Through several years working at his family’s iconic department store, McClures, Nashville native David D’Andrews held on to his dream of someday opening a bakery. So in 2002, when the family announced they were closing the last remaining store (the Belle Meade location) he knew it was time to head to New York City and pursue his culinary dreams.
After graduating from NYC’s Institute of Culinary Education, D’Andrews spent the next 13 years honing his newly acquired skills in kitchens across the city—from the pastry kitchen of the celebrated Gotham Bar & Grill in Greenwich Village to being promoted from executive pastry chef to executive chef of the multi-million dollar Kimberly Hotel in Midtown, with lots of interesting stops in between.
When he was ready to branch out on his own, his hometown beckoned, and downtown Nashville offered up the perfect piece of real estate to anchor his bakery dreams.
“Foot traffic, foot traffic, foot traffic,” is what D’Andrews says originally led him to the prime Church Street location. “It’s really a 3-prong approach: in addition to the foot traffic, we’re close to different businesses for catering and we also have plenty of tourists.
The stylish white and royal blue bakery pops against the ever-changing downtown streetscape. A pastry case lined with cookies, croissants, éclairs, donuts and a myriad of other made from scratch treats tempt with their sugar sprinkled tops and sweet scents that fill the room. Looking around the bustling space, it’s hard to believe this is D’Andrews first ever bakery experience.
“It’s my dirty little secret,” he says. “Before opening D’Andrews, I never worked in a bakery.”
But that clearly has its advantages, as D’Andrews approaches his menu in a fresh way, with a goal of keeping things “consistently great” vs. “consistently the same.” That same inspiration and attention to detail carries over into every plate that leaves the kitchen. “Everything from the bread to the jams to the meats on the sandwiches is made in house,” he explains.
You can’t go wrong with any of the selections, but my vote is for their grown-up spin on a childhood classic, the Oreo. Two fluted cocoa nib cookies provide just the right heft to balance out the decadent butterscotch cream sandwiched between them. And while a glass of cold milk for dunking is one way to go, a piping hot cup of locally roasted 8th & Roast coffee provides a pretty winning accompaniment on a cold winter’s day, too.
Cocoa Nib Oreo