This Cafe Is Making Breakfast Wine and Cake a Thing

Let them eat cake... at 10 a.m.

Photo by: @lounashville / Instagram

@lounashville / Instagram

Sure, it’s five o’clock somewhere, but at Nashville’s Lou, wine is unapologetically served at breakfast, as the ideal pairing with cake. Executive chef-owner Mailea Weger’s French-inspired stylings and creative California-ish menu (the L.A. native honed her chops at Gjusta and Gjelina) has made the chic all-day café and natural wine bar a brunch destination in East Nashville, but the notion of cake-and-wine for breakfast is more than mere marketing gimmick.

Before moving to Nashville, Weger and her husband, Ben Rice, lived in Paris for two years. Weger was busy helming Echo, a Californian-Parisian deli and café. Rice wasn’t working at the time, so he would treat himself to a luxurious breakfast and polish off whatever wine was left over from the night before. “Breakfast wine” became an inside joke among the couple, until Weger realized it was an ingenious way to repurpose leftover wines from Lou’s all-natural wine list.

“It’s wine that’s been open a day or two and not at its prime, but still very good and delicious — maybe a Pét-Nat that’s lost its fizz,” Weger says. “But it doesn’t feel right charging full price for that glass, so we’ll offer it at $8 a glass. We want to incentivize people to treat themselves in the morning.”

As for the breakfast cake, Weger describes it as “healthyish,” since it’s low in sugar and both gluten- and dairy-free.

“I was looking for an alternative between something that’d read super-healthy or super-sweet. I’m from California, so I don’t use tons of sugar, and most of our pastries are low-sugar,” Weger explains. “I wanted something a bit sweeter and decadent without going so far as doing French toast.”

Lou’s executive pastry chef Sasha Piligan (previously of Sqirl in L.A.) devised the cake base, grinding hazelnuts into a meal that yields a moist, rich cake that’s studded with cacao nibs for a subtle chocolate crunch. The toppings rotate seasonally. Apple season is on the horizon; right now, the wedge of breakfast cake is topped with a syrupy, late-season blueberry or raspberry compote, orange zest, powdered sugar and sea salt.

The breakfast cake and wines are currently offered a la carte (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.), but Weger aims to offer them as a pairing soon. She imagines matching a jammy red gamay with a red-fruit-topped cake, or a tart white wine, like a California riesling, with apples.

Related Links:

Next Up

How the First Female Chef at a Historic New Orleans Restaurant Celebrates Mardi Gras

Here’s how Meg Bickford faced the roaring return of carnival season at Commander’s Palace — and her recipe for an "obnoxiously good" shrimp po' boy.

How to Blacken Chicken and Seafood

The simple, flavorful technique was born in New Orleans.

What Is Praline?

You’ve probably heard the name and eaten it. But what exactly is praline?

9 of the Best Bakeries to Buy Mooncake Around the U.S.

Pick up traditional and creative spins on the indulgent Mid-Autumn Festival treat.

This Croatian Instant Cereal Always Makes Me Feel Like a Kid Again

For me, there’s nothing more nostalgic than a bowl of Čokolino.

5 Ways You Can Give Back This GivingTuesday

In this season of giving, it feels good to do good.

Subway Will Now Be Slicing Meat Fresh at Each of Its Locations

Customers will be able to see the machines work right in front of them.

When Are PSLs Coming Back to Starbucks This Year?

Pumpkin Spice Latte lovers want their favorite fall drink back ASAP.

This Year’s Starbucks Holiday Cups Give Cozy Christmas Sweater Vibes

Fans can expect to fill their cups with returning holiday favorite drinks.

15 Food Freebies Veterans and Active Duty Military Can Claim This Veterans Day

These chains are offering free meals to say thanks on Friday, November 11.