Archive | December, 2010

Ode to Mad Donna’s

18 Dec

I was really bummed to hear Mad Donna’s filed for bankruptcy yesterday. I hope this restaurant is able to stay open, because it’s hands down my go-to place for brunch with friends. The 2-for-1 mimosas, the crab cakes bennie, the patio in the summer… it’s just my favorite little neighborhood eatery.

Love letter to Mad Donna's serverHoused in the old Radio Cafe building (which predates me), Mad Donna’s is located at the corner of 14th and Woodland. I cannot tell you the number of brunches I’ve had there since it opened three years ago, back when my friend Chris lived on Holly Street and I hadn’t yet moved to the ‘hood. Memories have been made at Mad Donna’s. We have started many a Sunday Funday with a big brunch here before walking up Woodland to continue the day at Five Points. We order our first coffee of the morning to rehash the previous night. We share Big Dons (grilled brioche stacked with a fried egg, ham, bacon, pepperjack cheese, tomato and Dijon-mayonnaise) and beignets. We (okay, Chris) pass love letters to the server via napkin.

However, it’s not perfect, by any means. We mourned when they took down all the photos of Donnas (Donna Summer, the Donnas, Tori Spelling’s 90210 days  – see above). They run out of Hollandaise sauce. Don’t sue me, but as a bloody mary connoisseur, their make-your-own bloody mary bar leaves much to be desired (and their house mix has horseradish overkill). One friend claims he’s never had good service unless he’s with us in a big group. I know, I’m not really selling this place very well.

I overlook their bloody mary faults because Saturdays and Sundays they have 2-for-1 mimosas, which you can get in a variety of flavors, from regular old orange juice to pineapple, peach or pomegranate (though that last one is too sweet for me). I can’t believe how few photos I have of Mad Donna’s with how many times we’ve been there, but I did find one of the time we trapped a fly in a mimosa glass (science experiment?).

Anyway, the brunch menu [PDF warning] is great. Creative yet classic, not necessarily amazing but consistently above-par. If you’re a meat-eater, there is nothing better than the aforementioned Big Don. According to my friend Elizabeth, anything else on the menu will disappoint. Ty is a big fan of the Breakfast Pizza (though it recently changed names to be a Breakfast Flatbread – same concept, just different crust), which uses sausage gravy as the sauce and is smothered with eggs and cheese. I almost always go for the Crab Cakes Benedict, which really is almost too much for one person. Two English muffins, two crab cakes, two eggs, two ladle-fuls of Hollandaise. (Don’t eat for the rest of the day.) Cap'n Crunch French Toast at Mad Donna'sThe Cap’n Crunch French Toast is the best rainbow-colored breakfast imaginable if that’s your bag (I personally haven’t tried that because 1. I hate fruity cereals and 2. It cuts the roof of your mouth). The omelets and frittatas are rich with chunky veggies and delicious, and Mad Donna’s gets bonus points for having a menu item called the Nelly Frittata. Most entrees come with a side of either cheese grits or potatoes – I prefer potatoes any day (they’re cubed and seasoned, but not crispy like home fries), but most people rave about the cheese grits.

Jenna Longmire Band at Mad Donna's

If breakfast isn’t your thing, they have a long list of lunch items, including fancy ham sandwiches, BLTs, patty melts, burgers (veggie too), this turkey-cranberry thing and amazing sweet potato fries. Dinner is, well, I don’t really know, because they just launched a new dinner menu and I pretty much focus on brunch. But they do have fun specials and events such as Taco Tuesdays ($2 tacos and $2 Dos Equis), Trivia Wednesdays and live music in their upstairs loft. Ty played there last year with Jenna Longmire.

So whether you want music, mimosas, mac and cheese, a good burger, eggs, a giant meat sandwich or fruity cereal on your French toast, I urge you to check out Mad Donna’s while they’re still open. Here’s hoping they can make it.

Location: 1313 Woodland St., Nashville, TN 37206

Cap’n Crunch French Toast photo courtesy Flickr user kthread