Micah Maughan and Kit Durrett are kindred spirits connected by two wheels and a 500-pound food cart.
Towing the custom-made kitchen with a tandem bike, they park outside of local businesses to sling their specialty biscuits.
“Like pizza, a biscuit is something that’s universally loved,” says Maughan, a veteran chef who’s worked in restaurants from Idaho to New York City. “It’s comfort food.”
The buttermilk bread is flaky and fluffy, with cornmeal added to give it texture. Whether you order one as a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich or douse it with a tasty topping such as jackfruit vindaloo, homemade kimchi or smoked chicken and mole, each bite is a little taste of heaven.
Soul Biscuit hits the road on weekends in neighborhoods with relatively flat terrain such as Lawrenceville, the Strip District, Downtown and Shadyside. Weather permitting, the riders plan to pedal through the winter.
As next-door neighbors in Millvale, Maughan and Durrett hosted backyard barbecues that went beyond hot dogs on the grill. They experimented with all kinds of foods and flavors and eventually turned their hobby into a small catering venture. Their first big gig? Preparing more than 100 meals for Durrett’s 2019 wedding.
Avid cyclists, the friends wondered if they could combine biking and baking into one business.
After some online research, they discovered Dock Dawgs, a Detroit-based company that builds mobile food vending carts. They took a road trip to Motor City, where owner Eddy Dock retrofitted their bike with a custom hitch and crafted a stainless steel, to-go kitchen.
Turns out controlling a tandem cycle while hauling a quarter-ton griddle equipped with a steam table, a pair of burners, two water tanks, four sinks, a hot water heater, coolers and storage bins isn’t like riding a bike.
It took Maughan, who now lives in Shaler, and Durrett, a Lawrenceville resident, a while to find the right balance, but their legwork paid off. Since late August, they’ve been serving pedal-powered portions of Americana made with locally sourced ingredients. You can often see their bike, dubbed The Magic School Bus — with its cartoonish color scheme — parked outside of area breweries and cafes.
In the future, they might expand the operation to a food truck or storefront, but, for now, they’re happy freewheeling around town.