Cafe Roze, Nashville, TN
1115 Porter Rd, Nashville, TN37206
Let’s keep this straight forward and simple. Cafe Roze was THE reason I came to East Nasvhille. While I heard that East Nashville was a best kept secret of hipster locals, I was mostly drawn East by the photos of a beautifully simple cafe called Cafe Roze. Apparently, they served have-to-have rose lattes and boasted a menu that would overwhelm any foodie with excitement. When my friend Brooke and I had a day off, we scheduled the day around brunch at this infamous location. In the end, we discovered a stream of sidewalk-connected small-business villages in East Asheville and spent the rest of the day walking from one restaurant to another. We bounced from pop-ups to record stores, donut shops, coffee shops and boutiques in between. It was a glorious day.
Ready to hear about the cafe where it all started?
Cafe Roze opened its doors in July 2017 and became an almost instant neighborhood sensation. The buzz has only heightened since. The owner, Julie Jaksic, brought her New York roots into a little corner of East Nashville and created a simple, elegant space. It’s unlike most Nasvillian restaurants that host wide-open diner spaces and Southern-style type seating. Cafe Roze remains cozy and classic. It’s got a minimalist and intentionally designed interior. The beauty of the space has drawn in local and tourists alike. It’s been Instagrammed like crazy for its large white marble countertop and pink cabinetry.
Interesting note: the name Cafe Roze isn’t a reference to rosé or to roses. It’s pronounced like ‘rose’, but the name comes from the Croatian word for ‘pink'. One look at the interior and you’ll get the connection.
Many people are intrigued by Cafe Roze because of its interior; however, people return and become loyal devotees because of the high-caliber food and drinks. While the hot beverage menu isn’t the central component of the cafe, it is a much-adored part that keeps visitors streaming in as soon as it opens at 8 AM.
Spotted on the menu (at the top) are three infamous drinks - the Roze Latte, Turmeric Honey Steamer (effectively Turmeric Latte) and Black Sesame Steamer. The only one of these actually containing espresso is the Roze Latte. Made with rose and cardamom, the Roze Latte was the first thing I’d ordered. I drank it in five minutes (it was as delicious as it sounds) and was eager to try and second drink. I went back and forth between the Turmeric Honey and Black Sesame Steamer; and though I’d heard the Turmeric Steamer was a cult favorite of locals, I opted for the Black Sesame in the name of trying something new. It tasted more creamy than sweet and had strong hints of coconut (it almost tasted like super creamy and subtle coconut cream). It held a creamy smoothness and I could pick-up the sesame. It was unique drink I’d recommend to try!
Cafe Roze brews Revelator Coffee, talked about previously in the Killebrew Coffee write-up. I’ll give you the basics. Revelator is a well-known coffee roaster that started in Birmingham, Alabama. They curate high quality coffee through seasonal grower rotations and aspire to create an inclusive community. It’s served all over in the Southeast and has demonstrated that excelsior, ethical coffee roasting isn’t just confined to the auspices of the United States East and West coasts.
Roze Latte (above)
Black Sesame Steamer (below)
The seating in Cafe Roze is limited. It’s a small space that stays occupied. On the right is a long marble countertop with bar seating. Behind it are a long row of small tables that can be combined for larger parties, though this isn’t the place to bring a large party of friends. The tables all back up against a beautiful pew-like bench seat that wraps around the entire left side of the building.
We got lucky that there were two open seats at the bar, or else we would have wound up waiting about 30 minutes for table. Just know, this is to be expected on a Saturday. It also means, however, that you’re in a good place when there’s a constant wait!
I’ve heard that Cafe Roze literally transforms into an entirely new restaurant at night. The vibe changes instantly. It becomes a place that one might expect when going to a popular restaurant in New York City. Its cocktails are a staple to this scene. It’s got a Day Drink Menu and a Dinner Drink Menu and both are awesome. I teetered between the Bloody Mary, Aperol Spritz, Orange Blossom Gin Fizz; but, the aesthetic and pickled ornaments on top the Bloody Mary next to me convinced me of my obvious choice.
This is a place you could easily come for the beverages alone (the cocktails only get better and more unique at night), but the food…. oh my word.
Cafe Roze would likely tell you that they’re not doing anything ‘new’ per se. Instead, they’d likely say they’re elevating favorites. Take for example, their country ham toast. It’s got a thin slice of ham with scrambled eggs and then completely immersed in parmesan cheese. The cheese is enough of a twist on this sourdough classic, that it stands out. Albeit, I must say, other things are truly unique. Take the savory oats, for example. Here, you’ve got oats with mustard greens, shitake mushrooms, sprinkled with gomasio (unhulled sesame seeds) and topped with a poached egg. Ever heard of that before? Didn’t think so.
Enough with the explanations. I opted for the Farro Salad (Charred Green Beans, Frisee, Pickled Radish, & Miso Ranch) and Brooke took the Roze Bowl (Beet Tahini, Black Lentils, Red Quinoa, Seasonal Vegetable, Kale & Pickled Beet) with Salmon. There was nothing left on our plate when we left. NOTHING.
Farro Salad (top)
Roze Bowl + Salmon (bottom)
I dare say this ranks among my top 3 favorite cafes I’ve ever been to. I wish it had been easier to get a standard seat. Yet, if it was easier, it probably wouldn’t be so good. Right? So I’ll leave it by saying that this MUST on your list when you visit Nashville. The drive out East is so worth it. I guarantee you’ll love the area surrounding it as well. Bon appetit!