Welcome to Midnight Cravings NYC, a series dedicated to honoring some of the #hot late-night food spots in the New York City area. First up is Empire Biscuit, a 24 hour biscuit paradise located in the East Village, on Avenue A between 12th st. and 13th st.
When Empire Biscuit opened last fall, it was very #now. Between word of mouth, lines out the door, and a series of impressive blog reviews, the buzz surrounding the place was very much on the level of “hot new NYC place you must try, otherwise you’re doing life wrong.”
Given that this is NYC, self-assumed culture capital of the world, this tends to happen quite often. (Other notable #now places of the recent past include Dominic Ansel’s bakery — home of the cronut — and The Nugget Spot, the chicken nugget place devoted entirely to serving to chicken nuggets.) After the initial hype wave, however these places sometimes fade into darkness, falling down into the overpopulated depths that is “things that used to be cool but now aren’t.” Notable members of this club include Crumbs Bake Shop, and anyone who was popular in 7th grade.
To make sure that wasn’t the case with Empire Biscuit, I ventured over to Avenue A to see what the initial fuss was all about.*
*I ventured over there about a month ago to see what it was all about. It was so good, that I decided I had no choice but to come back and build a weird internet column around it.
The motto over at Empire Biscuit is Breakfast.Lunch.Dinner.Drunk. The first time I had seen this, my reaction was skeptical. I mean, I eat pasta for all four of those things, but is that really a socially acceptable, business-model worthy idea?
Then, smartly, I realized that we’re talking about biscuits. Not fettuccine, not ravioli, not even pesto tortellini. We talkin’ bout Biscuits. Arguably, the only type of food for which that slogan would work for.
Slogan That Works: +3
I didn’t want to indulge in the biscuits drunk, because eating food drunk is like if an internet headline touting a video as the funniest thing ever was actually honest — the levels of satisfaction are way too high to handle, and therefore cannot be judged relative to normal human existence. So for this grand project, I ventured to Empire Biscuits on a drizzly Sunday evening — a time where only the real committed biscuit lovers were out to play.
Sunday Drizzle: -2
I could continue to narrate my story, but at this point you’re probably tired of hearing yet another person on the internet think they’re being super inventive and original by describing the time they ate that awesome food. So instead, we’ll go through the four stages of eating an Empire Biscuit. Before we get to the stages, some quick background points:
- My mysterious + awesome companion and I ordered 3 biscuits — The Savory Character, The Cruel Summer, and one custom-made biscuit, with lemon ricotta butter and blueberry jam.
- There is more of a menu than the one I provided. There’s a whole front menu, with things like biscuit sandwiches (complete with pork sausage, fried chicken, etc.), sides (like cheddar grits and sweet & sour collards), and the aforementioned custom-made biscuits.
- While we were waiting for the order, I awkwardly took pictures. I told the biscuit homies what we were doing, but it’s always a bit weird when you’re going around, blowing up a spot by taking pictures. You don’t really ever want to be that guy.
- I am a Long Islander, so for me to act like an expert on biscuits would be like if a 20-something acted like an expert on what you need to do to be successful in life. That said, you’re still reading.
- The biscuits were really good.
I saw* the Wolf Of Wall Street a few months back, and eating the biscuits reminded me how obsessed Leo was with Qualuudes, in the sense that there were certainly some very specific stages when it came to biscuit eating. I’m not trying to liken eating biscuits to a dangerous and addictive drug from the 80s, but I guess I somewhat am:
*I also read the book like waaay before the movie came out. But nobody likes the guy who has to tell people that.
Like what I imagine a yoga instructor does before she does yoga, or what Daniel Day-Lewis does before he turns into Lincoln, preparation is key.
When it comes to biscuit eating, you need to grease your culinary apparatus with the necessary fire. As a lifelong fan of minor mouth torture, I chose Jalapeño.
Daniel Day Lewis In Lincoln: +14
Stage 2: Euphoria
Initially, you’re not exactly sure what the combination is gonna do to you — in this case, the mix of the buttery biscuit, combined with the jalapaños, goat cheese, black pepper butter, and sweet onion jam, temporary turned me into an overexcited sheep.
Black Pepper Butter: Underrated
Stage 3: Drool Phase
Not quite as scary as what happens to Leo as he takes those old qualuudes, but at this point you’re way too immersed to go back.
Stage 4: Leaving Your Family
This is when you realize that your life will probably not ever be the same, and you best start making preparations for how you’re gonna tell your wife and kids that you’ll be missing breakfast.lunch.dinner. or drunk. multiple times a week in order to consume biscuits. It’s not necessarily the life you thought you’d be living, though you wouldn’t have it any other way.
Leaving Your Family For Biscuits: -5
That’s pretty much it. I wanna write more, but at this point I think I’ve commandeered enough of your attention span. The point is that Empire Biscuit is pretty good, and you should go there at any time in the day. It’s also pretty cheap, especially considering that it now costs 5 cents per every breath you taken in Manhattan.
Thank you for spending time over at Midnight Cravings NYC, and see you soon.