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Healthy, scratch-made lunch by day, elegant confections for concert goers by night, in the exquisite Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Read more

Nashville, TN Food
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$4,911
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Funding Unsuccessful

This project's funding goal was not reached on October 24, 2013.

Healthy, scratch-made lunch by day, elegant confections for concert goers by night, in the exquisite Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

Nashville, TN Food
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About this project

It started with a biscuit

For those of you who don't know me, here's a little backstory.

In 2002, it was clear that there was a growing demand for simple, healthy, thoughtfully prepared breakfast and lunch food in East Nashville. I already had proven success as the exclusive provider of grab-and-go food for the neighborhood natural food store-selling out of sandwiches nearly every day-and as the hostess of a weekly pop-up brunch at Bongo Java East. With the support of a burgeoning community of people who appreciated creative food made with fresh ingredients, Red Wagon Café was born. But then, so too, was dear, sweet Henry, our son. At the outset of restaurant ownership, I knew I might eventually choose motherhood instead. And at the end of my 5-year lease, I did just that. I did so knowing that there could always be another restaurant, but that I only had one chance to spend that time with Henry.

Red Wagon Café
Red Wagon Café

In that five years, Red Wagon garnered a great deal of critical acclaim, with appearances in Southern Living, Cooking Light, Food and Wine, Travel+Leisure, and USA Today. We also had the distinction of being voted “Best Brunch” and “Best Caterer” several times in the Nashville Scene Best of Nashville Awards. I am proud to say I was a pioneer in East Nashville and in the “farm to table” movement, buying produce, eggs and cheese from local, organic CSA farmers well before the word “locavore” became part of the vernacular. We had very loyal fans, many of whom waited in line for hours every weekend just to eat my biscuits. Nearly every day someone tells me that they miss Red Wagon. I'm a lucky girl.

An unbelievable opportunity

Now, I have always said there would be another chance for me to own a restaurant, right?

A little more than a month ago, a friend asked if I was ready to open another restaurant. This friend happens to work for the Nashville Symphony. She thought I might be interested to know about an opportunity, one that seemed tailor-made for me. I was all ears.

The Schermerhorn Symphony Center, in a recent effort to reduce their budget, closed its food service operations, leaving vacant the beautiful Symphony Café, but they wanted to continue serving food to their patrons. We had a meeting. We had a tasting. I crunched some numbers. We had a deal.

They offered me the opportunity to take over the café, to run it as an independent restaurant. One reason they chose me over other candidates is because I could act quickly, and by quickly I mean get it open in a week, in time for the opening of the symphony season.

And I did it.

Cherry Street is open for coffee, pastries, and lunch Monday-Friday, from 8am-2pm, and for every event on the Schermerhorn concert schedule.

The Ask

Because this opportunity came about so quickly, I was able to open the door on September 5th, but I am under-capitalized. I will need a boost from friends, old and new, to ensure that I can sustain the business through the critical first six months. By donating, you would play a crucial role in that support system.

The good news is that it won't take much. The amount I hope to raise, $8500, will cover licenses, fees, insurance, the purchase of some small equipment, and stocking the pantry and staffing the café. There is no build-out, no contractors, no major equipment or furnishings to buy.

The Plan (and it is simple)

My plan is to build on my previous success to create something which is at once new and familiar.  The menu is the same kind of healthy, scratch-made soups, sandwiches and baked goods that made Red Wagon popular, only now I am serving the downtown business community, Schermerhorn concert goers, and the many visitors who make Nashville their destination. I use local and sustainable ingredients when possible, showcasing local farms and makers like Drew's Brews, Wolfe Gourmet Cakes, Kenny's Farmhouse Cheeses, and Dozen Bakery.

Cherry Street Eatery & Sweetery is situated in the epicenter of the SoBro development explosion. With the new Nashville City Center, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum expansion, plans for an amphitheater, and all the highrises and hotels newly built or under construction, it will not be difficult to drive business into Cherry Street. I have a built-in customer base with the staff, musicians, and patrons of the symphony. We have received great press, and I have already seen a steady increase in walk-in customers, including many old Red Wagon fans.

I am also working with symphony staff to develop more daytime programming that will promote Cherry Street and the symphony; lunchtime concerts, and a monthly Sunday brunch featuring live music are just a couple of ideas.

A chance to do good

It is important to me that Cherry Street not only serves food, but that it also serves the community in a meaningful way. I am partnering with Magdalene House/Thistle Farms to offer employment to graduates of their program.

Risks and challenges

Of course, any restaurant project holds its risks. I can confidently say that in my career, I have experienced most of them. That means I have the troubleshooting skills to handle just about anything. This project is uniquely low-risk, very little overhead, no build-out, practically a turn-key operation. Even my accountant thinks it's a great opportunity.

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Rewards

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more
    About $10 USD

    1 backer

    One delicious homemade cookie when you visit us at Cherry Street at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more
    About $10 USD

    1 backer

    One refreshing house-made lemonade when you visit us at Cherry Street at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more
    About $25 USD

    13 backers

    A half dozen homemade cookies, as big as your head, gooey-chewy or crunchy-munchy, full of good things, and maybe even a few healthy ones. Chosen from our daily selection.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more
    About $25 USD

    10 backers

    A Cherry Street Eatery & Sweetery t-shirt. 100% cotton, American Apparel tee, designed and printed by local craftspeople.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more
    About $50 USD

    9 backers

    One dozen homemade cookies, as big as your head, gooey-chewy or crunchy-munchy, full of good things, and maybe even a few healthy ones. Chosen from our daily selection.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more
    About $50 USD

    1 backer

    Complete your evening of cultural entertainment with dessert for two at Cherry Street Eatery & Sweetery at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Selections will change daily, but you can expect to find an array of tempting treats from chocolate pot de creme to raw vegan carrot cake.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more
    About $75 USD

    3 backers Limited (7 left of 10)

    Lunch for two at Cherry Street Eatery & Sweetery. How about a midday break for a thoughtfully prepared, healthy, locally sourced lunch? Quinoa salad with roasted vegetables from Delvin Farms? House-made pimento cheese made with Kenny's Farmhouse Cheddar? These are just a couple of choices on our seasonal lunch menu of soups, salads, and sandwiches. There is something yummy for everyone. Happy eating.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more
    About $75 USD

    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    How about a homemade birthday cake that you don't have to make? Choose your favorite flavor, it can even be vegan. Serves 12-16

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more
    About $100 USD

    7 backers

    Yes, I once owned Red Wagon Cafe, much beloved (and critically acclaimed) home of healthy, creative lunches and ridiculously delicious cat-head biscuits. Did you know that I also: develop recipes for published cookbook authors, consult with state agencies and non-profit organizations on child nutrition reform, and style food for a celebrity cooking show?
    I would like to share some of my experience and knowledge in the form of a folio of 10 of my favorite recipes. I will even include the secret biscuit recipe.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more
    About $150 USD

    0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)

    A custom-made Cherry Street apron, lovingly handcrafted using vintage fabrics, just like the aprons our staff will wear.

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more
    About $200 USD

    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    Biscuits for a month of Sundays. One dozen warm, buttery cat-head biscuits, delivered to your doorstep every Sunday for a month. Realistically, this is only an option for my Nashville supporters. Or you could gift it to someone you know in Nashville. Mmmm, biscuits.

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more
    About $250 USD

    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    A platter of delightful holiday confections. Cookies, meringues, sugarplums. Throwing a holiday party? You won't have to worry about sweets. It would also make a lovely hostess gift if you are attending a seasonal soiree.

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more
    About $500 USD

    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    Need lunch for the office? How about a sandwich platter for 12? Roast beef with house-made onion marmalade, bleu cheese and arugula, sesame chicken salad, B.L.T with avocado, local cheddar and sriracha mayo, spicy pimento cheese with capers, kalamata olives and roasted red peppers. And these are just at few of your choices. Sound good? You will be the most popular person at work.

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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more
    About $1,000 USD

    1 backer Limited (2 left of 3)

    You will receive an elegant Sunday brunch for 8 of your favorite people, prepared by me in your home. Imagine Martha Stewart, but a little more punk rock. You can look forward to a seasonal,locally sourced southern menu, both sweet and savory, made and served with love and gratitude. You don't even have to get out of your jammies.

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Funding period

- (20 days)