Mar 15, 2024 - Food and Drink

D'Andrews Bakery in Nashville is riding the James Beard recognition wave

A composite of four photos showing baked goods including a croissant and a donut.

Some of the stash we took home after a recent visit to D'Andrews. Photos: Nate Rau/Axios

For David Andrews, the path toward James Beard recognition ran through the French club at Franklin Road Academy.

  • He made crème brûlée for his high school classmates in the 1990s. Their delight was infectious.

"I always loved baking in my mom's kitchen and making a mess," Andrews tells Axios.

  • In 2003, he moved to New York City to attend the Institute of Culinary Education. He honed his craft in some of the best kitchens in the world and worked as a pastry chef and executive chef.
  • By 2016, it was time to return home to Nashville to pursue his ultimate dream: launching his own bakery. His D'Andrews Bakery & Cafe opened in 2018.

Why it matters: Just a few years in, D'Andrews has received national acclaim. In January, it was named a semifinalist for the 2024 James Beard Award for outstanding bakery.

  • The recognition was an electrifying jolt for Andrews and his small staff of about 12 people. He says it drove a 70% jump in business compared to last year.

What he's saying: "The first week, I just couldn't stop crying. The second week, I was just floating as I was walking down the sidewalk, I was so happy," Andrews says.

  • "We were all just blown away."
  • "And then we took a deep breath and got back to work."

State of plate: D'Andrews is a feast for the senses. Inside the small downtown space, cases are filled with fresh-baked delights like cream-filled donuts, buttery croissants and pecan cinnamon buns

Zoom in: Andrews said he wanted his bakery to have something for everyone. The result is part coffee shop (with homemade flavored syrups), part bakery and part bistro, with savory lunch options including soup and salad.

  • The menu includes an extensive array of breakfast and lunch sandwiches (on homemade bread, of course).

The vibe: During a busy morning visit, you might see downtown workers, tourists and politicians in line alongside families who just visited the downtown library.

  • Seeing customers enjoy their goodies is his favorite part of the job. When the bakery first opened, Andrews remembers being moved to tears when he saw a young boy happily dunk his chocolate chip cookie into a glass of milk.

The bottom line: Andrews says the goal is the same as when he handed out crème brûlée in high school.

  • "We want to see people smile."

What's next: The James Beard field will be narrowed down to finalists on April 3.

If you go: D'Andrews is located at 555 Church St. It is open 7am-2pm Monday-Friday and 8am-2pm on the weekends.

  • Street parking is available, and the downtown library garage is across the street.
  • Andrews advises visitors to arrive early on the weekends, as the baked goods tend to sell out quickly.
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