LAKE STEVENS — With its trendy bars and bistros and skinny jeans-clad twentysomethings, Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood is a hip and happening place. But there’s stuff going on Main Street in Lake Stevens, too, and the owners of Biscuit & Bean, a Ballard institution for the past six years, wanted a piece of that.
So they recently opened the Lake Stevens branch of Biscuit & Bean next door to Jay’s Market, in an area just east of North Cove that’s seeing new construction and development. The Biscuit & Bean outpost serves the flaky biscuits, biscuit sandwiches and coffee beverages that have made the Ballard location a popular spot for breakfast and lunch.
The owners say everything they sell is homemade from locally sourced ingredients. In addition to the Lake Stevens location, they recently opened a central kitchen in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood that makes food for both cafes.
Because the Lake Stevens Biscuit & Bean is tucked into a small storefront, it offers a scaled-back version of the Ballard location’s menu. When my coworker Sara Bruestle and I visited earlier this week, the menu board listed two biscuit sandwiches instead of the half-dozen typically on offer at Ballard.
Happily, both sandwiches — the Lumberjack (sausage, egg, cheddar and tomato jam) and the Cove (herbed goat cheese, cucumber and the tomato jam) — sounded delicious. I chose the Lumberjack on a cheddar onion biscuit, for $7.25. The same sandwich on a buttermilk biscuit costs a quarter less.
Sara opted for biscuits and gravy made with Uli’s sausage on a buttermilk biscuit ($8). There’s also a mushroom and leek version, and you can add pickled jalapenos for a buck.
After placing our order at the counter, we took a seat at one of the cafe’s five small tables and waited for our names to be called. The place was doing brisk business, but it wasn’t long until our food was ready.
The exquisitely cloudlike biscuit and the high-quality fixings — especially the tomato jam — banished my bad memories of the desiccated biscuit breakfast sandwiches churned out by fast-food franchises. And the biscuits and gravy was nothing like the ghastly gray glop that turned me off that dish after several regrettable encounters over the years.
“Even my grandma’s gravy isn’t as good as this,” Sara said. “It’s almost more like a dip than a gravy. I’d like to know what’s in it.”
Sorry, Biscuit & Bean’s owners aren’t telling. It’s a trade secret, they say.
That said, we did wish the sandwich and the biscuits and gravy were hotter.
The Bean part of the title refers to the coffee menu, which includes all the expected caffeinated beverages. There also were three coffee specials on offer the day of our visit. Sara chose one of them, a peppermint-flavored matcha latte ($4). I’m more partial to coffee than science experiments, so I chose an Americano ($3). Biscuit & Bean’s coffee is roasted by Fulcrum Coffee in Seattle and is superb.
We ordered a buttermilk biscuit to share, with apple butter to spread on it ($4 for the biscuit, $1.50 for the spread).
“My great-grandmother made apple butter, so I’m always on the lookout for it,” Sara said. I also have fond memories of the stuff, but my family’s apple butter came from a jar, not great-grandma.
Biscuit & Bean’s serving of apple butter was more than enough to amply smear on our biscuit halves.
Other homemade spreads available are raspberry jam, tomato jam, maple butter, honey butter, mocha butter and pepper aioli (all $1), and herbed goat cheese and bacon jam for $1.50.
Living in Seattle has loads of drawbacks, but access to great food isn’t one of them. Happily, one of Seattle’s many culinary amenities has established a toehold in Lake Stevens. Remember it the next time you’re jonesing for a breakfast sandwich.
If you go
Biscuit & Bean, 1811 Main St., Lake Stevens, is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Call 425-405-3051 or go to www.biscuitandbean.biz for more information.