Nashville Staycation Stop #3: Garden Brunch Café

Brunch has always been my favorite meal to eat out. While I enjoy the eveningwear and candlelight of dinner-on-the-town, nothing is more relaxing than a cup of coffee and a carafe of mimosas shared in a sunlit room. While I was primed to start naming my ‘ole faithful brunch spots in my Summer Staycation Series, my friend, Haz, tempted me today off the beaten path and led me down a garden one. I’m so glad he did.

The Garden Brunch Café, located at 924 Jefferson Street, provides comfort and class with delicious dishes and an amiable, downright winsome staff. The atmosphere is charged with warmth…from the red entrance hall… to the paintings and sculptures of local artists… to the fresh flowers… to the R&B and jazz. The vibe is that of big city cool sans pretension

We shared the Germantown West Benny and the Banana Foster Pancakes. The house special–over easy eggs, smoked salmon, sautéed spinach, tomatoes, onions, capers, and hollandaise sauce served on an English muffin—lived up to its star status. And the pancakes– slathered with a buttery sauce and sautéed caramelized bananas and walnuts—were the best I’ve had anywhere (but without the line). On the next trip, I’ll try the salmon cakes.

This summer Garden Brunch Café will host a live jazz series. June 25th there will be a Chocolate and Wine Pairing/Tasting with chocolate cakes and confections from the Cocoa Tree. Check the website for a July date to be announced for a family picnic/barbeque. Summer Hours are Tuesday-Thursday 11AM-2PM and Friday-Sunday 9AM-2PM.

As Southern as brunch among the rose beds was the hospitality shown from the host to our server, Donald, to the Chef, Jennifer Carpenter, and her husband, Karl, who came out to visit with us. “Chef Jen,” a former realtor, told us their story. After moving to Nashville seven years ago from Washington, DC, her husband lost his executive job after eighteen years with the company, prompting them to open the restaurant in May 2009. The mom of five would cook for customers her family’s favorites—dishes from scratch using olive oil and butter, fresh ingredients (many grown in her own herb and vegetable garden), and healthy choices, such as turkey substituted for pork.

Turning the attention away from herself, she told the stories of the artists whose works (which are for sale) decorate the cafe. Some paint or sculpt as therapy for chronic illness, and while the artists receive the full price for their pieces, most give back part of the proceeds to charities such as The Ronald McDonald House.

Cleaning our plates, we left full and refreshed. More than a business, Garden Brunch Café seems a Community Oasis. A place that supports the arts and values people. A nice place to sit a spell.

Owners Karl and Chef Jennifer Carpenter