Frothy Monkey, Nashville, TN
2509 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37204
Nashville is far more than the Grand Ole Opry and Dolly Parton (although these are very important things). Yes, you’ve got to have an obligatory night on Broadway to honky tonk your way through music capitol and sing along at every country bar you see. You need to see a show at Ryman Auditorium or at the new Opry stage. You should probably snag yourself hot chicken at Hottie B’s if you can endure the line. Oh, and enjoy a local-made beer on a rooftop with live music. However, if you end there, you’ll miss so much this town has to offer.
After two days in Nashville, I quickly learned there’s an East and West side that have distinct characteristics of their own. Don’t worry - we’ll get to these later. But, there’s also a more southern area to Nashville by Belmont. This area is known for its classic flair. Older homes, charming neighborhoods and college students EVERYWHERE. However, it’s also home to one the original location of the well-known and beloved:
The Back Story
Frothy Monkey opened in 2004 in a small 1200 ft bungalow in the transitioning neighborhood of 12S street. Ryan Pruitt served in the business first as General Manager, but later vied for ownership of the business in 2011, when he and partners purchased it outright. After this key turning point and some conscious and successful Frothy Monkey staff appointments later, business boomed. Their profit increased almost 300% between 2011 and 2014, adding Frothy Monkey to the list of America’s Top 5000 Fastest Growing Companies. Let’s just say that’s no small feat for a coffee shop.
In 2014, business was so good that Frothy Monkey felt the time had come to begin roasting their own beans and in 2015, they made it happen. Frothy Monkey Roasting Co still exists to this day, with roasting done off site but still in the heartland of Nashville.
There are now five Frothy Monkey locations, a roasting company and an artisan bakery. In addition to outreaches in downtown Nashville, Frothy Monkey expanded to Franklin and Chattanooga. Despite its success and growth, Frothy Monkey still remains rooted strong in its neighborhood concept.
“Pruitt’s vision of the future of the American Coffeehouse is this- come to Frothy Monkey expecting great coffee, and discover that you can enjoy breakfast through dinner, a glass of wine or a pint in a creative and approachable atmosphere. Though the customer demographic varies in each neighborhood they inhabit, there is a common thread of quality, local/regional food and beverage relationships, accessibility to customers, and the comfort of a traditional coffeehouse with an expanded menu of offerings from morning through the day and into the evening. As Frothy Monkey continues to grow, the intent is to invest in areas where they can be a contributing neighbor.”
They says lines in front of a restaurant is a good sign. Let’s just say there were plenty of signs that Frothy Monkey is strongly loved by its neighbors. At 6:57, there were about seven other people standing outside with me waiting for it to open. We were mostly all ready to snag coffee before heading into work. A couple folks were on their morning walk with their pups and in need of a hot cuppa to heat up the chilly morning. They all knew exactly that they wanted and they didn’t mind having to wait for it. I knew I was in the right place.
Let’s Talk Coffee
Frothy Monkey offers your standard coffee menu in addition to two manual brew options of the Kalita Wave or Chemex, depending if your sipping alone or with a friend. They serve their locally roasted beans and offer single-origin drip coffee and cold brew as well. All the bases are covered here, but I wouldn’t say the coffee scene is secondary to their food scene.
Their in-house roasting offers a couple blends, named thoughtfully ‘12South’ after their location. However, they’re big on offering single origin roasts. In most cases, the shop has a direct relationship with the farmer’s growing the coffee, which is the ideal case among coffee roasters. It means they’re more intimate and connected with who grows your coffee beans and how they grow them, which ought to make you feel better about consuming it.
Food matters here, too. And it’s pretty good. Made with locally sourced ingredients and carefully crafted through in-house recipes, Frothy Monkey offers hot breakfast, to include breakfast sandwiches and bits such as bagels. It’s got a full lunch menu, with hot sandwich panini-type lunch items and dinner too. Comfort foods dominate, with burgers, pasta and plenty of hot sandwich options. The availability of shrimp and grits is telling of their traceable southern roots.
I ordered myself a latte with a bagel and cream cheese. I wasn’t sure how long I’d get to stay (wasn’t sure how long it would take me to get my food given the line), so I went with something I could eat on the road if needed. Although, I do enjoy drinking my coffee out of a mug, so I made sure to order that to drink in. The latte was well-made — the milk didn’t dominate the espresso and the espresso itself was smooth.
The location offered plenty of seating. To the left of the main house was a long stretch of a enclosed type porch offering plenty of tables. There are also seats on the back porch and a couple tables upstairs for those that want to traverse the winding staircase. I found the staff to be very friendly, despite being swamped with customers. Although, that also meant I wasn’t able to ask the many questions on my mind like, why the name Frothy Monkey? I know you’re curious too :) I’m still waiting to hear back from an inquiry and will update this post if I get response.
Overall — this place is a great one to visit any time of day. Visit by yourself, with many friends, just one, or your dog. All are welcome in this wonderful shop nestled in a homey neighborhood that’s a ten minute drive from the edge of downtown Nashville. I always appreciate a shop that has hot breakfast options for days when I want to go on a weekend for brunch with coffee and friends. The coffee was well-made, roasted in house and served by a sweet staff. What more is there to ask for?