New restaurant: Kiss My Grits

Photos: Martha Cheng

Biscuits and gravy

Kiss My Grits is adorable: baby blue accents, wooden tables, mismatched chairs painted white and a church pew for seating. It’s all you’d want in a homey, Southern-style restaurant, down to the  Mason jars for your drinks. The tagline for this restaurant is Southern-style biscuits and barbeque, so that’s what we order … and then some.

The biscuits are indeed tagline-worthy, especially with the side of housemade blueberry jam and apple butter. They’re not light, feathery biscuits, but they’re not meant to be, as they need to stand up to a rich sausage gravy for the biscuits and gravy dish.

Kiss My Grits specializes in Carolina barbecue, which means chopped pork, light smokiness and little sauce. Between the two sauce choices—North (chile and vinegar) or South (tangy mustard)—I prefer the South, which helps liven up the meat. Maybe I’m just a Texas or Memphis girl when it comes to barbecue—without smoke or sauce (or both), the chopped pork, though tender and juicy, tastes bland.

Carolina-style BBQ

I love the sides: hush puppies, delicately fried with a coarse cornmeal crunch, deviled eggs and coleslaw. Grits, ordered separately, taste of creamy, sweet corn.

Particularly promising is the fried chicken. It has an amazing, craggy, extra-crispy buttermilk crust. It’s juicy on the inside, too. The only problem is, it’s too salty, the chicken almost cured as a result of over-brining. If that were fixed, it would perfect.

Fried Chicken

This Sunday Kiss My Grits debuts the Bluegrass Brunch, with an all-you-can-eat buffet of fried chicken, Carolina barbecue, baked beans, hush puppies, deviled eggs and bread pudding. Live entertainment provided by the Saloon Pilots. $25 per person, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., reservations recommended.

Kiss My Grits, 1035 University Ave in Puck’s Alley (behind the Varsity Bar), 348-0626,