Photo by Stephanie Breijo
[3/28 Update: After a successful soft-open last Saturday, Early Bird Biscuit Co. will open in its new Fan location tomorrow, Tuesday, March 29, at 7 a.m. Find biscuits, biscuit sandwiches, cakes, pies and coffee there Tuesday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Early Bird will launch Sunday hours in May.]
There's something captivating about Early Bird Biscuit Co.'s sunshiney, neighborhood disposition, and it's no secret; owner and head baker Tim Laxton and crew churn out roughly 550 biscuits on a good day at the small, Lakeside bakery, with a line of hungry customers often stretching out the door and beyond the building's frame. Early Bird is so successful, in fact, that its number of orders became difficult to handle in only 600 square feet. That's why next March, Early Bird will take flight across town and move into a new 1,200-square-foot location in the Fan.
"I had no intentions of ever moving to the Fan, but when I saw the building, I was like, ‘This is where I’m supposed to be,’" says Laxton. "Way back when I started thinking about [opening Early Bird], I saw an older building in my head and I guess over time, as all things do, it just sort of took its own momentum and it finally happened in November.”
Aiming for a March 1 opening date, the baker will offer an expanded menu with more breakfast options and a larger selection of biscuit sandwiches; extended hours that will also include Sundays; a greater pastry selection; and a full espresso and coffee bar featuring coffee from Blanchard's. Guests also will find seating for the first time (but no table service), as well as baking workshops.
Laxton, who first noticed the FOR LEASE sign at 119 A. N. Robinson St. in November, could see his bakery grow in the space adjacent to Halcyon Vintage and two doors down from Commercial Taphouse. Finding the turn-of-the-century building was kismet: It is about as old as his rolling pin, which was crafted by his great-grandfather from a single piece of wood, and used by his grandmother. The dark wood floors and bright interior fit the baker's original vision of Early Bird, as well as the spot he'd always wanted for a very fitting heirloom.
"I always saw a table that was given to me by my grandmother in my space, and it didn’t work obviously because of space restrictions in the [building] where we currently are," Laxton says. "It’s a round table; it has a burn spot where she used to place hot pans of biscuits that’s permanently etched into the table. We could have sanded it out, we could have refinished it, but we left it there because it reminded us of our grandmother putting a hot pan of biscuits on the table and that’s going to have a really prominent spot in the new location.”
Unfortunately, this means that the Lakeside location will close, and Laxton anticipates this will happen around two weeks before the Fan location opens. But all is not lost for those in North Side: perhaps there's a bright biscuit spot on the horizon, further down the line.
“We’re gonna really miss the Lakeside folks," says Laxton. "They’re the ones who really put us where we are. Hopefully in the future I’ll be able to bring something back over this way.”
Early Bird Biscuit Co. is currently located at 5411 Lakeside Ave.