In early July, Sonia and I made the decision to incorporate elements of diversity into the blog. This included a more determined effort to visit more women and minority owned businesses as well as LGBTQ+ friendly establishments. Our first choice in this effort was Brightside Bakeshop, which has 2 locations. We opted for the West Nashville location at 4907 Indiana Avenue since it gave us a chance to check out the Richland Park Farmer’s Market as well. Unfortunately, by the time we got to the bakery at 11:00, they had sold out of everything except for the classic croissants. Needless to say, I was heartbroken since I had been anticipating this visit all week.
Before continuing, I want to highlight a couple of things so that you don’t end up in the same situation as we did. First, Brightside Bakeshop is only open on Wednesdays – Sundays, 8am – Noon. Go early for the best chance at scoring one or all of their treats. Second, if you can’t get their early, pre-order, but pre-order early. Note the preorder availability on the sign below.
Never ones to give up, Sonia and I made the decision to wake up early a few weekends later and try again. Learning from our past mistake, we set our alarms for 7:30am the night before. We managed to get up on time but headed to the East Nashville location instead at 713 Porter Road as it was a few miles closer to us.
While we had looked at the menu before heading over, we were still overwhelmed by the options. It was so hard to resist ordering everything. Luckily, the bakeshop displays all their options for the day in a way that helped us decide. Items are separated into 3 sections – savory, sweet, and seasonal or daily specials.
Our initial strategy was to select 2 items from each group. Unfortunately, the selection process went awry though when we found out there was only 1 chocolate chip cookie left. In the end, we ordered:
- Sausage & Cheddar Brioche
- Everything Croissant Tart
- Cheesecake Streusel Danish
- Chocolate Chip Cookie
- Chocolate Almond Croissant
Sausage & Cheese Brioche
The sausage and cheese brioche closely resembles a popover and easily met the 2 key characteristics of tall and fluffy. Each bite had sufficient sausage and cheese making this a more savory option to the traditional, sweeter popovers. If ordering any of Brightside Bakeshop’s brioches, we recommend slicing the pastry in half from top to bottom, so that you can truly appreciate the fluffiness and layers before eating.
Everything Croissant Tart
As a huge fan of anything that incorporates the Everything Bagel Seasonings, selecting this option was a no-brainer. Out of everything we ordered, this item was my favorite. The tart is made using croissant dough, which can again be appreciated by bisecting the tart from one end to the other. The layers here did feel a little more compressed so the tart was a little denser than the other pastries we had, but it worked. The center of the tart is topped with cream cheese that just accentuates every bite. It’s arguable that this could be the next step up the evolution chain for the everything bagel.
The first sweet option that we tried was the Cinnaroll. After reading reviews and looking at pictures, we felt that this was one of Brightside Bakeshop’s more popular items, so we made sure to order one. From the cream frosting to the sugary glaze to the cinnamon filling, this delight had everything you could want from a cinnamon roll. My only challenge was getting each element in a single bite. The cinnamon filling was primarily at the bottom of the pastry, so in some of my bites I did miss it. Still there are workarounds and the overall sweetness of the pastry are enough to make it worthwhile.
Cheesecake Streusel Danish
I grouped the Cheesecake Streusel Danish in the sweet section, but as I think more about it, this was not really a sweet pastry. It is one of the better cheese danishes that I’ve ever eaten though. Like all of the other pastries so far, the base is a nicely layered and flaky dough. Of the above, it’s most similar to the Everything Croissant Tart. What really elevated the danish for me though was the streusel topping. The crunchy topping added a nice textural dimension to this pastry that really took it to the next level.
Chocolate Chip Cookie
The chocolate chip cookie was the one item we left with that we had not intended on buying before getting to the bakery. As soon as I saw it sitting on the counter though, I knew I wanted it. The cookie tastes exactly like it looks – crunchy exterior with a nice soft, fresh-baked interior. Sonia and I will likely forever debate whether we should have gone with this or with one of the seasonal items, but I don’t regret going with the cookie. I will note that I heated half of the cookie in the oven for a few minutes the next day, and it tasted even better.
Chocolate Almond Croissant
If there were ever a croissant that represented me and Sonia best, it would be a chocolate almond croissant. She loves her chocolate croissants while my favorite is the almond croissant, so this made the perfect choice for us as our last pastry. The croissant dough was light and flaky as expected at this point, but the one critique would be the volume of the almond filling. It can be overpowering, but as the almond croissant fan of the duo, I was alright with it.
Having been born and raised in Nashville, I am so happy to see something like Brightside Bakeshop in this city. There really aren’t any true pastry shops that I can think of here, and most Nashvillians are more likely to buy something like this from a grocery store since you can’t really find it anywhere else. It’s nice to see Nashville home to an amazing neighborhood bakery. From this order, I would recommend the Everything Croissant Tart and the Cheesecake Streusel Danish, but you can’t go wrong with any of the other choices.