For Janie Burkett, her family and professional life are all about growth these days. With husband Jake, Burkett welcomed baby Byron just over a year ago; he joins brother Banner, 2, and sister Blake, 4. Meanwhile—despite the pandemic—the Burketts’ business, The Biscuit Bar, recently opened its fifth location in the Fort Worth Stockyards (in addition to restaurants in Dallas, Plano and Arlington); new locations are coming in early 2021 to Coppell, Addison and Abilene.
The venture came about following a tragic season in the Burketts’ lives: Born premature, daughter Brycee Jo passed away at 2 weeks old, and Blake, her twin, remained in the hospital for two months. After, loved ones gathered for biscuits and other comfort food—something that inspired the Burketts’ journey forward.
How did you know you had the components for a successful restaurant? When we brought Blake home, we couldn’t go anywhere because it was RSV season; they don’t let you take immune-compromised babies out. So all our family came to us for Christmas. We were making biscuits and gravy and fried chicken. I was like, “Where can I buy this, so I don’t have to clean up my kitchen?” A very “mom” thing to think. Then my husband, whose background is in venture capital, said, “I bet the margins on this could be great.” That’s how The Biscuit Bar was born.
How has the pandemic affected you? The pandemic has drastically impacted our business this year. But we have done our best to pivot our model to online ordering and third-party delivery while safely reopening our dining rooms. As a family, we were impacted by having our New York relatives come live with us for five months. It was so fun! They have since returned home, and Blake misses her cousins a whole lot.
What’s it like having three kiddos to care for while managing a growing business? First of all, I do have help. Our nanny lives with us; she moved in during COVID. And we now have corporate offices a block from our home. This way I can still go home several times a day to breastfeed Byron.
Having corporate offices has really helped us have better quality time with our kids. I leave my computer at the office and am able to more fully focus on my kids when I am home. And I am more productive working at the office than I was at home.
The road to parenthood wasn’t easy for you. We had been trying for seven years to get pregnant, then we thought we’d see some fertility specialists. I had my first round of [intrauterine insemination] and got pregnant with triplets. We lost baby C in the first trimester, and then both baby A and baby B had umbilical cord defects. At 24 weeks I went into the hospital, and at 28 weeks we had to deliver. Brycee Jo was doing well in the NICU but developed a severe infection, and she passed.
Since Blake was born quite a bit early, she still has some slight developmental delays in her speech, but it is getting better. Banner was born premature at 35 weeks and has had more significant delays due to poor eyesight and moderate hearing loss. Since we’ve had his eyesight corrected with glasses and the hearing corrected with ear tubes surgery, he is really catching up! Our little guy, Byron, was born premature at 36 weeks.
Did you go through fertility treatments to get pregnant with Banner and Byron? With Banner, yes. Byron is here to tell me that I’m no longer infertile. It was a very, very big surprise. To all of the moms reading DFWChild Baby, know that you can get pregnant while nursing.
What is it like having a little one again when you have the two older ones running around? It was scary because I was always worried that our middle child, particularly, was going to jump on him or something! Banner is much gentler with Byron now, but he wants to high-five Byron all the time—and lots of times he misses and hits him in the face! Poor baby! There was also an instance when Banner tried to stand on the baby in order to get on the couch. So you’ve got to keep an eye out.
Never a dull moment. It is a circus, for sure. I was kind of scared of having this baby; I didn’t plan for him and I was like, “Oh my gosh, three under 3? This is impossible.” I think my expectation was low enough that it’s not been that bad. (Laughs.) It’s controlled chaos.
Janie’s Mommy Must-Haves
“I love the UppaBaby VISTA because it gives the flexibility to put three babies at different ages all on the same stroller. Also, they have a style called Bryce, the name of our oldest baby who passed in the NICU.
Try the Angelcare Baby Bath Support. If you have a single basin kitchen sink, the Angelcare will fit right in. It is much easier on your back to bathe a baby in the kitchen sink!
Neora Wellness Chews Sleep Formula helps me fall asleep quickly while still being able to get up with the baby in the middle of the night if he wakes.
For post-pregnancy workouts, I got the Peloton bike and love it! They have workouts that are only 10 or 15 minutes long. Since I’m nursing, and was also pumping before, I don’t really have time for more than that.
My favorite Biscuit Bar menu item is The Hoss. It was named after my daddy (whose “Grandpa” name was Hoss), as he passed away just two months before we opened our first restaurant. The biscuit is our best seller and features fried chicken, sausage gravy, bacon, jack cheese and honey butter inside one of our fresh and fluffy biscuits.
My kids absolutely love The Biscuit Bar’s Chicken Nuggets Kids Meal! It comes with tater tots or apples, a drink and a small scoop of rainbow sherbet. Obviously the sherbet is their favorite part (hello, sugar!), but they love dipping their chicken into our house-made ranch as well.”
Photo courtesy of Burkett Family.