For the last three years, chef Mitch Prensky had a secret weapon. It was a tasty surprise that he brought out only at food festivals and pop-up markets: the Scratch Biscuit sandwich. But earlier this month Prensky finally took his treat to a wider audience, opening a Scratch Biscuit outlet at 1306 Chestnut St.
Last weekend, Prensky expanded the initial hours of 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. to serve a late-night crowd. Scratch Biscuits now opens up again from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays to sell 5 Buck Cluck fried chicken and pimento cheese and pickle sandwiches out of Scratch’s back door on Drury Street. “It’s perfect if you’re drunk and need something delicious to soak up the alcohol,” he says with a laugh.
The chef/co-owner (with wife Jennifer) of South Street’s stylish Supper has always done an unadorned buttermilk biscuit at the restaurant, but Prensky started to think about the buttery baked good in a bigger way: “A biscuit can be anything: sweet, savory, breakfast, lunch, dinner.”
Prensky calls Southern cuisine his “passion.” He began stuffing traditional gluten-free biscuits with Carolina pulled pork, BBQ brisket and country ham, testing the concept at the Food Trust’s roving Night Markets in 2012: “I sold 1,400 Scratch sandwiches at the Fairmount market. People raved and asked where they could get them regularly.”
The new Scratch Biscuits eatery is small and bright, with a chalkboard menu and a country music collage starring Willie Nelson as its centerpiece. There’s even a “Willie” sandwich with garlicky kale, avocado and creole remoulade on a black bean chili cake.
Every sandwich is handmade and crammed with creamy sauces, meat and veggies. “The staff can help build your own or there’s a dozen of our ideas,” says Prensky, pointing out items like The Pigscuit and The Jellybelly. “Remember, anything can be a Scratch Biscuit.”
Three to try
Breakfast: Start the day with the Philly Farmland, with baked eggs, house-made Scrapple and sage cream gravy with hot sauce.
Lunch: Stop by midday for buttermilk chicken, cabbage slaw, corn relish and cayenne ranch in the Fried Chicken Picnic Biscuit.
Dinner: Finish off with the Brisket Biscuit: barbecued brisket with horseradish mayo, pickled red onions and smoked cheddar.