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    Eat & Swig

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    Cyndi Joyner can still remember the smell of the Brooklyn home she grew up in: sizzling bacon mixed with cleaning products. Her mom would cook and clean simultaneously, flipping pancakes and dancing with the mop while singing Billie Holiday, Elvis and the Jackson 5. On weekend mornings, Joyner and her brother would sit in front of the open refrigerator and experiment. “We’d pull everything out, try different combinations, see what tasted good together,” she says. “My mom would say, ‘What are you doing with the turkey? Why is cheese on the floor?’ We wasted a lot of food in the no pile.” Other people’s children were often around. “Mom was always cooking for everybody,” Joyner says. Rice and beans, Jamaican-style oxtail, mac and cheese. Trinidadian, Dominican and Puerto Rican influences. “Mom liked to joke she could make a meal out of a dishrag,” Joyner says.

    Joyner’s journey took her to Europe (to work on what she describes as the Czech Republic’s version of American Idol) and, eventually, to Mount Vernon, Ohio, to help a cousin who was a single mother. It was there that she opened her first biscuit restaurant. Last year, to be near the “love of her life,” she landed in Louisville, where the 41-year-old opened Boujie Biscuit on Frankfort Avenue. On a recent weekday morning, a man originally from Connecticut ordered and said it would be only the second biscuit he ever had.

    “What?!” Joyner said.

    “They don’t really have biscuits where I’m from,” he said.

    He ordered the Gravy Train on Fire: hot-sauce-drenched chicken AND sausage gravy on a biscuit. “It is on fire,” he said.

    The four-by-four-inch, butter-brushed biscuits are two inches thick, the soft top looking like a sandbar in a gravy lagoon. “My mom always used to say people need huge portions,” Joyner says. “I wanted the biscuit to be able to stand up against anything I put on it.” And Joyner will put anything on a biscuit. The 20-plus options include the Cheesy Burger (seasoned ground angus, sautéed onions, pickles and a three-cheese sauce), the Georgia Peach (peaches warmed in butter and brown sugar) and the Dirty Monkey (bananas, bacon and a cayenne-infused chocolate gravy). She keeps a notebook with topping possibilities. “Do you like curry?” she says. “Stay tuned.”

    This originally appeared in the January 2019 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Photo by Mickie Winters, mickiewinters.com

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