Save Room for This Decadent Guinness Pie
These Nashville Eateries Take Dessert Serious
Nashville may have a reputation as a honky-tonk town, but its real claim to fame should be its desserts. The Southern city’s culinary scene has boomed in recent years, garnering attention for its restaurants that go beyond hot chicken.
What’s most impressive are these restaurants’ dedication to sweet treats. Keep reading to see examples of establishments that nail their dessert programs. Should you feel like taking a road trip, head an hour north to Bowling Green, Ky., where Teresa’s Restaurant turns out homestyle desserts like peanut butter pie and banana pudding.
A Charleston transplant, the Butcher & Bee has a dedicated pastry chef in Terra Nelson, who also serves as general manager. Her standout dessert is the Guinness pie, a dark chocolate delight made with stout. A pretzel crust adds an essential salty crunch. Of the secret to its success, Nelson says, “Having a dedicated pastry chef who loves the craft is essential, and having access to seasonal, fresh ingredients makes the creative process that much more fun.”
Set in the Lockeland Springs neighborhood, Lockeland Table and pastry chef Jamie Miller ensure guests end their evening on a sweet note. Most likely he’ll do it with an order of the locally procured Olive & Sinclair chocolate cookie skillet. The reason why people keep ordering their creations, he says, is because of the dessert menu’s approachability and simplicity. He explains, “Sometimes I think you can overcomplicate a plate by trying to be too grandiose with flavor compositions. There doesn’t have to be 20 ingredients on a plate for your dish to be delicious.” He continues, “A few really good ingredients and someone who knows what to do with them is really all it takes for a special meal.”
Makeready sits at the bottom of the stunning Noelle Hotel in downtown Nashville, but you would never know it’s a hotel restaurant. Easygoing, yet high-end, Makeready excels at modern American fare. For pastry chef Matt Clement, success is found in checking your ego. “Sure, cook for yourself, make yourself proud and be true to yourself, but so much of cooking is for other people. I have to be cognizant of much more than my own ideas or fancy creativity,” he says. “As much as you may be tempted to create avant-garde desserts, it’s best to give people what they want.”
Situated in the Loews Vanderbilt, Mason’s is popular with locals and guests alike. “We’re fortunate to have a dedicated pastry chef on the team, which is not entirely common in today’s market,” says Charles Phillips, director of food and beverage. “We capitalize on this fact in order to drive business through our pastry program. We know a signature dessert creates a lasting memory and brings guests back more frequently.” Mason’s most popular dessert is bourbon bread pudding, laden with caramel and topped with vanilla ice cream. Phillips says partnerships with local purveyors is one of the keys to success. “You’ll see everything from Frothy Monkey to Yazoo Porter being used to create signature dessert items you can’t find anywhere else.”