Biscuit & Hogs owner Boomer Godsill can’t explain what makes his Meridian restaurant so popular.
“I ask that question all the time,” he said. “And I honestly can’t pin it down as to what it is. Because it’s such a broad concept, as far as it caters to so many different kinds of people.”
What he does know? The think-outside-the-trough local brand feels like a recipe for national success.
Opened at 2032 E. Overland Road near the start of the pandemic, Biscuit & Hogs now is preparing to expand. The goal is to develop a franchise that competes with household names in the chain restaurant industry. As Biscuit & Hogs invades other states, Godsill envisions it as a changing of the guard.
“It’s a big operation,” Godsill said, “but I think somebody needs to knock those guys (down) a peg or two — those national chains a little bit. If you’re into the food scene or look around ... you start to see that Applebee’s are shrinking in size, and the Chili’s are shrinking in size — and there’s a reason for that. It’s not just COVID.”
Three new company-owned Biscuit & Hogs restaurants already are in the works.
The first to open will be in Ogden, Utah. It will debut in November if all goes according to plan. “That’s a pretty big space, and we’re excited for it,” Godsill said.
The second one will be built in northwest Meridian. Part of the Orchard Park (formerly Linder Village) development on Linder Road and Chinden Boulevard, it could open by the start of 2023 if construction stays on track, Godsill said.
A third location will be built at 516 Main St. in Caldwell, he said. It could be serving customers as soon as spring 2023.
In the meantime? “We’re actively getting our franchise documents to start franchising Biscuit & Hogs,” he said.
“Our goal with Utah is to prove our concept can go outside our market. And by the time that we open up Ogden, we’ll have a couple of months under our belt when we start selling franchises, to show that it’s doable in places other than Idaho.”
“And then after that,” he continued, “our goal is to take off some of the big guys, because they’re slowing down. ... Take over some of the national chains that have been around forever that nobody wants to go to anymore.”
With the slogan “release your inner pig,” Biscuit & Hogs attracts customers with familiar yet creative food — and noticeably large portions. Google describes it as a place “for pork belly bacon and glazed maple chicken served with biscuits, eggs and home fries.”
“It’s not your typical breakfast, lunch or dinner fare,” Godsill said, “but it’s stuff that you could see country people enjoying. It’s not stuff that you don’t know what it means, never seen it before. Just taking some of those things that you know what they are and combining them with different combinations to make unique items.”
The concept has wide appeal, he said, even if it’s sometimes mystifying.
“I can’t just figure out what it is that makes Biscuit & Hogs so unique,” Godsill said. “But if you go in there early in the morning on a Saturday or a Sunday, it’s crowded, there’s a wait, music’s playing. People are having fun, eating, drinking. It’s just a different atmosphere than you’d ever see in a typical breakfast, brunch, lunch establishment.”
Open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week (with happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m.), Biscuit & Hogs also serves dinner — or supper, as the menu calls it. Options range from a USDA Aged Beef Ribeye to Smoked Herb Crusted Beer Can Chicken and a Giant Fish Fry Platter. Bring an appetite. Unless specified otherwise, supper entrees come with two sides.
The restaurant also serves liquor — often in eye-catching ways. The “Adulting” menu includes drinks such as the mimosa-powered Mango Mingo, served in a lawn flamingo (for a super-tempting $9 during happy hour).
Another source of Biscuit & Hogs pride? Being “an American eatery,” as the restaurant describes itself. Biscuit & Hogs uses stars and stripes in some of its logos and marketing. Customers can chug beer from — and take home — a 60-ounce, eagle-shaped Freedom Funnel, which the manufacturer describes as a ”patriotic beer bong.”
“In the time of everything we’re going through in the world ... (Biscuit & Hogs) does have some homage,” Godsill said. “It pays tribute to a lot of our military, our flag, our police, and we kind of display it proudly. But we’re not over the top. We don’t try to do that kind of stuff.”
As tricky as it is to describe, the overall formula has potential in other parts of the United States, Godsill suspects. And he just might know. Godsill owns two other chains in the Boise area: The recently created Brunchette brand and the long-running Original Sunrise Cafe, which helped inspire the more inventive Biscuit & Hogs.
“I think that the consumer has definitely changed in what they’re looking for,” he said. “And that’s why a lot of the mom-and-pop places are being so successful. But I also do believe people want a national franchise out there that just offers something different than what they’ve had before. Something unique. Something to change things up a little bit.”