My great-grandparents were sharecroppers in Oklahoma until one day, like many before them, they packed what little belongings they had and moved to California. Growing up, I’d often hear about my great-grandmother’s biscuits and gravy and her chocolate gravy. By the time I was around she wasn’t cooking anymore.
Maybe this is why I’ve been so attracted to biscuits and gravy — it stems from my childhood feeling of being left out of experiencing my great-grandmother’s recipe.
Luckily, there are a lot of places in Eugene-Springfield to buy biscuits and gravy — many of them good, from Sweet Life Patisserie to Jazzy Ladies Café to the veganized recipe at Cornbread Cafe. I had a few leads of my own, but I wanted to reach out to the largest foodie knowledge source in town: the Facebook group Eugene Foodies.
Keeping my search limited to the classic meaty and greasy recipe, I ventured out to sample the local offerings (but I limited my journey to four because I don’t have the iron stomach of my Oklahoman relatives).
GJ’s Family Restaurant
I don’t think anyone in town can match the portions at GJ’s, yet somehow the quality is still great. For $8.95, GJ’s has a half order of biscuits and gravy with hash browns and two eggs. The gravy isn’t too heavy with grease and is creamy. However, the phrase “half order” is a bit deceptive because GJ’s packs the styrofoam container. For those who love crispy hash browns, GJ’s has you covered, and there is enough of that gravy to smother some of the hash browns, too. Throw on some hot sauce — for me, Tapatío — and you’ve got a meal that’ll throw you into a pleasant food coma.
GJ’s Family Restaurant is at 1563 W. 6th Avenue, open 8 am to 2 pm Friday through Sunday. Find on Facebook.
Busy Bee Cafe
Busy Bee Cafe is probably one of the best places to eat on Main Street in Springfield. The café’s menu ranges from traditional American diner offerings to recently adopted take home dinners. Knowing the home cooked care the restaurant puts in its menu, I headed east. The gravy is creamy with sausage and pepper sprinkled in, but the biscuits are the stars of the show. The biscuits are fluffy and warm — easily the best restaurant biscuits I’ve ever had in my life. For $5.50, you can’t find any biscuits and gravy that taste home cooked.
Busy Bee Cafe is at 2152 Main Street, Springfield. Hours are 8 am to 7 pm Wednesday through Friday, 8 am to 3 pm Saturday and Sunday. Find on Facebook.
Coming from a town the same size of Eugene (if not bigger) filled with chain restaurants, it’s unreal how many good locally owned restaurants there are here, so it’s hard to keep up with them all. Located off of River Road, Reality Kitchen has brought back their spicy sausage biscuits and gravy after popular demand, so I had to check it out. The gravy has a darker color, which I was told by staff is because of the spices and the grease from the meat. The biscuits have a sweet flavor from the butter. And best of all the gravy has huge chunks of spicy sausage. At $4.50 for a half order, you’re not just getting a filling breakfast but also supporting a business with a positive mission of providing jobs for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Reality Kitchen is at 645 River Road. Hours are 10 am to 3 pm Wednesday through Saturday, closed Sunday through Tuesday.
Still sweaty from a 10 mile run, I sat in my car outside of the Dari Market in Pleasant Hill, holding a Styrofoam container filled to the brim with biscuits and gravy — all for the price of $2.99. As I ate a hot order of biscuits and gravy while sweaty in my car, I’m sure other customers in the parking lot judged me, wondering what I was doing alone in a car with steamy windows. But I didn’t care — I was in greasy spoon heaven. Although the biscuits aren’t fluffy with made-from-scratch characteristics, the gravy is creamy and filled generously with sausage. Now I understand why some on the Eugene Foodies page love the Dari Mart chain for biscuits and gravy.
Find the store nearest you at DariMart.com.