One Seattle breakfast mainstay is scaling things back as Washington’s stay-at-home order continues. On Sunday night, Biscuit Bitch owner Kimmie Spice announced on Facebook that she would be permanently closing two out of the four locations of the popular fast casual Southern breakfast chain due to the economic outlook from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pioneer Square and White Center outposts will shutter for good, while the two other locations — the original Caffe Lieto spot near Pike Place and the restaurant on Third Avenue and Bell Street in Belltown — plan to reopen for takeout, delivery, and limited outdoor dining with a small staff, when conditions allow (aiming for June).
In its eight-year history, Biscuit Bitch has steadily grown from a small pop-up at Caffe Lieto into a local phenomenon, regularly drawing long lines for its menu of biscuits smothered in gravy, including colorfully named dishes such as the Hot Mess Bitch (pop star Lizzo is a fan). It has expanded steadily over the years, adding the Belltown cafe in 2014, the Pioneer Square outpost in 2015, and the White Center location last September, with some new vegan items. The latest addition to the chain wasn’t an immediate success, but Spice said it had just started generating a profit when “everything came to a standstill.”
In her post, the restaurateur details the hard decisions she’s had to make over the past two months, as the downtown and Pioneer Square areas saw the devastating effects of the pandemic earlier than many other neighborhoods. With the absence of office workers (such as Amazon, Google, and Zillow), as well as big events, sports games, and cruise ships all canceled for the foreseeable future, Spice estimated that 85 percent of Biscuit Bitch’s customer base would be absent this year. Cutting back seemed to be the only way to keep the rest of the business afloat.
“This was the most excruciatingly painful thing I’ve ever had to do,” she wrote. “Not only am I letting most everyone go, I’m breaking up a tight-knit family. Staff who have grown together, helped each other through life events, were accepting and welcoming when adding new members, who created a culture where differences and originality were celebrated! This is a heartbreak for me that may never mend.”