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Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken, y'all

Fried chicken, biscuits, and things made from biscuit dough

The "Righteous Chicken Sandwich," with house sauce and optional cheddar biscuit
The "Righteous Chicken Sandwich," with house sauce and optional cheddar biscuit
Video:

FEAST!: Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken, y'all


Most weeks, I’m all too happy to ignore it when an out of state franchise lands in San Diego, no matter how buzzy or inexplicably successful it might be (chicken fingers are not enough to deserve an entire restaurant, Raising Cane’s!). But this week I’m going to make an exception, because it’s been a minute since I’ve had a good biscuit.

Place

Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken

6364 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego

And while there’s plenty to say about the arrival of Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken — heck, there’s plenty to say just uttering its name — I want to make sure one point doesn’t get lost: these are excellent biscuits.


Peek back into the kitchen, and you’ll see bags and bags of Rise’s proprietary flour, the stuff behind its buttermilk biscuits. I would have pestered the counter staff to find out more about the stuff, except there’s no counter staff.

There are no conventional service counters at Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken


Rise operates with a distinct self-service business model. Instead, you order from a digital kiosk, or from your smart phone, and when your order’s ready the kitchen staff loads it into a bank of heat lockers at the front of the shop. Bear in mind, on the odd occasion an item is missing from your order, you will have to waive down somebody in the kitchen to make it right. But for the most part, the locker system works. You don’t even need to punch in an order number or anything — just look for your name on a small screen, tap it, and a door pops open, revealing a ready to grab bag of still warm biscuits.


A customer picks up his order from an automated heat locker


Or, more likely, biscuit sandwiches. Biscuits aren’t enough to build an entire restaurant around either, but they do provide a perfect, flaky-crumbly-chewy medium for a variety of breakfast and fried chicken sandwiches.

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Sponsored


I skipped the breakfast stuff (eggs and cheese, plus ham, bacon, sausage, or vegan sausage), but I am here to vouch for the signature Righteous Chicken sandwich ($7.50). It’s simply a piece of crispy, boneless fried chicken on a biscuit with pickles and “boom boom sauce,” something of a spicy ketchup-mayo. 


The dining room at Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken, in the College Area


But it’s tasty enough to explain why this fast casual chain out of Durham, North Carolina has expanded into eight other states over the past several years. This San Diego location, not far from SDSU, is only the second in California, so all credit to the local franchise owner for catching on to a good thing.


By coincidence, I passed through North Carolina recently, and revisited Bojangles, the chicken and biscuit franchise I knew from my time living there as a teen. And the difference is like comparing In-N-Out to McDonald’s — Rise outshines Bojangles and it’s not even close.


At Rise, I was able to further indulge my Southern cravings with a side order of cheesy grits ($3), a biscuit sandwich of fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese ($6.50), tater tots ($3.30), fried okra ($3), and country gravy ($3). Get any of those, and an also terrific cheddar biscuit ($2.50), and you’ll wind up full and happy enough to develop a drawl.


Clockwise from right: Maple bacon donut, cinnamon roll, beignets, and glazed blueberry biscuit, all made from Rise's proprietary biscuit flour.


Rise also offers decent coffee, and a surprising assortment of sweets: donuts ($2.50), beignets ($3.50), cinnamon rolls ($2.75), and apple fritters ($4). What’s important to remember about these, is they’re all made with that same signature biscuit flour. So the beignets are not so airy-light as you might expect, and the maple-bacon donut ($3.50) has a little more chew. Think of them as something to try when you get tired of biscuits.

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The "Righteous Chicken Sandwich," with house sauce and optional cheddar biscuit
The "Righteous Chicken Sandwich," with house sauce and optional cheddar biscuit
Video:

FEAST!: Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken, y'all


Most weeks, I’m all too happy to ignore it when an out of state franchise lands in San Diego, no matter how buzzy or inexplicably successful it might be (chicken fingers are not enough to deserve an entire restaurant, Raising Cane’s!). But this week I’m going to make an exception, because it’s been a minute since I’ve had a good biscuit.

Place

Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken

6364 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego

And while there’s plenty to say about the arrival of Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken — heck, there’s plenty to say just uttering its name — I want to make sure one point doesn’t get lost: these are excellent biscuits.


Peek back into the kitchen, and you’ll see bags and bags of Rise’s proprietary flour, the stuff behind its buttermilk biscuits. I would have pestered the counter staff to find out more about the stuff, except there’s no counter staff.

There are no conventional service counters at Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken


Rise operates with a distinct self-service business model. Instead, you order from a digital kiosk, or from your smart phone, and when your order’s ready the kitchen staff loads it into a bank of heat lockers at the front of the shop. Bear in mind, on the odd occasion an item is missing from your order, you will have to waive down somebody in the kitchen to make it right. But for the most part, the locker system works. You don’t even need to punch in an order number or anything — just look for your name on a small screen, tap it, and a door pops open, revealing a ready to grab bag of still warm biscuits.


A customer picks up his order from an automated heat locker


Or, more likely, biscuit sandwiches. Biscuits aren’t enough to build an entire restaurant around either, but they do provide a perfect, flaky-crumbly-chewy medium for a variety of breakfast and fried chicken sandwiches.

Sponsored
Sponsored


I skipped the breakfast stuff (eggs and cheese, plus ham, bacon, sausage, or vegan sausage), but I am here to vouch for the signature Righteous Chicken sandwich ($7.50). It’s simply a piece of crispy, boneless fried chicken on a biscuit with pickles and “boom boom sauce,” something of a spicy ketchup-mayo. 


The dining room at Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken, in the College Area


But it’s tasty enough to explain why this fast casual chain out of Durham, North Carolina has expanded into eight other states over the past several years. This San Diego location, not far from SDSU, is only the second in California, so all credit to the local franchise owner for catching on to a good thing.


By coincidence, I passed through North Carolina recently, and revisited Bojangles, the chicken and biscuit franchise I knew from my time living there as a teen. And the difference is like comparing In-N-Out to McDonald’s — Rise outshines Bojangles and it’s not even close.


At Rise, I was able to further indulge my Southern cravings with a side order of cheesy grits ($3), a biscuit sandwich of fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese ($6.50), tater tots ($3.30), fried okra ($3), and country gravy ($3). Get any of those, and an also terrific cheddar biscuit ($2.50), and you’ll wind up full and happy enough to develop a drawl.


Clockwise from right: Maple bacon donut, cinnamon roll, beignets, and glazed blueberry biscuit, all made from Rise's proprietary biscuit flour.


Rise also offers decent coffee, and a surprising assortment of sweets: donuts ($2.50), beignets ($3.50), cinnamon rolls ($2.75), and apple fritters ($4). What’s important to remember about these, is they’re all made with that same signature biscuit flour. So the beignets are not so airy-light as you might expect, and the maple-bacon donut ($3.50) has a little more chew. Think of them as something to try when you get tired of biscuits.

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