After seven years of rambling, Ozark Mountain Biscuit Co. is building a permanent home in Columbia, Missouri.
This summer, the food truck famed for its buttery, Southern-style biscuit sandwiches will open Ozark Mountain Biscuit and Bar, featuring both a substantial all-day menu and a sprawling patio, across from Logboat Brewing Co.
A brick-and-mortar concept has been in the works since the company’s inception, but the COVID-19 pandemic – and a nonexistent festival season – pushed chef-owner Bryan Maness to make the move. “It was in our original plan to eventually open a restaurant, but what kind of form that would take, we didn’t really know seven years ago,” he says. “So we started with a food truck – and things were going well – and then we got into the festival scene and kind of focused on that for the last few years. It really wasn’t until last year, during the pandemic, that we decided to look forward, past 2020, and develop a concept for a full-service restaurant and bar.”
After the ideal space – the former Diggs Packing Co. building nestled between Logboat Brewing Co. and Walt’s Bike Shop – became available, plans came together quickly. “I found this space last fall, signed a lease and then began the planning process with engineers and architects,” says Maness. “We began buildout late last winter, and we plan to open in the next couple of months.” The crew hopes to be ready in June, just in time for peak patio season.
On wheels, Ozark Mountain Biscuit Co. has focused on biscuit sandwiches and Southern sides. At its brick-and-mortar location, which has plenty of prep and cooking space, there’s room for even more homestyle favorites on the menu. “What we’re gonna do with Ozark Mountain Biscuit and Bar is diversify a little bit,” says Maness. “Some of the biscuit sandwiches will be available, and we’ll also offer other bread options if you don’t feel like a biscuit.”
In addition to the classic sandwiches, including the chicken fried chicken with crispy buttermilk fried chicken, a soft egg, greens and sawmill gravy, the menu will feature a set of breakfast, brunch, lunch and shared plates, available throughout the day. But the dinner menu is where you’ll find the freshest recipes. “Right now, our plan is to have rotating nightly entrées [that utilize] fresh, local ingredients,” says Maness. “We’re working with local farmers to find out what’s available and crafting our dinner menu to reflect what’s available and fresh; this idea tends to keep the menu innovative, unique and exciting for people.”
If you’re a fan of the Cajun Catfish sandwich, you’ll want to try the other fresh fish options coming to the dinner menu. “We source all our fish from the southern U.S., and we’re looking forward to exploring down to the Gulf. So [you might see] some seafood on the menu, definitely some barbecue shrimp plates, shrimp and grits and maybe even sea scallops or redfish or grouper. That’s something that we hadn’t really been able to play with much on the truck because of the limited space and capacity, so we’re excited to kind of explore more in that vein.”
The food menu is only half the fun, though. Two bars – one featuring locally roasted coffee and another featuring craft cocktails and beer – promise to please customers whether they’re sitting down to dinner or grabbing something to go.
The espresso bar, where you can also order to-go sandwiches, is a nod to the truck’s style of service. “The idea is to give people that biscuit experience that they’re used to,” explains Maness. “You can still quickly grab a coffee beverage and a hot sandwich [at Ozark Mountain Biscuit and Bar].”
The bar program will spotlight tried-and-true cocktails as well as originals, but Maness is most excited about the Ramos Gin Fizz, a New Orleans classic. “You don’t see it [often] because it’s complex,” he says, but it’s well worth the time it takes to make it. “It’s the perfect morning cocktail,” he continues. “It’s breakfast in a glass.”
Logboat beers will also make nightly appearances at the bar. “Logboat Brewing Co. and Ozark Mountain Biscuit Co. are good friends; we both opened around the same time between 2013 and 2014, and we’ve been working together ever since,” says Maness. Together, the two companies hope to further invigorate the neighborhood – and have a lot of fun along the way.
“We’ve talked about potentially utilizing the green space on the west side of the [restaurant] for live music events when it’s safe, and I’ve been talking with the brewers about developing a new beer that we can put on tap at the restaurant. I see a lot of collaboration in our future, continuing to build on the foundation we’ve already established.”
From the fare to the libations, you can enjoy all that Ozark Mountain Biscuit and Bar has to offer from its indoor dining room or its 2,000-square-foot patio – which will be one of the largest in Columbia. The extensive outdoor space actually came together as a happy accident. “We knew there was going to be a patio, but we didn’t know that it would turn out as large as it did,” says Maness. “There was kind of a miscommunication with the city about the lot lines. The lot ended up being bigger than we thought, so they went ahead and just expanded the patio to fill up the space. So there is actually as much dining area on the patio as there is in the restaurant.”
We’re certainly not going to complain about that.
Once it debuts, Ozark Mountain Biscuit and Bar will be open Wednesday through Monday from 8am to 10pm.
Ozark Mountain Biscuit and Bar, 1207 Rogers St., Columbia Missouri, 573.999.9323, facebook.com/OzarkMountainBiscuitCo