Having a sweet tooth is only fun when there are plenty of tasty treats nearby to satisfy the craving. Fortunately, Nashville is going strong in that department, with quite a few relatively recent additions to the bakery scene. Here are four must-try local shops that offer goodies worth indulging in (plus, a couple of honorable franchise mentions that have recently made their way to Music City).
4 New Nashville Bakeries
733 Porter Rd., Nashville, TN 37206 • (615) 401-9949
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.; closed Monday
HiFi Cookies owner Sean Newsome, and his wife Kristin, have been known to do things spontaneously. They moved from New York to Nashville on a lark, and they recently traded in their apartment for a house on a whim. But perhaps the greatest spontaneous decision they’ve ever made was to take their successful online cookie shop and open a bricks-and-mortar location on Porter Road in East Nashville. “It was kind of serendipitous and a little lucky,” Sean says of their location, adding, “It was also a little terrifying opening right at the beginning of the pandemic.” With an original start date of April 24, the tornado and COVID kept HiFi from opening its doors to the public until June 27, but Sean quickly discovered that the city had been eagerly awaiting his presence. “We did not expect to be busy when we opened,” he says. “Nashville shocked me! It continues to do that every day.”
RELATED: The History Behind HiFi
Sean’s cookie roster is something to write home about, with a menu that merges music and cookies — right on theme for Music City. “I love music; it has been an integral part of my life,” says Sean. “I just thought, Maybe I could combine these two things that I love and do something.” The name popped into his head one day as he was looking at his record collection, and he was officially inspired. Originally a restaurant manager at Pinewood Social, he used to make cookies for staff meals. After a multitude of compliments and suggestions to take his hobby a step further, he dropped off some cookies at Five Points neighborhood bar, Duke’s. In no time, the cookies were a featured menu item … and they still are.
These days, Sean is likely to be found jamming to tunes in his own shop, while baking such delights as the Bowie (a Funfetti cookie with white chocolate chips), the Etta (a peanut butter cookie with Cap’n Crunch Peanut Brittle, peanut butter chips and butterscotch chips) and his personal favorite, the Marvin (a pretzel and potato chip cookie with butterscotch chips, mini chocolate chips and toffee). Playing into the music aspect, HiFi offers “Mixtapes,” a gift box with an assortment of their most popular flavors. You can even head in to create your own box, and it’s worth checking out the rotating weekly selection. With vegan and gluten-free options to boot, Nashvillians are flocking to try the cookies that satisfy both their sweet tooth and their nostalgia. Online ordering is available, too, but Sean hopes folks will stop in to experience his concept to its fullest. “We have a record player and a large record collection that’s very diverse,” he says. “We try to have fun! As dark of a time as it is right now, it’s the only thing I can possibly do. I think being able to interact with people, even for a second, is pretty great.”
Rock N Rollz Nashville
Talk about an overnight success story. Before Easter weekend, Christin Cook Zito and her husband, Zito (like Cher or Madonna, he goes by only one name), had never even baked a cinnamon roll. A few months later, they’re the proud owners of pop-up sourdough cinnamon roll bakery, Rock N Rollz Nashville, and they’re clearly rolling in dough — the yummy kind. “You would think, based on the success we’ve had in such a short time, that we had a business plan or it was our dream to start a cinnamon roll thing. But it wasn’t that at all!” Christin tells us. When the pandemic hit, the couple found themselves facing immediate job loss. Left with tons of free time on their hands, they began baking. “I don’t know why that became the thing,” Christin tells us, “but everybody started baking — specifically, sourdough. It has been a big trend in quarantine.” With plans of using their sourdough starter for a fun “cheat meal,” they came up with the idea of cinnamon rolls. Christin’s affinity for combining salty and sweet flavors led them to add the salted vanilla buttercream icing that thousands of Nashvillians are now addicted to. When they realized how delicious the rolls were, the couple tried selling some on their neighborhood Facebook page to test the waters. The response was overwhelming. Now, the Zitos rub elbows with other culinary makers at Citizen Kitchen in East Nashville, and their pop-up locations sell more than 1,200 rolls each weekend … all thanks to that Easter weekend lightbulb moment.
Rock N Rollz provides a different sort of gourmet experience through its complex cinnamon roll flavors. As Christin puts it, “We do rolls, and we do them really well.” Not only that, but they also give back to the community, with 50 cents from every roll sold going to MusiCares, which offers support to music professionals during challenging times. “We’re lucky to be able to re-create ourselves to make money,” says Christin, “but we know there are millions of people in the music industry that don’t have that luxury. They’re really struggling.”
You can preorder Rock N Rollz on their website, Instagram or Facebook — they begin taking orders every Wednesday at 5 p.m., with pickup taking place on the weekend at their pop-up tents peppered throughout the city. Though the Zitos typically make extra rolls each weekend for walk-up customers, they go fast. As in, gone in the first 15 minutes fast. “This is so much bigger than us,” says Christin. “I think people have rallied behind the story and the cause, and it gives them hope in this time that’s so weird. It has inspired a lot of other people to reinvent themselves, too, so we know that a lot of other people are invested in this company and the joy of it. All we know is that we’re going to keep making cinnamon rolls and see where it takes us.”
Pies by Gigi
330 Franklin Rd. #906D, Brentwood, TN 37027 • (615) 678-8434
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
While she may no longer own and operate the countrywide cupcake store chain that made her famous, Gigi Butler’s newest — and perhaps most inspired — endeavor is pies. “I’m rebirthing a new dream,” she says of the recent grand opening of Pies by Gigi.
Her brand new Brentwood shop, a French industrial farmhouse-themed space full of antiques and charm, treats us to both sweet and savory pie options, plus some additional menu items to tempt our tastebuds. From apricot crumble bars and apple crisp to tater tot casserole and Gigi’s personal favorite, shepherd’s pie, she serves up breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert with a side of Southern comfort. “I’ve wanted to do a pie shop for about 20 years; cupcakes just came first,” she tells us. “Cupcakes are my first baby, and I’m very proud of them, but I’ve always just wanted one pie shop where people could come and feel love and comfort. Pie has always been my true love.”
Pies by Gigi also includes a mercantile, complete with tea towels, rolling pins, Jams by Gigi, and even Gigi’s Sassy Spice, and she offers catering for weddings, celebrations and corporate events, too. The new venture appears to fit Gigi perfectly, giving her a chance to mingle with customers and be more hands-on, something she felt was missing with her cupcake franchise. “At Gigi’s Cupcakes, I didn’t really get to stop and smell the roses. I know that sounds trite, but I grew so fast,” she explains. “I went from cleaning houses to being the CEO of a company, and I never had a chance to love on my customers the way I wanted to, and live in the present.” Gigi vows never to franchise her new pie shop, but she currently delivers through five different Nashville delivery services, and she hopes to ship across the country before the end of the year. “This beautiful little pie shop opening up and becoming a reality is such a testament to how good God is,” Gigi tells us. “If you just have the courage to reinvent yourself, you can do anything.”
Brightside Bakeshop: West
4907 Indiana Ave., Nashville, TN 37209 • (615) 678-5058
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to noon; closed Monday and Tuesday
For those who’ve spent the last few years venturing to the Brightside Bakeshop’s East Nashville walk-up on Porter Road to get their fill of fantastic pastries, this past January offered a highlight — owner Andrea Borchers celebrated the official grand opening of her second Nashville location. This time, on the west side. The newest spot, nestled in The Nations, is where the magic happens; it’s a pastry production mecca where Andrea and her team bake all of the goodies for her retail locations as well as the wholesale they offer to local coffee shops such as Barista Parlor. Fortunately for us, she also offers curbside pickup.
Sick of the 9-to-5 “cube life,” Andrea started her passion project years ago as a side gig, spending most weekends selling her pastries at the Richland Farmer’s Market. Over time, she built up the community following that ultimately prompted her to expand … twice. But Andrea is quick to say it didn’t happen overnight. “I followed my heart and started working toward it in baby steps,” she tells us. “My husband is an accountant, so he wouldn’t let me jump in too much or too fast, which I’m so grateful for now! We love the community. Really, that’s what inspired me to keep going.”
Brightside’s menu boasts both sweet and savory pastries, relying on seasonal flavors to offer additional creativity to the year-round staples that keep her regulars coming back time and time again. Andrea says the menu developed slowly, just like Brightside, and it was well worth the wait. Menu mainstays include the signature Cinnaroll, Everything Croissant Tart (which is not to be missed!) and the churro croissant. For those looking for something a bit heartier, the savory sausage and cheddar brioche is divine, and the newest item to hit the roster (on Thursdays only) is the breakfast Croissantwich. This summer saw seasonal peach pastries, and we can anticipate pumpkin flavors for the fall. If you’re feeling adventurous (and hungry), we recommend the mystery box — an assortment of seasonal items that are sure to make your morning a happy one.
We love our local flair and fare, but there are a couple of new franchises that deserve a mention if your hunt for sweets needs even more indulging.
Hillsboro Village: 1716 21st Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37212
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to midnight; closed Sunday
If you’re looking for a cookie to munch on while you stroll the Hillsboro Village boutiques, Crumbl Cookies has you covered. Several locations are already open throughout Middle Tennessee, but the upcoming Hillsboro Village location may prove to be the most popular one yet. The ooey-gooey cookies are perfectly decadent, with such masterful flavors as salted caramel cheesecake, Nutella® Sea Salt, and peanut butter and jelly. As if that weren’t fantastic enough, Crumbl also infuses ice cream with their cookies, offering flavors like Churro and Muddy Buddy. We can’t wait for Hillsboro Village’s newest hot spot!
The Baked Bear
1809 Division St., Nashville, TN 37203 • (615) 730-6991
Hours: Monday through Sunday, noon to 10 p.m.
If you take the nostalgia of ice cream sandwiches and pair it with craft ice cream flavors and fresh cookies, you’ve got The Baked Bear. With franchises that span 10 states, the ice cream sandwich shop, which was founded by childhood BFFs in San Diego, opened its first Tennessee location in Midtown amid the COVID chaos. Thankfully, that hasn’t stopped them from making sure our ice cream cravings are well taken care of, with a menu that specializes in original-recipe ice cream smashed between layers of cookie or brownie. The best part? You get to customize a sandwich to suit your mood, with options to mix and match to your heart’s delight.
If you’re feeling inspired to create a treat of your own, check out some of our sweet dessert recipes!