Sometimes you just need a piping hot cup of coffee, a fresh-made-from-scratch croissant, a savory pastrami sandwich and a warm piece of pie — not all at once, of course (but if you choose to indulge simultaneously, we definitely won’t judge). And that’s where Union Teller at the Fairlane Hotel comes in.
If you’re in the market for stellar coffee and sweet-and-savory bites at a great price point (and really, who isn’t?), Union Teller should be your destination. The newly rebranded coffee shop and deli, housed inside the gorgeous boutique hotel, showcases a tempting array of made-in-house food and drink both locals and out-of-towners can enjoy.
Michael McGeeney, the Fairlane Hotel’s Food and Beverage Director, says that even though the space has undergone a rebranding phase, it won’t change the fact that customers will receive a quality meal with a quick turnaround and a personalized experience.
“For us, the rebranding was more about having more freedom to create,” Michael explains. “Being able to rebrand gave us the ability to cater to locals, use local products and really run something that we believe in and know that people want.”
The exceptional experience starts the second you walk in through the striking, gold-plated doors. As far as ambiance goes, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful, bright and airy setting; you’ll immediately be drawn to the crisp, clean aesthetic, thanks in part to the large floor-to-ceiling windows surrounding the open space.
An advantage of the rebranding was that Michael and his team could step out of the box when it came to crafting the atmosphere and mood of the space. “We knew we needed to put a splash of color in the room, which we accomplished by adding small touches like cleaner signage, small flower vases all around, the bright, bold color of the menu and, of course, the Union Teller coffee mug,” he explains. “It has a relaxed, casual, yet upscale vibe all at once.”
While the ambiance is enough to draw you in, the menu seals the deal. From fresh croissants, donuts and Gifford’s bacon to bagel schmears and corned beef sandwiches, there’s a vast selection of house-made food items at your fingertips no matter what you’re craving. And starting this August, after you’ve guzzled your delicious specialty coffee, you’ll be able to make your way over to the bar a little later for a refreshing cocktail at Union Teller’s Happy Hour.
The only thing better than delicious food is quick delicious food — and at a reasonable price point, too — which Michael and his team recognize and ensure. “We work in the business district, so we’ve got to be fast,” he notes. “Grab a good coffee, a good breakfast, at a good price — you really can’t beat it.”
The magic behind the menu was in the making long before the deli and coffee shop opened its doors. “Union Teller Chef Charles Laster, Pastry Chef Andy Manchester and I have been together since before the hotel and restaurant opened, so we knew what we wanted in terms of the menu,” Michael shares. Moreover, by developing relationships and interacting with both regulars and tourists, Michael and his team were able to hear what customers really wanted.
“We really keyed in on making sure most, if not all, items were going to be made in-house,” Michael explains. “Then, we set our sights on finding the best product of the highest quality; if we couldn’t make it, then we wanted to work with local food vendors to help fill that void.”
While you may not realize it at first glance, the space houses all the luxuries of a full bakery on-site. “Andy and his team make all our breads, bagels, donuts, pastries and desserts right here,” Michael divulges. “While Andy and his team create delicious pastries upstairs, Charles and his team work with local vendors to bring in fresh vegetables, farm-fresh eggs and meats.”
You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, yet Michael provides a little insight into some of the more popular items customers can’t get enough of. For breakfast, regulars keep coming back again and again for any of the bagel sandwiches and the “Bagel & Schmear” (guests can choose from a list of schmears including horseradish dill, smoked salmon and scallion). When lunchtime rolls around, Michael says there’s no shortage of orders for the pastrami and Reuben sandwiches, both of which are Michael’s personal favorites from the menu.
With the influx of new hotels and restaurants popping up all across Music City, Union Teller seems to have found the sweet spot when it comes to carving out a special destination for tourists and locals alike. “It’s simply great food with a great staff who are proud of what Union Teller is,” Michael says. “And honestly, where else can you get a fresh donut and a pastrami sandwich at the same time?”
This article is sponsored by Union Teller. All photography by Leila Grossman.