Celebrated by Food & Wine, Saveur and Southern Living, beloved by Oprah, and offered through fancy food purveyors such as Goldbely and Williams‑Sonoma, Callie’s Charleston Biscuits is an unlikely success story.
Carrie Morey founded Callie’s in 2005, selling packaged frozen buttermilk biscuits made from the recipe passed down from her mother, Charleston caterer Callie White. The company has been growing nationwide, ever since, with products such as Callie’s pimento cheese, grits, biscuit mix, coffee, ham, jam and honey on offer.
In 2014, Morey opened the immediately popular Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, a grab-and-go bake shop in Charleston’s Upper King District, serving the likes of cinnamon, blackberry and country ham biscuits, bowls of grits, and French press coffee, at breakfast and lunch daily, and late night on weekends.
On New Year’s Eve, Morey opened a second Hot Little Biscuit shop in Atlanta, moving into a narrow storefront space at 1004 Virginia Avenue, in the heart of the bustling Virginia-Highland neighborhood.
The day before the debut, Morey took a break from supervising a crew of workmen, who were hustling to ready the kitchen for a final inspection, to talk about her biscuit business.
“I grew up with my mom making the country ham biscuit,” Morey said. “That’s where this whole idea started. We always talked about making it a business. But my big issue was I wanted to be a mom, too, so I said, let’s start an online mail order business.
“We just had our tenth year anniversary in November. But the question we kept getting, even though we had more and more stores selling the biscuits, was where can I get your biscuits hot when I come to Charleston?”
Asked why she decided to expand to Atlanta so quickly after opening the Charleston shop, Morey said it was all about suddenly finding the right space in the right place.
“I’ve always loved Atlanta,” Morey said. “And growing up, in my memory it was first big city in the South with great food. But I looked at five different cities. For me it was about the location and the aesthetic. I needed to fall in love with the place that I was going to spend massive amounts of time. Virginia-Highland has always been one of my favorite spots. And this is the most quintessential corner of the neighborhood.”
Asked if there was a secret to her biscuits, Morey said it’s using a few simple, fresh ingredients, including White Lily flour, buttermilk, butter and cream cheese. But more than that, it’s that they’re made by hand.
“Where I live most of the time is in my main bakery in Charleston,” Morey said. “It’s in a historic home that we converted into a bakery. And I have a staff of seven women that do nothing but make biscuits all day and manage all of the other things we do. I couldn’t do any of this without them.”
Here’s a taste of what you’ll find at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit.