Sitting just steps away from our city’s favorite tourist-packed street boasting ample choice in cheap beer and country music, boutique hotels in Downtown Nashville are refining the lifestyle and culinary character of the neighborhood. A string of recent openings has put boutique hotels on the list of most-talked-about spots in the city, and they introduce options for enjoyable experiences that aren’t paired with karaoke and (more) cheap beer.
Stylish lobbies, well-appointed rooms, rooftop bars and in-house restaurants make the hotels more than somewhere to stay.
What this means for locals (aside from more places to recommend for visitors to stay) is more dining options in a neighborhood that has previously lacked many quality choices for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.
In the basement of Noelle, Nashville, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, which opened on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Church Street in 2017, Makeready Libations & Liberation is an example of well-made food in a cool environment. “Makeready accents the brand of the hotel,” Executive Chef Tony Fraske explains. “We are simple and approachable but fun.”
During the week, diners are hardpressed to get a table for dinner without a reservation at the all-day restaurant, but thankfully, snagging a table for brunch is a sure bet. One of downtown’s better-kept secrets, brunch at Makeready is a flavorsome way to spend your Saturday or Sunday.
Chef Tony, who oversees Makeready, Hidden Bar, Trade Room, in-room dining, banquet and catering events, and Rare Bird, walks us through the menu: “Seasonality and local ingredients drive the flow of the menu, from breakfast to brunch to lunch and dinner,” the seasoned chef explains. “We take a lot of pride in what we are doing in the kitchen.”
A shining example of Makeready and Chef’s Tony commitment to ingredients is the Printer’s Plate. The offering of two eggs, bacon, potatoes and toast maybe seem like your quintessential hotel breakfast, but it’s far from average. Local, farm-fresh eggs, Gifford’s bacon, crispy potatoes and housemade sourdough make for a palate-pleasing plate. “A full breakfast for $18 screams value,” Chef Tony says of the dish.
But before you dig in, he suggests splitting the massive cinnamon roll with your brunch companion. The combination of butter brioche dough, cinnamon pecan sauce and brown butter cream cheese is the best way to kickstart your day. If you can’t finish the entire thing, take some home. Chef Tony promises that it tastes just as good a few hours later.
Aside from the cinnamon roll and breakfast plate, there are plenty of options to please. The Biscuit Benny is a twist on a traditional Benedict, with a homemade, fluffy and buttery biscuit as the base and local sausage in place of the expected bacon. A French-style omelet filled with your choice of ham, tomato, onion, cheddar and/or kale is a lighter and vegetarian option. If you are looking for more than eggs, consider the avocado toast. Avocado toast is not new to Nashville, but Tony’s take is. The top seller is composed of housemade sourdough topped with ripe avocado, toasted sesame seeds, baby mustard greens, watermelon radish and a dusting of lemon rind ash.
Brunch features items only available on the weekends (such as the cinnamon roll, crabcake sandwich and hot chicken n’ waffle), as well as favorites from the breakfast and lunch menus. If you fancy something filling, try the signature dry-aged burger loaded with caramelized onions, American cheese and an optional fried egg or the new roasted turkey club.
In a city focused on what’s new, Makeready is no longer considered the new kid on the block. Since their opening a year and a half ago, the restaurant has been able to hone its focus and provide an experience that is on par with any notable restaurant in Nashville. “We are putting our signature spin on dishes that are approachable,” Chef Tony tells us. “The goal here is to welcome people in — and to keep them coming back.” This dedication to the customer, coupled with a dedication to delicious food for three meals seven days a week, makes them an easy spot to recommend. Chef de Cusine Megan Stout chimes in: “We are serving nice, humble food that fits this area. The menu and the dishes are ever-changing, and we, as a restaurant, are ever-evolving.”
Swing by to see what you’ve been missing. Unless it is a home game day for the Titans, you can likely get a table without a reservation. Plus, valet parking is validated.
“We are a great neighborhood gem, and we promise to treat you well and make sure you leave full and happy,” Chef Tony says — and we attest to the truth of this statement.
Makeready serves inspired American tavern food and is located on the basement level of Noelle, Nashville. The all-day restaurant can be accessed via the hotel or the Church Street entrance. Learn more at online a makereadynash.com.
This article is sponsored by Makeready. All photography by Alex Hendrickson.