Rise Biscuits founder Tom Ferguson has died



Tom Ferguson started Rise Biscuits and Donuts after embarking on a national donut tour.


Died Tom Ferguson, whose brand of Southern-style cookies is now known throughout the country. He was 57 years old.

A creative and innovative force in the Triangle dining scene, Ferguson was influential in the early days of fast casual, founding OnlyBurger as a food truck and launching the Rise biscuit phenomenon. His death was confirmed by Rise in an email.

“We are deeply saddened by the death of Tom Ferguson Jr., founder and CEO of Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken,” Rise said in a statement. “Tom was a fearless seer, leader, teacher and devoted husband and father. Rise franchise owners, employees and people Tom has worked with for years mourn his loss. We will miss his unbridled enthusiasm, positivity, his passionate commitment to life and his ability to connect, have relationships and encourage people to believe in themselves. Tom’s vision gives us a clear working path for Rise’s future ”.

The cause of death is not disclosed.

Biscuit Rise.

Food for celebrities

A native of Texas, Ferguson was an Army Airborne Ranger who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, one of the nation’s best culinary schools.

After school, Ferguson moved to Los Angeles and hosted parties for celebrities such as Harrison Ford and Barbara Streisand, according to a 2014 interview with the Triangle Business Journal.

After Los Angeles, Ferguson cooked at the Triangle’s two most famous restaurants, Scott Howell’s “Nana” and “Magnolia Grill” with Ben and Karen Barker.

Tom Ferguson started Rise Biscuits and Donuts after embarking on a national donut tour. cjurney@newsobserver.com

A pioneer of food trucks

He then founded the Durham Catering Company and in 2008 helped start the dawn of food trucks in the Triangle by launching Only Burger in partnership with co-owner Brian Botger.

In 2012, Ferguson founded Rise Biscuits and Donuts in Durham, creating a counter ode to sweet and salty carbs in breakfasts. Rise immediately became a hit: customers lined up and were willing to wait over an hour to get a donut with butter cookies or maple bacon.

For four years in the Triangle there were seven Rise seats, and the national franchise is actively pursued.

Today there are eight Triangle seats, plus the ninth opening this year in Chapel Hill, as well as in six other states. If Thousand Oaks, California, gets its growth later this year, it will be seven states.

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Drew Jackson writes about restaurants and eateries for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun, covering the culinary scene in Triangle and North Carolina.

Rise Biscuits founder Tom Ferguson has died

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