Euless baker with no food background converts mother’s biscuit recipe and takes it into Central Market and Neiman Marcus
By Joy Donovan
Photos by Mike Lewis
It was in a dream that Linda Shelar envisioned what has become a thriving business.
TX Brisket Biscuit, which she tags “Fancy-Schmancy Take & Bake Biscuits,” was born one morning in 2019 when Shelar decided there was a message in that dream.
“I asked God to point me in a different direction,” she remembered recently, while taking a break from making her hand-mixed, hand-cut biscuits at 2390 Fuller Wiser Road in Euless. “Two nights later, I had a dream about the brisket biscuit. I had real clarity when I woke up.”
By July, she was in business, and now she’s living a dream she — with no food industry experience — never saw coming. Her “fancy-schmancy” creations will be carried by the iconic Neiman Marcus this holiday season. “I almost can’t believe it,” she said.
From a wild dream to a rented commercial space in Grapevine three minutes from her Euless storefront to a partnership with not only Neiman Marcus but also Central Market, Shelar has a successful business
on her hands in Northeast Tarrant County, even as she professes not to be a businesswoman.
“I’m a total creative,” she said, wrinkling her nose at the thought of numbers. ”I don’t have any acumen for business. I’m the creative end of things.”
With that creative streak, Shelar took her West Texas mama’s Southern biscuit recipe, added brisket to it, then crafted flavored butters to accompany each creation, just as she had imagined in her dream. Now her frozen biscuit selections number 22, all with flavor-enhancing specialty butters and funny Southern-sounding names.
There’s the Purdy Verde, with Hatch green chiles and apricot-honey butter; the Hissy Fit, with rosemary and poppy seeds and a Romano butter; the Hoity-Toity, with sun-dried tomatoes and an Italian herb butter; and the All Git-Out, with blueberries, white chocolate and a strawberry butter.
“The butter complements the biscuit like wine pairs with a good meal,” said Billy “Hound Dog” Howell. Owner of The Cajun Turkey Co., Howell and Shelar crossed paths at Saint Michael’s Farmers Market in Dallas. He liked the biscuits, he liked the butters and he liked Shelar. He was already partners with Neiman Marcus in its gourmet food section, and his enthusiasm for her creations got Shelar’s biscuits and butters noticed by the Texas-based luxury retailer.
“It was ingenious what she did,” Howell said. “I’m always looking for unique things, and she nailed it. She’s a go-getter with a great product.”
Starting a new business just months before the global pandemic shut down the world, Shelar could have seen that dream turn into a nightmare. Instead, not only did her business survive, but it flourished, she said. People staying at home wanted tasty food without exposing themselves to COVID-19. Millennials, who look for convenience and quality, have also become big fans of her biscuits.
“I like looking back on how the business has grown,” she said. “I continue to see doors open and I just walk through them. Growing a business takes tenacity, and you have to be ready for unexpected letdowns. You can’t let them block your journey.”
Open 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, TX Brisket Biscuit offers a freezer full of grab-and-go selections. On Fridays, there’s a drawing for free biscuits, with the winning customer’s name taken from the family biscuit bowl Shelar inherited from her mother.
“We always had meals that were way beyond what we needed to eat,” said Shelar, an only child. “But honestly, I’m a better cook than she was.”
She laughs and pauses for a brief moment. “It was the dream.”
The Yowza Appetizer
Makes 12 servings
• One package 12 TX Brisket Biscuit mini blue cheese and chive biscuits or Parmesan biscuits, with accompanying butter
• 2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
• 1 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
• 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
Bake biscuits according to package instructions. Slice in half and let cool. With
the butter included in the package, spread a small amount on each half. Top with chopped tomatoes, crumbled bacon and chives. Serve at room temperature.