For those of you who are from or have visited Eastern North Carolina, you understand that what I am about to say is an undeniable truth. The best thing at Bojangles is not the chicken—it’s the Cheddar Bo.
That said, many Bojangles regulars are unaware of the Cheddar Bo. Unavailable west of Zebulon, the Cheddar Bo could be easily missed on the Bojangles menu, or perhaps even written off as “just a cheese biscuit.” I could never do the Cheddar Bo justice with words, but I’ll try. It’s a buttery Bojangles biscuit, with hoop cheddar melted inside, warm and wrapped in foil. It’s salty, chewy, cheesy and doughy all at once.
Some background on the Cheddar Bo: it’s available only at Bojangles locations owned and operated by Kinston-based Tands, Inc., which not-so-coincidentally includes the vast majority of Bojangles’ restaurants in Eastern NC. The actual reason why it’s not made available in other markets is somewhat mysterious. I’d guess that it’s another thing to train employees to make, requires additional/different supplies, etc. That makes it a rarity worth traveling for.
Being a foodie, I am breaking a cardinal foodie rule by championing a biscuit from a fast-food chain. It’s just that good. Bojangles’ non-Tands-owned restaurants are depriving their customers of what is arguably their greatest offering. Anyone can fry something—but a handmade biscuit topped with local hoop cheddar? That’s not very fast-food to me. That’s just good. Joule in downtown Raleigh charges $4 for that. Bojangles charges less than $2.
This brings to mind an important distinction about our approach to food these days: good, quality, handmade foods from good ingredients trump all. Whether it comes from Joule or Bojangles, it is possible for a good biscuit to come from either. We often tend to write off places like Bojangles as “chains” or “corporate” and the like, but we don’t always have to. And, I think we might be surprised at how similar at least some of the things restaurants from both ends of that spectrum produce actually are.
I implore you: try a Cheddar Bo. Drive, fly or walk if you have to. It is all that is right and good about biscuits.
I’ve started a petition (which I invite you to sign) to ask Bojangles’ corporate office to place the Cheddar Bo on their regular menu. You can also tweet them or contact their corporate offices directly. Some might say this is stupid. They’re right. But they also probably haven’t tasted one.
Here’s a map of locations where you can try a Cheddar Bo for yourself. If you can’t make it to Eastern NC, try another life-changing cheese biscuit: the pimiento cheese biscuit at Jubala in Lafayette Village.