by Chris Myers
Saturday mornings at Sneaky Beans aren’t like normal mornings there. The pace is slow. The usual clientele is a little later showing up. And, that smell. Oh, sweet Lord, that smell. It’s not the normal fragrance of freshly ground Beanfruit Coffee alone. No. It’s the smell of breakfast – veggie quiche, sausage, gouda grits, and Byron Knight’s biscuits. They’re the best around.
Breakfast service starts around 9. Some folks trickle in early. Some come later. It really just depends on the weather and what happened the night before. The menu is concise, and everyone knows that if you come in too late, you may only walk away with coffee.
There’s a group of regulars who will typically pull together some tables. All are welcome to pull up a chair. When the orders come out one by one, everything has to be arranged just so. A jar of strawberry jam makes its rounds as each person dresses their sausage biscuit. In the meantime, Jake, the resident three year-old, picks at a chocolate muffin from La Brioche with a side of biscuit. He let’s everyone know when the grits have cooled to a safe temperature to eat. Later on, he’ll inform barista Kevin Smith that it’s time to make his mom’s latte to-go.
When Sneaky Beans opened in 2008, business neighbor and friend Nathan Glenn taught Knight several recipes for biscuits. He tweaked it a little for his own taste and that’s what he serves today. According to him, “it’s the perfect biscuit for sausage. Just the right balance of salt and sweet.” After serving breakfast daily for a while, Knight and then manager Leslee Foukal decided that they should stick to Saturdays only. It’s grown from there.
Over the years, Sneaky Beans has allowed guests to take over the kitchen, starting with chefs Jesse Houston and Ryan Bell (then of Parlor Market), who, according to Knight, “really just wanted to learn my biscuit recipe.” Other pop-ups have included Catherine and Garrad Lee, Ian Hanson and Julia and Jamie Weems, among others. Those are the days when the line is out the door or down the hall. For Jesse Houston and Mitchell Moore’s Star Wars breakfast, some Stormtroopers even showed up.
If there’s a place in Fondren where everybody knows your name, Sneaky Beans is that place. It’s hard to sit there for five minutes without speaking to or meeting someone. There’s no better way to kickstart your weekend, and as long as Byron keeps churning out those biscuits, there will be people there to eat them.