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Midtown Cafe Elevates Breakfast Classics

A local institution starts serving breakfast in Midtown.

Written By:  Chris Chamberlain

Photographers:  Ron Manville

When Noshville closed its Midtown location after years of serving what many considered a good facsimile to a genuine delicatessen breakfast, veteran Nashville restaurateur Randy Rayburn saw an opportunity. His own neighborhood eatery, Midtown Cafe, is a fixture on the dining scene and will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year. It only made sense to add breakfast service Monday through Friday.

“Noshville had been a gathering spot for years,” Rayburn explains. “From graveyard shift employees at Vanderbilt looking for a place to unwind after work to businesspeople stopping for a quick meal on the way downtown, I knew there was a clientele looking to be served. And it doesn’t hurt that there are 4,000 hotel rooms within five blocks of here.”

Both breakfast and lunch are served during the week from 7 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., and, despite the classy digs and low lighting, first thing in the morning, the atmosphere is decidedly casual. Third shifters from area hospitals, still wearing scrubs and enjoying their version of happy hour, might be seated next to a table of tourists.

But they’re all enjoying the new menu of elevated breakfast classics, ranging from customizable omelets to biscuit sandwiches, like the down-home southern-fried chicken version or the Nashville Pig in a Blanket, which features a pork tenderloin dusted with barbecue spice and topped with a fried egg.

Small plates include avocado toast, which stands out for its topping of pico de gallo. Another delightful option is the challah French toast, topped with Jack Daniels-peach compote and whipped cream. Midtown’s renowned shrimp and grits also make an appearance on the breakfast menu, with four blackened shrimp tossed with bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, and scallions and served over cheesy, smoked gouda grits.

For more substantial appetites, Midtown Cafe has you covered with egg dishes like the huevos tostada or the more refined Music City eggs benedict. Adventurous diners might enjoy the Tennessee trout or a hearty short rib dish, served with Coca-Cola barbeque sauce and two eggs.

As extensive as the new breakfast menu is, Rayburn has worked hard to keep the prices affordable, with most dishes ranging from $10 to $15—which ought to appeal to former Noshville customers, as well as Midtown Cafe fans, old and new.

102 19th Ave. S., 615-320-7176; midtowncafe.com

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