Riffs Cafe at Highland Ridge
Riffs Cafe grilled cheese, creamy tomato basil and chicken & dumpling soups, latte, peanut butter pudding & concord grape hand pie
I’ve been a pretty vocal fan of the guys of Riffs since Day 1 of them coming on the food truck scene. Actually, before Day 1. I know they’re great at the mobile food thing, I know their catering is fabulous, and they’ve thrown some awesome pop-up dinners. So it comes as no surprise to me that their new brick and mortar cafe is cranking out some delightful fare too.
The no frills diner is not exactly located in an area I typically spend much time dining in. Actually it’s an area I’ve pretty much avoided dining in up until now. Riffs Cafe at Highland Ridge is in an office park, just off of Briley Parkway and Elm Hill Pike, over near the airport.
While I don’t work there on a daily basis, the main office of my company is actually located not too far away, also just off of Elm Hill Pike. Occasionally I’m there for meetings or drop by to pick up samples, and I discovered early on that there was nothing good to eat nearby. Last year when The Chew and CBS Sunday Morning were in town to film stories on Goo Goo, I got the same question from the crews- “Where can we grab a bite nearby?”. My response: “Uhhhh, there’s a Hardee’s down the street.”
Riffs cafe lattes, samoa, chocolate dulce cookies, ‘moon pies’
Seriously, this area desperately needed a place like Riffs Cafe. While I’d love for them to have a brick and mortar location on my side of town (maybe one day??), the spot they landed in is the next best thing for me personally. At least when I am over at the home office I can swing by for breakfast or lunch.
For those of you that work around there, if you haven’t been, you’re missing out. There is no reason not to be dropping by once, twice, 5 times a week! And truly, it’s pretty easy to get to from downtown also – maybe a 10 minute drive? Definitely doable for a lunch break for you downtowners. Anyone heading to Shopry Mills to do some Christmas shopping on a weekday? Avoid the mall food court. Fuel up at Riffs beforehand!
Okay, so I guess I should probably describe some of the food, right? Well, if you’ve eaten from Riffs food truck before, you’ll recognize a few things, though they may have made a few changes or slight twists. They offer some more adventurous options but have plenty for those that like to stick to the basics as well.
Riffs Top Hat Burger and Fries
I’ve had everything from grilled cheese & soup to a burger, to Korean tacos and a Banh Mi. Served with cheddar cheese, a bacon onion hash, lettuce, tomato, and top secret Riffs sauce, their Top Hat Burger is insanely delicious. Oh, and their fries? Ridiculous.
Last week I got to sample a jerk chicken sandwich that was being tested out, and it was fantastic. Really looking forward to seeing it on the menu, as I think I should probably lay off the burgers and fries a bit, or I’m going to gain 5 pounds before the holidays even hit.
Plus, I’ve always got to leave room for the dessert calories when dining at Riffs. That case full of treats doesn’t tempt me, it owns me. There is no way I would even think of walking out that door without first getting something sweet to eat. No way.
Chocolate Caramel Coffee Shortbread Bar at Riffs Cafe
I first met and learned of pastry chef Audra Dykes’ brilliance when she worked at the then newly opened Coffee, Lunch last year. She participated in the Goo Goo Cluster 100 year anniversary dessert promotion and created one of my top 3 favorites, the Goo Goo Turtle Bars.
A few months ago she left Coffee, Lunch. and began working with Riffs Fine Street Food, opening up the new cafe. Her take on some of our childhood favorites like Swiss cake rolls, Twix bars, oatmeal cream pies, and Moon Pies blow the originals out of the water. Trust me on this – get one of the Moon Pies. I was floored.
You really can’t go wrong with any choice you make from the ever-changing array of sweet offerings. While I’ve only had it a couple of times, there is one item that I can’t get out of my head and wish I was eating right now. The ‘Riffs Bar’, a peanut butter-chocolate-pretzel creation can only be described as pure joy in bar form.
While Audra does fill the dessert case with amazingness every day, I also need to mention that she makes all the biscuits, buns and breads used on their savory dishes as well. And let me tell you– I don’t think there is any bread finer in this city.
Okay, now I’m hungry. Off to Riffs Cafe for breakfast! (I’m completely serious.)
555 Marriott Drive
(Building Two) #105
Nashville, TN 37204
Hours: Mon – Fri 6:30 am – 3 pm
Photography credit: some images my own, others courtesy of Audra’s Instagram.