Where: 1151 Thompson Bridge Road, Gainesville
When: 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Fresh food, family recipes and a friendly environment. Those are what makes Stan’s Deli so popular with a local crowd.
Biscuits are the No. 1 seller in the restaurant, and local companies will pick up large orders as early as 4:30 a.m. before the regulars start arriving when Stan’s opens at 6 a.m.
"They’re just made with flour, shortening and buttermilk," biscuit maker Marla Walker said. "They’re just country biscuits."
Walker worked with owner Stan Davidson Jr.’s father in The Biscuit Shoppe before joining Davidson on his own biscuit endeavor.
"We basically try to do everything the same way he did," Davidson said of his dad’s restaurant. "We just got a bigger place, and we have a drive-thru."
Now in the larger shop with an even larger fan base, Davidson, co-owner Greg Loyd, Walker and her mother are churning out big fluffy biscuits the locals love.
"Our most popular is bacon, egg and cheese," Loyd said. "When we first opened, we didn’t have salmon, and a lot of people asked for a salmon biscuit and a bologna biscuit, which I never thought about being a big seller."
The restaurant also serves chicken, tenderloin, sausage and gravy biscuits and everything in between.
"We do homemade sausage patties that look like a hamburger patty when you press them out," Davidson said. "Nothing is frozen. It’s all fresh."
Early in the morning, the crew heads into the restaurant to prepare for the breakfast biscuit rush, which begins with a line of cars around the building and never truly ends through the lunch transition, especially on the weekends.
"Saturdays and Sundays are a traffic jam here," owner Davidson said with a laugh. "Our drive-thru line will be the whole right-hand lane of the northbound lane of Thompson Bridge."
Stan’s Deli gets fresh, local ingredients from places such as Green’s Grocery and McClure’s every day, which not only helps because of the small restaurant’s lack of storage but also improves the food quality.
"The difference between us and everybody else is that this distributor delivers every day," Davidson said. "Everything comes in fresh; nothing we use is ever frozen."
However, the focus on fresh combined with high-volume business does sometimes leave the owners scrambling out the door to grab some more milk or meat.
"On Fridays, I order 100 pounds of sausage for the weekend, and we have run out before," Walker said.
Despite the frequent deliveries, not every ingredient comes every day, so sometimes the owners improvise to get through a rush.
"We typically use around 800 pounds of flour and 80 gallons of buttermilk a week," Loyd said. "A lot of times on Saturdays and Sundays, we will be out of flour and buttermilk and won’t get a delivery until Monday, so we have to try to find more flour and buttermilk in bulk."
No matter what, the group keeps the fresh biscuits coming out of the oven for regulars like Trent Chambers and his daughter Olivia, who eat at Stan’s multiple times per week.
"I come in almost every day," Trent Chambers said. "I get a sausage gravy biscuit with a side order of some other kind of meat. It’s good food, good portions and good prices."
After the breakfast rush, regulars return for lunch as well, when they trade biscuits for sandwiches and burgers.
"We originally just planned to have deli sandwiches for lunch," Loyd said. "People kept asking for hamburgers and hot dogs and things like that, so we started getting fresh ground beef in from Green’s every day."
Now, the place sells BLT sandwiches, Philly cheese steaks, hamburgers, chicken salad and more.
"We make our own chili, pimento cheese, chicken salad, egg salad, everything," Loyd said. "Everything we have we make right here. We don’t buy anything pre-processed."
Davidson is in charge of the chili recipe, while Loyd handles the sandwiches.
"We make chicken salad and egg salad almost every day," Loyd said. "We just tried different things and found out what goes together."
Buster Rober eats at Stan’s Deli at least twice a week for either breakfast or lunch and enjoys the convenience and quality.
"I usually get eggs and bacon for breakfast, and if I come in for lunch I get a turkey sandwich."
Chambers said he loves the club sandwich and the Reuben, which is a popular choice. Olivia said she loves the BLT.
"It’s just a really good sandwich," Trent said.