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Roanoker Restaurant Biscuits
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Off The Eaten Path
Southern Living Off the Eaten Path: Favorite Southern Dives and 150 Recipes that Made them Famous. Morgan Murphy, Editors of Southern Living magazine. Foreword by Fannie Flagg. Oxmoor House, 2011. 256 pages, $21.95 paperback. oxmoorhouse.com
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Roanoker Restaurant Biscuits
Quick, what comes to mind when you hear the name “The Roanoker Restaurant?”
If you said “biscuits,” you’re not alone.
The Roanoker Restaurant received a major honor – and gave up a closely guarded secret – when it was announced in May that the local landmark’s recipe for buttermilk biscuits would be featured in the “Southern Living Off the Eaten Path” cookbook.
“We’re just so excited, it’s just so unbelievable,” says Roanoker owner Butch Craft. “We’re honored to be in the book. It’s cool. I mean cool.”
The Roanoker, which turns 70 on July 1, has used the same biscuit recipe since 1941. Southern Living asked the restaurant if it wanted to be featured in the cookbook a few months after they named it one of the five best places to eat in Virginia last March.
After a brief moment of hesitation, Craft and her staff set to work downsizing and tweaking the recipe to a family-sized portion, a process that took nearly two weeks.
“We sent it to Southern Living and we didn’t hear anything, so I assumed they tested it in their kitchen and we didn’t get chosen to be in the book,” she says.
It wasn’t until Craft received an email in April asking for a release to sell the book on QVC that she learned The Roanoker was included. Local news stations quickly jumped on the story, and “The Today Show” featured the biscuits in a national broadcast on May 20.
“To even be considered as one of the recipes for ‘The Today Show’ just blew us away,” Craft says. “I mailed two dozen biscuits to them overnight – the fee was $148.
Southern Living said they’d pick it up, but we figured we can front this to be on ‘The Today Show.’ If [late former Roanoker owner] E.C. Warren was still alive, he would have driven them up there.”
When asked it there was any chance The Roanoker might share its fried chicken recipe next, Craft laughs and says, “Who knows what the future holds?”
Can’t blame a guy for trying.
The Roanoker Restaurant’s Buttermilk Biscuits
Makes 8 biscuits
Reprinted with permission from The Roanoker restaurant.
- 3 ½ cups self-rising flower
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp. sugar
- ½ cup shortening
- 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
- 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine first three ingredients in a large bowl; stir well. Cut shortening into flour mixture with a pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Add buttermilk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly three or four times. Pat dough to one-inch thickness; cut with a three-inch round cutter, and place on a lightly greased baking sheet.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Brush tops with melted butter.