Raising the Bar (mostly with Maple…and Bacon…) Rise Biscuits and Donuts in Durham, NC
As I exited the front door of Rise Biscuits and Donuts in Durham I was confronted by an early bird patron waiting for the opening bell to sound, poised like a juiced up race horse, ready for the gates to shudder open. He looked shocked as he noticed I was empty handed. I had arrived a few minutes before Rise had opened to pick up some morning fresh donuts to take back to my studio to photograph.
“Are you leaving empty handed?” he chipperly asked. I chuckled to myself, “Yes, they weren’t ready for me…” He inquired further and I explained that my mission was to get some donuts to photograph. Just a few minutes earlier I ended a quick discussion with Brian Wiles, manager at Rise Biscuits and Donuts. He was apologetic that our plans from the previous day’s in store biscuit shoot had been kiboshed by the simple fact that the donuts created that morning didn’t look as good as he had wanted them to. I can respect the notion of setting a standard, especially when it comes to wanting to make a nice looking image. But, as I continued the conversation with the awaiting patron, Brian had made his way to the front door to open for business and recognized the man I was speaking with…clearly a regular. They chatted back and forth discussing what was available and I found out that Brian’s standard of quality not only covered production of ideal product that looks good to photograph, but also extends further, to the refusal of giving any of the sub par offerings to his customers. ”…yeah…sorry…we’re working on the next batch, should be ready in about 15 minutes.” I can respect, even further, a eatery that sets standards for taste as well.
Rise Biscuits and Donuts prides themselves on what they offer, and they keep it simple: (from their website)…serve great food at and affordable price point, made with good stuff by people who care.
Brian Wiles took a moment from working the line to check up on me as I was working the angle of this Biscuit with Jam and Peanut Butter. He asked if I had wanted to use the Farmer’s Daughter Strawberry Jam jar in the shot. ”Absolutely!” As I finished the shot and returned the jar to him he proudly proclaimed…”Ah Yes!….This stuff…It’s Like Gold!” Farmer’s Daughter Brand, created by April McGreger, is a fantastic pairing with Durham’s own Big Spoon Roasters Peanut Butter. Clearly Durham has been making it’s way to national recognition as a ‘foodie’ town…and this camaraderie amongst the businesses that make up the food scene are a driving force to that reputation.
The pedigree behind Rise Biscuits and Donuts runs deep within Durham’s food roots. Owner, Tom Ferguson, was a founder of the locally renowned food truck, Only Burger, as well currently running The Durham Catering Co. Brian Wiles was a sous chef at Nana’s. Ferguson and Wiles took it upon themselves to explore US donut culture with a tour in 2012, stopping at many of the nation’s best shoppes. Images of this trip can be found hanging on the walls of Rise Biscuits and Donuts.
As I was tucked away in the back section of the small settings of Rise Biscuits and Donuts, I quickly realized that this was the section for kids to play, fully equipped with a toy oven and stove for them to make imaginary donuts. As I decided this to be the perfect spot to set our Chicken Biscuit, a few young patrons entered the space, knowing of the play area and excited to do what they do best…unfortunately…I was here first, so…a lesson in waiting…beat it germ bags! (and don’t touch my Biscuit!)
Rise Buiscuits and Donuts
8200 Renaissance Parkway Suite 1003
Durham, NC 27713