If the popularity of Winter Park Biscuit Co.'s pop-ups are any indication, East End Market is about to become an epicenter for plant-based eats.
That's because the vegan diner by chef/cookbook author Mary Westfall and A Day to Remember guitarist Neil Westfall is poised to open inside the Audubon Park food hall, and ravenous vegans and lovers of Southern comfort will undoubtedly express their gratitude by showing up in (hopefully) socially distanced droves.
I got a chance to sample one of their burgers this week and, let me just say, the potato-bunned, Impossible-pattied, secret-sauced wonder stands up to any burger being served in town — plant-based or not. And the accompanying fries (cooked in peanut oil) are perfectly crisp on the outside and soft in their core.
Photo by Faiyaz Kara
Impossible Burger w/vegan American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, WPBC sauce, toasted potato bun
Winter Park Biscuit Co. will move into the space formerly occupied by Bird of Paradise
, which found a permanent home in New Smyrna Beach.
The Westfalls spent a fair bit of energy and effort redesigning the space, installing a gleaming new kitchen and reconfiguring the seating area. WPBC will only offer counter seating (accommodating up to nine people) but not for another six months.
Until then, customers will have to enjoy their baked-to-order biscuits, fried chik'n sandwiches and wrapped burgers (see menu below) at one of the many tables and benches outside. Guests will enter through the doors under the "Hot Biscuits" sign, place their order, then exit through East End Market's main entrance.
Photo by Faiyaz Kara
WPBC owners Mary and Neil Westfall
The restaurant has been three years in the making for the Westfalls, during which time the couple searched for the right space, tweaked the concept and exhibited a great amount of patience.
"We started this concept three years ago at East End Market and I'm so grateful that we now get to call it home," says Mary. "It'll be a transition for us to open with a smaller menu as we navigate through the end of the year, but we have a solid team that's ready to train and get us to our full menu as soon as we can."
Photo via Winter Park Biscuit Co.
Fried Chik Sandwich
The pandemic, of course, has very much influenced their cautious approach, but the pair remain optimistic about the year ahead.
"WPBC has been my savior in all of the uncertainties this year has brought," says Neil, who'll take a front-of-the-house role at the eatery when not touring. "I'm just so proud of Mary and our team and excited for everyone to be able to eat this food whenever they want it and not just at our pop-ups."
There, indeed, will be some navigating — the Westfalls are expecting their first child in January. Luckily for them, they've secured the services of Peter Summers, former sous-chef at the now-shuttered Luma on Park, to take over while Mary goes on maternity leave.
She hopes to be back in the kitchen by March.
Winter Park Biscuit Co. is tentatively scheduled to soft open to friends and family next week, and to the public the week of Nov. 23. Opening hours are TBD so be sure to follow them on Instagram
— Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you news on how coronavirus is affecting Central Florida. Please follow CDC guidelines and Orange County advisories to stay safe, and please support this free publication. Consider making a one-time or monthly donation. Every little bit helps.