Baker Erika Council relaunched Bomb Biscuits as a delivery service last spring, hoping to kick start the momentum spurred on by her popular weekend buttermilk biscuit pop-ups held at Atlanta restaurants prior to the pandemic. Now Council is taking the next step in growing her biscuit business, opening Bomb Biscuits inside Irwin Street Market on September 10 and bringing back the celebrated pop-up — this time as a takeout operation.
Since launching the delivery business in May 2020, Bomb Biscuits has outgrown its space and operations capacity at commercial kitchen facility Prep Atlanta. Council’s buttermilk biscuit menu has expanded, too, with more flavors, like bacon cheddar chive, and gluten free and vegan options. She now ships her biscuits and cinnamon rolls nationwide, while also making local deliveries to customers throughout the cities of Atlanta and Decatur, many of whom have ordered every week since pivoting the pop-up to delivery.
“There are people who have ordered every day since I posted the first delivery biscuit drop,” Council says. “That’s loyalty. I’ve outgrown the space, and we can’t serve sandwiches out of there either. We’ve grown to a point where this was hitting the limit on our revenue stream.”
Council admits she misses the pop-up days, where she often saw lines out the door for her fried chicken and country ham biscuits on weekend mornings. The kitchen she works from at Prep doesn’t allow for takeout or pick up and offers limited space in which to ramp up biscuit and cinnamon roll production and shipping capacity. She already makes 60 in-town deliveries each week, all on Fridays. She hopes to add Thursdays soon.
Council began scouting spaces around Atlanta earlier this year to open Bomb Biscuits where she could expand production and operate as both a takeout and delivery business. After considering a few new and second generation restaurant spaces in Atlanta, Council says she needed something in-between a commercial kitchen and a permanent location.
A friend connected her with Jake Rothschild, owner of Irwin Street Market in the Old Fourth Ward. The market and its incubator kitchen stalls fit the bill.
“Jake has an incubator kitchen in the back where I can continue to do the production, including corporate catering and shipping,” says Council. “The biscuit stall allows me to offer takeout, too, for people walking in off the street or to pick up online orders.”
Neighboring kitchens in the market include Rothschild’s Jake’s Ice Cream, DBA Sandwich Co., antipasti spreads business Bene Botega, and Glide Pizza, which serves from a street-side takeout window in front of the building. Bomb Biscuits resides across from Glide inside the market.
Once open in September, Council will offer a selection of buttermilk biscuits and sandwiches on the takeout menu, including her popular fried chicken biscuit and atomic hot sausage biscuit, along with other selections like a seasonal fried green tomato and pimento cheese biscuit, gluten free BLT biscuit, and a vegan biscuit with spicy vegan sausage or vegan fried chicken. The menu will also feature Council’s coveted cinnamon rolls as well as bacon cheddar chive, chocolate chip, and graham cracker biscuits.
While open for takeout on Thursdays and Fridays, days Council will focus mostly on shipping, local deliveries, and pick up for larger biscuit and cinnamon roll orders, Saturdays and Sundays will be dedicated to the biscuit sandwiches made popular at the Bomb Biscuits pop-up. People can still order biscuit and cinnamon roll batches for weekend pick up.
Council hopes to expand biscuit deliveries to more in-town Atlanta neighborhoods, too, based on a specific radius from her new Irwin Street Market address. Seating for Bomb Biscuits includes a couple of bar stools and tables off to the side of the stall, and at tables outside and on the market’s covered patio.
When asked about future plans for Bomb Biscuits, Council brings it back to her family and one day hoping to educate young Black girls in the art of bread baking.
Her grandmothers and 103-year-old great Aunt Fanny were Council’s introduction to baking. Her paternal grandmother, southern cooking icon and award-winning cookbook author Mildred “Mama Dip” Council, owned Mama Dip’s Kitchen Restaurant in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Her maternal grandmother, Geraldine Dortch, baked and sold cakes to help support the civil rights movement in Goldsboro, North Carolina.
Council’s daughter helped run the business alongside her mother last year while home from college during the pandemic shutdowns. Now back at school as a junior, her daughter continues to be involved, handling the Instagram account for Bomb Biscuits.
“I notice people ask me, ‘where did you learn biscuits from?’ expecting me to quote all these white chefs who make great biscuits,” Council says of her baking background. “That’s not been my experience.”
Council says her bread-baking experience, especially making sourdough bread, which she learned from her great aunt, is a missing piece of the narrative when it comes to African-American food ways. Her ultimate goal is to eventually begin reintroducing the art of bread baking to Black girls and other Black people, and to provide insight into creating and running their own businesses.
“I would love to have a space that’s production, but gains enough capital for me and other advanced bakers to be able to teach from,” says Council. “I don’t mean just biscuits, but sourdough, salt-rising bread, brown bread, things like that.”
Other future goals include a more permanent location for Bomb Biscuits and possibly seeing her biscuits land on grocery store shelves. For now, Council is grateful for the opportunity to open at Irwin Street Market and to grow her buttermilk biscuit business and expand its reach.
“Bomb Biscuits will continue on this journey and I’ll see where it takes me. But, I want to continue occupying the space we don’t occupy for some reason and, when it comes to bread baking, show other [Black] people like me that we are out here.”