Life. Love. Biscuits.
ARTICLE BY VANELIS RIVERA AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY KELLY MOORE CLARK
“Well, breakfast is my entire life and my favorite meal of the day,” enthusiastically admits Glen Lewellyan, owner and operator of Monroe’s new favorite brunch spot Delta Biscuit Co. He sits across from his wife, Jessica Lewellyan, the restaurant’s executive chef. Golden copper curls are braided away from her face, and she sports a black chef coat. All around, servers are shuffling among tables, taking orders, and refilling cups with water. The lunch rush has dwindled, allowing the details of the space to come alive. Across from our seating, the company’s logo is mounted on an exposed sand-toned stone wall, a wavy-edged circle with the company’s catchy tagline–Life. Love. Biscuits. While simple, each word’s promise indicates the kind of food and service this eatery is dishing out daily.
Glen hails from Minden, Louisiana, and has been in the restaurant business for over thirty years. He got a job at sixteen washing dishes and worked his way up to regional director of that company. He worked for Chili’s Grill & Bar for ten years and other corporate restaurants after that for ten more, learning the ropes of the business. His culinary experiences also include working with Paula Dean and Al Copeland. As for brunch, his unwavering enthusiasm has roots in his travels to New Orleans. One particular meal in Mandeville, Louisiana stuck with him. The experience made him realize that if he was ever going to open a restaurant it would be fashioned with the feeling he was left with after the meal.
He moved back to Monroe from Dallas around 2018 looking for a place to lease, but couldn’t quite get one on the level he wanted. “So, I just kind of put it on hold until the time was right to find a better property and better business partners,” he says. Meanwhile, he joined Restaurant Cotton as Director of Operations. There, he met his future wife Jessica, who at the time had worked her way up to Kitchen Manager. Her spunky wit and creativity in the kitchen sparked a connection, one that would lead to a double commitment–wife and business partner. In September of 2021, the pair began having business meetings with Joe Holyfield concerning an available property. “And he asked me if I’d go on the ride with him,” says Jessica referring to the possibility of opening up a predominantly breakfast-oriented eatery. Having grown up cooking and eating much of what Glen had in mind for the menu, she felt emboldened to take a chance. “My grandma taught me how to make everything from scratch, so that’s where my inspiration came from,” she says. Additionally, she was drawn to the idea of having more freedom in the kitchen. As a creative person, she craved a space that would allow her to construct her own dishes and tinker with ideas. “We spent a lot of time, a lot of years building other people’s dreams,” Glen adds. They both credit those years with refining their individual skillset, all the while acknowledging that they were ready to become their own bosses.
“I’ve always felt like my life would not be complete if I couldn’t do this for me,” asserts Glen, adding, “And I knew that having her on my team, not only as my wife and co-worker, partner in crime, there was never going to be a better time than now.” The alignment of the stars was too clear to ignore in spite of the pandemic making the process a lot more tedious. To ease the process and help them narrow down their multifaceted ideas, they hired New York-based Emily Ackerman, owner of Salt Shaker Consulting. One of the first endeavors for the team was narrowing down the menu. Their first draft filled six pages and they needed to get it down to one page. Ackerman had them cook meals for four days a week just for tasting. A second step to refining the menu required the pair to consider dish execution, making sure dishes could be made and served on time. They had to consider what prep stations would be involved in the making of one dish and how they could work together to assist in expediting an order in a timely fashion. “There’s just a lot of pieces to that puzzle,” says Jessica, admitting that there has been a lot of trial and error, but also a lot of quick learning. Glen agrees, saying, “It truly is a creation from every aspect.”
The Delta Biscuit Co. breakfast menu is a haven for breakfast aficionados everywhere. While you’ll find familiar items like beignets, avocado toast, omelets, eggs benedict, french toast, pancakes, and waffles, ingredients and preparation are inspired by the Delta. That means each dish feels like a home-cooked meal with a flare of elegance. Jessica has two favorite menu items, one sweet and the other savory. “French toast alone is really good,” she says, but the Bananas Fosters French Toast on the Breakfast Menu is “pure decadence on a plate,” as Glen puts it. Here, Texas toast is used, topped with housemade bananas foster syrup, cinnamon butter, and powdered sugar. On the lunch menu, her recent obsession is the Pork Belly Sandwich. “It’s a lot of love and care,” says Jessica, who prepares the pork belly to marinate overnight and cooks it for six hours the next day. Made to order, each slice gets deep-fried, tossed in a homemade sweet chili sauce, placed on a brioche bun, and topped with crunchy coleslaw, the Delta sauce, housemade dill pickles, and haystack onion rings. Other lunch menu favorites include more delectable versions of southern staples like Shrimp & Gouda Grits, Country Fried Steak, and the Fried Chicken Platter, which is cooked to order.
When asked by his team what he wanted his restaurant to look like, Glen responded, “I want it to look like a beautiful home.” That translated to comforting color palettes like the azure blue on accent walls and on the shelving behind the bar area. The simplicity of the space makes room for the vibrancy of the multicolored artwork by Todd Pavlisko. “It’s a perfect marriage between pop art and folk art,” says Jessica. The largest piece hangs from one of the exposed stone walls–two herons lazing around in the water. If you look closely at any of the prints, you’ll find a few Easter eggs such as biscuits, fresh vegetables, and even musical references. “Every element of the design of this building and of the venue is based on the Delta,” says Glen. Even their music playlist contains artists influenced by sounds within 200 miles of Northeast Louisiana. Further adding texture to the welcoming interior are some design touches by Tish Miller Design. On the floor, hexagonal black, white, gray, and beige tiles create a honeycomb pattern that flushes into the wood floor palettes. Meanwhile, the bar counter’s geometric backsplash adds to the luxury of the space, illuminated by the milky white translucent light pendants hanging overhead. Whether you are eating, sipping on one of their picturesque specialty cocktails, or both, elements of design permeate every corner of the dine-in experience.
Since the Delta Biscuit Co. opened its doors on March 22nd of this year, they have been met with a flood of support. It’s clear to customers just how much work has been poured into curating a restaurant that strives to feel like home. For the husband and wife team, that’s precisely what it is. “I love working with my family,” admits Jessica, who grew up selling produce with her family at an early age. “That’s what I envisioned for my life,” she continues, emphasizing that nobody has your back quite like family. The couple recognizes how well their strengths complement each other. Glen credits his wife for her confidence, swagger, and energy, while she calls him an architect who brings order and precision to her artistry. The dynamic between the two sets the foundation of the restaurant which permeates to their staff and their customers, proving that happiness is as simple as living, loving, and eating biscuits.
The Delta Biscuit Company is located at 2252 Tower Dr suite 101, Monroe, LA 71201 and is open Tuesday through Sunday between 7 AM to 3 Pm. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook to gush over their dish and drink items or visit their website (https://www.deltabiscuit.com/)