Allow us to point you towards Edgehill Village to satisfy a craving for food that is at once simple and distinctive. Edgehill, formerly Edgehill Café, is set in the space previously occupied by Nomzilla. Edgehill serves as a gathering place for many. Locals commune with tourists. Breakfast lovers share the communal table with students and professionals as they work on their computers and sip brewed concoctions. Folks pop in for coffee and stay for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
On a recent sunny, weekday afternoon, Edgehill’s kitchen manager Grant Gauthier, who was undeniably in the weeds, emerged from the new kitchen, which is equipped with much more than the old one, which had just a few hot plates and a George Foreman grill. Jack Egan, jack of all trades, barista and general manager, snuck in before heading to the back of the house for a wine tasting, one that would determine the drink menu Edgehill has been developing since they were recently granted their liquor license. Meanwhile, Winn Elliott, who is the son part of Edgehill’s father-son ownership team, bid another patron farewell as we all gathered around one of the comfortable, sun-lit tables at which these three members of the team paint a picture of Edgehill’s past, present and future.
Edgehill opened its first location on the corner of Edgehill and Villa Place in 2010. In 2014, Edgehill Village and one of its favorite eateries began to see change when the neighborhood was purchased by Edgehill Village Partners (Rob Lowe, McClain Towery, Elliott Kyle and Jay Weaver). The new owners approached Winn Elliott, and his father, Mike Elliot, about relocating. They made the decision to move their business and signed the lease on their current location that Christmas. Construction began the following April, 2015, and it continued until they opened their new doors on November 9 last year.
“The biggest shift is having a full kitchen. Now we can cook with fire!” Winn says of the change. Despite operating there for five years, the old space was not built for a restaurant. In addition to the improved kitchen facilities and an expanded menu, Edgehill now offers more seating and drastically different interior design.
Chad James Group led the design decisions, and although Winn never dreamed of owning a space with bookshelves of painted green books, it works. What catches your eye first is not the books, though, but the stunning chandelier that hangs front and center at the restaurant. On any given day, Winn recognizes the faces of half of the people sitting in this newly designed space at the communal table (seen as the best real estate in the restaurant), the comfortable booths or the intimate tables. And while previously he would have recognized 100 percent of the clientele, he sees about 20 to 30 new faces a day. “Our family is getting bigger,” Winn says proudly. “This is the genesis of a new era of Edgehill.”
The Edgehill team wrestled with the changes at hand and were left to answer the question of why from many of their longtime patrons, who were jerked out of their routines by the move. But they made the conscious decision to forget their old ways. “We thought, ‘let’s go for something fresh,'” Jack shares. “The food continues to lead the decisions, but there is also a new focus on service and a continuation and expansion of the coffee program.” Winn continues these sentiments, “We want to hold on to the cafe culture while expanding culinary offerings — it is a balancing act. The complexity of the menu makes it a true restaurant, but not at the expense of the coffee program.” The result is great food and a great coffee program that work simultaneously.
By relocating just a few hundred feet from their previous space at the end of the block, Edgehill was able to rebrand itself as more than a cafe. Yes, the term cafe is a good representation of about 40 percent of the business, but through a reevaluation of their culinary identity, they were ready to break beyond the constraints of that classification.
Drawing inspiration from a wide variety of places, Grant focuses on Southern-inspired dishes (his favorite being the smokehouse pork and corn bread pudding) but leaves room for dishes that fall outside the typical regional cuisine. New menu items that make explicit links between cafe and restaurant cuisine are the hot chicken sandwich, the Edgehill burger, fried chicken and the Scotch eggs. After introducing these new dishes (and hearing rave reviews about them!), the team felt it was time to bring back a few old favorites, such as: fedora frittata, tribly frittata, Jenny Cakes, oatmeal, breakfast tacos, the open salmon sandwich, McHenry, BBQ pork sandwich, and the chicken and tuna salads. “It is a blend of old favorites and new favorites,” Grant tells us. “We always serve good, accessible, approachable food,” Winn concurs.
If McDonald’s decision to offer all-day breakfast is any indication of the importance of this meal, it is clear that people want their breakfast at all times of the day. In a culinary city where restaurants that serve breakfast are few, and restaurants that serve breakfast all day are rarer still, Edgehill has made a name for itself. “You can get really good breakfast all day long,” Grant reminds us.
“We have been on the front end of people’s day, and we are going to keep making great lunch, breakfast and soon dinner,” Winn says. Dinner and brunch will be two new additions to Edgehill’s offerings. Right now, the largest influx of people tend to come from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. on weekdays, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. And despite the fact that they are not actively marketing to a dinner crowd, people are showing up. Edgehill will test the waters this spring and summer with pop-up dinners, and they will roll into fall with their house dinner menu. The details regarding dinner service are currently in discussion, which leaves us to just wait and see.
The coffee culture remains strong at Edgehill and will not be overshadowed, but rather will be highlighted by the bar program. “The kitchen’s menu is a blueprint for the bar,” Winn says of the collaboration between the two programs. You can expect a small menu of approachable, seasonal cocktails, as well as a selection of beer and wine. During brunch, which is launching this Saturday, March 19, you can enjoy brunch-y favorites (French toast casserole, chicken and waffles with the option for hot chicken, biscuits and gravy) alongside mimosas and Bloody Marys. For those who enjoy lunch items during brunch, there will be carryover from the everyday menu, including the toasted quinoa bowl, the Edgehill burger, Edgehill Club and breakfast tacos.
Edgehill is not completely bidding its past farewell, but they are making way for things that are both new and different. “So much has changed, but so much has stayed the same,” Winn shares. “There are things that make the space feel new, but at the end of the day, the spirit is the same. We still have a high-quality product and serve the people well. It is the same song, just a different verse.”
Edgehill is located at 1201 Villa Place, Nashville, TN 37212. Hours are Monday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Learn more at (615) 942-5717.
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