Food & Drink

Out of the Box: The Southern Fast-Food Treat that Inspires Kristen Farmer Hall

Why the Birmingham pastry chef considers Bojangles Bo-Berry Biscuits a love language

Photo: courtesy of Bojangles

Before she was the executive pastry chef and co-owner of three Birmingham restaurants, the Essential, Bandit Pâtisserie, and Bar La Fête, Kristen Farmer Hall ran a humble pastry pop-up in town. And before that, she was a sweet-toothed kid growing up in Dalton, Georgia, where Sundays meant biscuits at Bojangles.

photo: Stacy Allen
Kristen Hall.

“There were limited options [in Dalton], and the biscuits were a big treat—warm, glazed, and buttery magical creations,” Hall recalls. “Growing up, they had blueberry, strawberry, and brown sugar cinnamon. Glory!”

Today, the Charlotte-based fast-food chain has culled their biscuit offerings to Bo-Berry (blueberry) and cinnamon varieties, listing the former as a “fan favorite” on their website. To Hall, they’re much more than that. “They’re comforting for people, and comfort is a love language,” she says. “I consumed many Bo-Berry Biscuits as a kid. I use that energy, love, and nostalgia when I’m making biscuits or cinnamon rolls. Those flavor profiles and feelings are always in my mind.”

Biscuits aren’t the only Bojangles offering Hall craves. She also likes the Bo-Tato Rounds (savory hashbrowns laced with onion powder), which she will pair with the biscuits for a play on sweet and salty. She confesses she even based her hashbrown recipe on the Essential’s brunch menu on the Bo-Tato. “I like what I like,” she says. 

That said, she does let health consciousness limit her indulgences these days. “If I was on a road trip and saw a Bojangles, I might think, ‘I’m in vacation mode’ and have it as a special treat,” she says. “I have two daughters and want to introduce them to things that have inspired me from my own childhood. Maybe on our next trip…”

Lest you think this is a car snack, Hall recommends eating Bo-Berry biscuits with a fork and knife. “The glaze gets pretty messy,” she cautions.