in 2003 and initially popular as a coffee shop in Winston-Salem, Krankies’ menu has wandered over the years before gracefully evolving into its role of serving what are arguably the best biscuits in town. Of all the biscuits I tried, Krankies’ biscuits were the fluffiest and had the best balance between crust and interior layers. In fact, there were so many pillowy layers to this biscuit that it stood taller than the rest, unburdened by excessive oiliness, but still retaining a pleasant, buttery flavor.

Krankies’ specialty biscuits frequently feature fried chicken, which can be substituted with vegan chicken, as well as applewood smoked bacon, hot sauce, and pimento cheese. A friend who has tried its gravy told me it pairs very well with the chicken, which is slightly spicy. If it’s your first time to Krankies, start with the Krankies classic, which includes fried chicken, sausage gravy, Texas Pete, and honey and rings in at a reasonable $8. Don’t forget to have it with a cup of its famous coffee for a complete breakfast!

krankiescoffee.com

(336) 955-5993

211 E 3rd St, Winston-Salem, NC 27101

Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken

Biscuits and gravy in to-go box

Born in Durham in 2012, Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken is one of the most recognizable biscuit chains in the Triangle area. Rise specializes in buttermilk, cheddar, and blueberry biscuits, with a variety of toppings ranging from fried green tomatoes to its signature Righteous Chicken, which is brined in buttermilk before being fried to a crispy texture that pairs perfectly with its soft biscuits. Rise even uses locally sourced flour from Newton, NC.

Though I no longer live near any Rise locations, Connor Davis recently visited to try its biscuits and gravy. He purchased one generously portioned biscuit topped with cheese and green onions, which he particularly enjoyed. He found the biscuit fluffy and buttery but noted that it was nevertheless on the verge of being chewy. He reported that the gravy, which is served as a side item and can be paired with any of the sandwiches, was smooth, thick, peppery, and highly flavorful. All locations are open from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m.

risebiscuitschicken.com

Multiple locations nationwide

The Flying Biscuit Café

Biscuits and gravy on patterned plate

Connor Davis

The Flying Biscuit Café is a Southern chain that originated in Atlanta and now has seven locations across North Carolina. Most are open from early morning until midafternoon, with nearly 5,000 biscuits coming out of the ovens at each location every week. This restaurant chain and its biscuits have overall great reviews, with one Yelp user calling its biscuits “delectable” and saying, “Flying Biscuit is a definite must-try for anyone on the hunt for an outstanding breakfast or brunch spot in Charlotte.” 

Connor Davis told me that the biscuit he bought was of reasonable size, soft, flaky, and with a thick interior. He also mentioned that the biscuit was topped with a pinch of granulated sugar, the effect of which was lost in the gravy but would have been a nice touch had it been a plain biscuit.

As for its chicken sausage gravy, Davis said it was creamy but also very chunky. For people who like more texture to their gravies, this might come as good news. However, it is worth noting that most of the gravy’s peppery flavor came from its sauce, while the large chunks of chicken sausage comparatively lacked taste. Alternatively, you can try out the Beyond Sausage gravy, consisting of pea and rice protein. 

flyingbiscuit.com

Multiple locations across the South

Elmo’s Diner

Biscuits and gravy with bacon, eggs, and orange

downtothebone_y / Instagram

Elmo’s Diner, located on 9th Street in Durham, specializes in scratch-made meals. With a solid base of recurring customers, it has won many awards for “Best Breakfast/Brunch” from Durham Magazine and The Herald Sun. Its biscuit is served with two eggs, sausage gravy, breakfast meat, and a side, making it a well-rounded meal. This spread clocks in at $10.25, but you can also order a biscuit on its own for only $2.50.

Connor Davis reported that the biscuit he received was an excellent size, although he would have preferred a few more spoonfuls of gravy to accommodate its wide breadth. He described the biscuit as flaky and with a soft top; however, its bottom was tougher and a bit difficult to slice through with his plastic to-go knife. He appreciated that the biscuit was split and toasted so that the gravy did not seep into the biscuit’s crannies and transform it into a soggy mess. The gravy, he said, had a good, peppery flavor, and it was more sweet than salty. He enjoyed the small chunks of sausage, which he said were of good quality, but suggested the gravy be eaten fresh to prevent it from becoming gelatinous.

elmosdiner.com

(919) 416-3823

776 9th St, Durham, NC 27705

Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen

Biscuits with various fillings

sunrise_biscuit_kitchen / Instagram

Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen draws upon the wisdom of the founder’s grandmother, whose biscuit recipe is still used today to make award-winning biscuits. The restaurant has two locations: one is the original in Louisburg, which has indoor seating as well as a drive-thru, and the other is in Chapel Hill, which only has a drive-thru. Despite the lack of seating, the Chapel Hill location is still quite popular, and its location on Franklin Street near UNC Chapel Hill makes it a favorite among college students.

Connor Davis reported that the biscuit was of regular size, with a strong exterior and soft interior. It had a very good flavor, with the right balance of salt and butter. Meanwhile, the gravy, which was served in a generous amount, had less of a peppery flavor; in fact, it had an umami flavor of mushrooms. As for the texture, the gravy was thick, with small pieces of sausage throughout. He noted that as the gravy cooled, it began to take on a gelatinous texture that remained on the tongue.

sunrisebiscuits.com

Multiple locations in the Triangle area

Scrambled Southern Diner

Chicken biscuit with apple butter

scrambledgso / Instagram

Scrambled Southern Diner is located in Lindley Park, making it a suitable place to serve the Southern cuisine that it specializes in. The restaurant serves breakfast items throughout its opening hours (8 a.m. until 2 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. on weekends). Its semi-open kitchen enables diners to get a glimpse of how its biscuits are made: from scratch and often with locally sourced produce.

RECOMMENDED:  What Type of Oil Does Olive Garden Use in Their Fryers?

You don’t need an open kitchen, though, to tell that the biscuits at this popular diner are made fresh. They are on the heavier and slightly drier side, pairing wonderfully with an assortment of toppings and your choice of gravy. Diners can build their own biscuits with additional items like eggs, fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese, and rosemary ham, and they can choose between country sausage, red-eye, and vegan mushroom gravies. One Tripadvisor user wrote, “But the award goes to the sausage and gravy biscuits — truly the best I’ve ever eaten and I’ve had this southern delicacy at numerous establishments.”

Our waiter warned us that many customers do not enjoy the mushroom gravy. While we thought it was slightly salty and that the mushrooms would have been better had they been varied mushrooms for an earthier flavor and then minced or pureed into a sauce, it was not bad! Prices were reasonable at $7.95 for a plate of two biscuits and gravy.

scrambledgreensboro.com

(336) 285-6590

2417 Spring Garden St, Greensboro, NC 27403

Young Cardinal Cafe & Co

Biscuit sandwich with fruit

youngcardinalws / Instagram

Located in downtown Winston-Salem and serving food from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. from Tuesdays to Sundays, Young Cardinal has been a popular spot among locals for breakfast and brunch since opening in 2020. It prides itself on going “back to the basics with modern twists and fresh ingredients,” according to its website. 

The biscuit I tried here was one of my favorites; it had a wonderful texture (slightly chewy, but in a good way, and with a great crumb), and it was not overly buttery or greasy. One biscuit can be ordered alongside a serving of sausage gravy for an affordable price of only $3. You can also top your biscuits with cheddar or American cheese, egg, bacon, sausage, fried chicken, or Virginia ham. Pair it with a drink from the restaurant’s coffee bar for a delightful start to your day, or order it with a mimosa for a classy lunch.

andrewsrestaurantsws.com/young-cardinal

(336) 448-5188

424 4th St NW, Winston-Salem, NC 27101

Cast Iron Kitchen

Dirty South Biscuit in bowl

castironilm / Instagram

Cast Iron Kitchen in Wilmington is the one restaurant on this list that neither Connor Davis nor I were able to visit, but its biscuits and gravy have fantastic reviews, as do most of its other menu items. Chef and owner Josh Petty draws inspiration from family recipes he has inherited, giving them his own flare before serving them with fresh and local North Carolinian produce.

The Dirty South Biscuit, in particular, was featured on Food Network’s show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and it hits all four categories of meat, egg, cheese, and gravy. It makes for a full plate with a $15.75 price tag to match. If you are in the mood for a lighter and cheaper meal, you can opt for the classic biscuits and gravy, which comes with your choice of one biscuit for $5 or two biscuits for $10, as well as country sausage and chorizo gravy. Although Yelp reviews vary on the quality of the biscuits and gravy, there is a general consensus that the gravy is spicy and the portions are large. One Yelp user said of the Dirty South Biscuit, “It was delicious and definitely [a] Southern comfort dish … Go hungry.”

castiron-kitchen.com

(910) 821-8461

8024 Market St, Wilmington, NC 28411

Bojangles

Biscuit and gravy on plate

Bojangles

Open seven days a week, from early morning until late night, Bojangles is not only a reliable drive-thru chain, but it can also be a great spot to meet friends. Founded in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1977, Bojangles now has locations across the country. However, you can’t beat the community spirit you might find in a North Carolinian Bojangles; for years, my local Bojangles hosted popular bluegrass nights every Thursday. Bojangles’ extended hours also made it a natural choice for catering nearly every school function I attended during my teenage years, from Junior Civitan meetings before school to basketball games in the evenings.

Considering how frequently we ate them, Bojangles biscuits never failed to impress. The southern gravy biscuit, which consists of a buttermilk biscuit and country-style sausage gravy, includes options to add egg or American cheese for a small charge. The biscuits are soft and consist of several layers, with just a touch of oiliness. The gravy is slightly spicy. For a sweeter variation, try the immensely popular Bo Berry Biscuit, which features blueberries and a sweet icing; though not typically ordered with gravy, the success of the limited edition Sausage Bo Berry Biscuit proves the merits of combining sweet and savory.

bojangles.com

Multiple locations nationwide

Biscuitville

Biscuit and gravy on plate with napkin

Biscuitville

Biscuitville first opened in 1975, but the chain did not expand to North Carolina until a few years later, and there are now nearly 70 locations across the Tar Heel State. Biscuitville prides itself on pulling fresh biscuits from the oven every 15 minutes. The chain uses local ingredients; for example, its sausage gravy biscuit features flour from Newton, NC. It is this fresh, local, and handmade element that attracts many people; as one friend puts it, “it embodies the southeast in a sense.” In fact, Southern-style biscuits may even taste better because of local ingredients due to the lower amount of gluten found in Southern wheat varieties.

Biscuitville biscuits are on the thinner side, and so is its gravy. In my opinion, it is therefore better to order a biscuit sandwich with a side of gravy, increasing the number of layers to soak up the special sauce and filling your stomach to greater satisfaction. Leftover fast food biscuits also make great breakfast sandwiches the next day. Make sure to swing by before 2 p.m., the time most Biscuitville locations close.

biscuitville.com

Multiple locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia

Hardee’s

Spoon pouring gravy on biscuit

Hardee’s

Born in Greenville, NC, you can now find Hardee’s in 13 countries and across the United States. The restaurant chain added biscuits to its menu in the 1970s, and they quickly became top-selling menu items. 

Like Biscuitville, Hardee’s advertises itself as baking fresh biscuits every 15 minutes, and the chain’s biscuit makers, who begin their workdays at 4 a.m., have earned my utmost respect. For many customers, though, Hardee’s sausage gravy is the real star of the show, and copycat recipes abound. 

The chain sells a classic Biscuit ‘N’ Gravy, which is rather self-explanatory, but you can also order gravy as a side item to any biscuit on the menu, like the Nashville hot chicken biscuit or the loaded omelet biscuit. I find Hardee’s biscuits to be slightly oily and lacking in fluffiness, but the latter quality is nevertheless great for sandwiches. Hardee’s is also a wonderful location for an affordable meal, especially if you sign up for its award-winning loyalty program. Note that although Hardee’s is open all day, most locations only serve biscuits until 10:30 a.m., so don’t forget to set your alarm for the morning!

hardees.com

Multiple locations nationwide

Methodology

Biscuits and gravy on plate

Stphillips/Getty Images

As a born-and-bred North Carolinian, I have had my fair share of biscuits over the years, including homemade, store-bought, and restaurant-fresh versions. As a vegetarian, I have also tried a variety of plant-based gravies, including lentil-based, tahini-based, and vegan tempeh sausage gravies. I chose restaurants based on friends’ recommendations, Google reviews, and my own memories of dining at the chosen establishments. I have not eaten many biscuits in North Carolina’s mountain or coastal regions, and so most of these recommendations are based in the Piedmont. To account for my vegetarianism, I drew upon friends’ and website reviews to describe each restaurant’s gravy, and I have noted this where necessary.

Our Experts
Our Experts

Look's editorial team comprises seasoned writers and editors who specialize in the food and drink, hospitality, and agriculture sectors. We also collaborate with external experts to ensure the delivery of accurate, current information and unique recipes.

Our goal is to publish informative and engaging articles, offering readers the content they seek, from daily news to cooking tips, tricks, trends, and reviews. To maintain the highest standards of comprehensiveness, currency, and accuracy, our team continually reviews and updates our articles as needed.