Coffee lovers (and scene-seekers), listen up! There’s a new coffee shop in town. The brainchild of three longtime friends—Nathanael Mehrens, Sean Stewart and Jamie Cunningham—Steadfast Coffee is Nashville’s newest treasure. The three entrepreneurs joined forces to create a comfortable coffee shop that celebrates quality products and revolutionary techniques, emphasizing local goods, of course. Indeed, Steadfast feels like a friendly neighborhood hub where you know the staff and you expect great food and great service. The interior, finished with gleaming white tiles, minimalist furniture and industrial fixtures, has the allure of a Manhattan hub without the haughty attitude. At Steadfast, espresso novices and coffee buffs alike are welcomed to try new things, relish innovative flavors and take part in the conversation.
Here, coffee is both art and science. Once acquainted with the back story of the Steadfast owners, you understand why. Nathaneal, a key figure in the success of Nashville’s Crema, is one of the founding members of the Nashville Coffee Collective, which was created to elevate coffee culture through education and sustainability. Sean, who boasts more than a decade of experience in the coffee industry, has worked at Fido and Crema and trained the staff at Pinewood Social, Bongo Java and other highly regarded java houses. Jamie is regarded as a pioneer in specialty coffee in the United States and helped to implement the guidelines for The Barista Guild of America. Though their coffee history is lettered, these three founders boast the laid-back demeanor of many Nashville creatives.
The decor is carefully considered at Steadfast, and so is the drink menu. From traditional espresso drinks to velvety butterscotch lattes to the revolutionary Matchless Coffee Soda (a euphonic combination of flash chilled coffee, citric acid and light demerara), there’s plenty to excite the palate. For those less daring, they have fantastic roasts from Slate Coffee Roasters and Sweet Bloom. The success of these drinks is largely attributed to new processes. The Steadfast team has perfected the drip coffee method, a lost art amidst the trending “pour-over” technique favored by most shops. They have also introduced “flash-chilling,” in which hot coffee is immediately cooled to preserve the intensity of flavor (think of blanching string beans to keep their crispness and color).
The innovative drinks at Steadfast are complemented by equally exquisite food. Created by local chef Julia Sullivan, the previous sous chef at Pinewood Social, the menu is fresh and unfussy and emphasizes the seasons. From fluffy pastries filled with fresh peaches to delicate plates of lox and crisp greens, each dish is perfectly portioned, illuminating simple flavors. A solid favorite is the egg sandwich, which is generously layered with smashed avocado and arugula and set between a toasted brioche bun. For veggie-minded folks, there is plenty to love, from artistic salads of local produce to a crispy falafel that makes meat easy to forget.
Beautifully crafted, yet decidedly relaxed, Steadfast is a place to mix and mingle. It is an environment where you feel comfortable to lunch with friends on the patio, read a book at your leisure in a booth or engage in conversation with your neighbors and servers. At Steadfast, it’s more than just creating the perfect cup of coffee; it’s about cultivating a culture that promotes experimentation, dialogue and growth.
But the coffee is pretty damn good, too …
Today’s beautiful photography was provided by Ethan Covey.
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