Despite the fact that Steadfast Coffee is brand new (18 days old when we went, according to the barista), we've heard about it from several people already. It immediately went on our list and we knew it would be the next we'd check out.
Located in Germantown, somewhere near the fancy and cool Rolf & Daughters (we've never been, but saw it on the map app). The shop is in an area that is a cross between old-school industrial and residential and fancy restaurants. Steadfast is a mix of all of those.
The shop is up a hill—you take stairs to get up to the patio and then more stairs to get up to the door. Don't be deterred by the lack of arrows or signage or the fact that you drove in from an alley. Just follow the rusty stairs or find someone who looks like they know where they're going, which is what we did.
The patio outside is roomy, with big tables on the ground level and then a few smaller high tables on the store-level. It's a similar feel to Ugly Mugs' outside section.
The inside of the shop is small, with a clean, industrial feel. Subway tile reaches 3/4 of the way up three walls (the other is devoted to two garage doors that are literally only there for ventilation because there's no real way to get a car up the stairs to them). The espresso bar/cash register is in the center of the store like Barista Parlor and BP Golden Sound. Unlike the BPs, this one takes up most of the room.
Booth seating lines the subway-tiled walls—both four-top private booths and the two-top, wall booths where you sit next to complete strangers and stare at the Barista-Theatre-in-the-Round. A huge wagon-wheel sort of thing (not at all a wagon wheel. We guess it's like an iron circle? We're professionals.) with light bulbs hangs over the barista bar. This is a totally accurate description, b-t-dubs, but we'll provide a picture if you're not one of the more imaginative types.
The chairs on the outside of the booth were literally bolted to the ground. We don't know what else to say about it other than it was inconvenient and kind of painful for a person as clumsy as Laura. Maybe they were worried they'd get stolen? We don't know. But just know it is a thing there.
Before we begin, we should note that, per usual, we checked out the website before coming here. We are nothing if not thorough.
Steadfast boasts "rested drinks." Rested drinks are espresso and milk aged for a certain amount of time, we learned. Apparently this makes the flavors more distinct, rich, and complex. Everything is better when it's well-rested, right? (We know we are.) We didn't see this, so we can't be sure, but we assume this means there are little coffee mugs somewhere in the back with sleep masks on. (If you know for a fact they are not, do not tell us.) Curiously, rested drinks were not listed on the drink menu. Maybe it has to be later in the day? Naptime?
E: There were only three tea options. None of which sounded particularly amazing, but when a place has "flash-chilled coffee" and "rested drinks," I kind of assume my options will be limited as a non-coffee drinker. I got the tea that was described as "Charcoal." It's an Oolong with a smoked flavor. I normally like Oolongs, so I went with it. It wasn't great. I guess it had a smoked flavor? It was somewhere under $3. I was given the leaves and told I could brew another cup. I wasn't sure how I would go about that with only chilled water, but I didn't really want a second cup of charcoal anyway.
Tea Taste Rating: 1
For food, I got the egg sandwich—farm egg, smashed avocado, arugula, pickled onions, on brioche toast. It was $7. And it was delicious. I couldn't manage it as an actual sandwich—avocado can be a bit slippery. I didn't love the pickled onions, so I picked those out. The brioche toast tasted slightly garlicky and topped with the avocado—I could eat just that as my meal and be happy. The egg was light and huge (I guess that farm raisin' was good for breedin' big eggs). It also came with an arugula salad that I could never decide had dressing or not.
Egg Sandwich Taste Rating: 8
L: I ordered a coffee soda basically because Elizabeth told me people had recommended it and since she is not a coffee-liker I figured I needed to be the one to try this odd concoction. Here is what it looks like:
Coffee soda is...well...Elizabeth transcribed my literal first reaction:
"It's not that bad. It's totally—interesting. Like nothing I've ever put in my mouth before."
It is iced, carbonated coffee with an orange rind in it. I still don't know how I feel about it, to be honest. I don't know if I liked it or hated it. I would hate it one second and like it the next. Though I never crossed over to "love," but to be fair I am not adventurous.
Coffee Soda Taste Rating: 5?
I also ordered an apple-rosewater hand pie because everything on the regular menu looked too fancy for me (seriously where are the bagel sandwiches with cheddar am I right?) and because it sounded just pretentious enough to be delicious. It was.
Apple Rosewater Hand Pie Taste Rating: 9
NOTE: I saw on the menu later (which I did not consult because apparently all it takes is Elizabeth saying, 'here, try this' for me to totally change my personality and go off book) and vowed to get it next time -- butterscotch latte. Someone try it and tell me it's good.
The shop was pretty empty when E walked in, and it wasn't entirely clear where to order. The barista was fairly quick to notice her lostness and explain the process—order espresso from the barista, get a "well-loved" (read: stained...already) paper menu, and order food at the register. L just made a bee-line for E and then E explained everything. The drink menu is on a tiny chalkboard so to be fair, it is confusing.
Chambray is literally the uniform here, which we find adorably Nashville.
The baristas were super nice. Really. Like, as pretentious as this arugula-fest is, the baristas could not have been friendlier. Even when Laura asked to put cream in her coffee soda (it was an EXPERIMENT) and one of them gave her a look like "oh, honey...." A+, chambray-clad baristas. [Elizabeth, who also went off-script and tried the coffee soda (and then suggested the cream) is sure that cream would be good in it. Italian cream sodas are a thing!]
The tables all have water carafes and glasses and the whole place seems more like a restaurant than a coffee shop. It isn't cozy, but that's not what they're going for.
We shopped on a Saturday morning and there was an eclectic mix of families, people in workout clothes, hipsters, and tourists. A lot of people mentioned this was their first time in the shop and a lot of them needed instructions. The others simply knew the people who worked there.
SIDEBAR: they did not have their wifi set up yet when we were there, which was a bummer. It may be ready now, but as of a few days ago, no wifi. So don't come here to do actual work.
Ratings Round Up:
Level of uncomfortableness upon walking in: 7. See aforementioned confusion.
Level of Pretentiousness: 9. They get a point back for having nice people but they get 9 points because everything else.
Ironic flat-bill caps: 6, at least.
Parking: 4. There are designated spots in a row along the retaining wall (yes) that holds in the whole joint, but not many. And they are kind of hard to maneuver in & out of.
Warby Parkers: SOOO many. At least 6, including a child.
Manpris - 1
Natalie Maines haircut (on men) - 3
Disheveled facial hair - 2
Manbuns - 3
Jorts - 1
Live "Reasons My Son Is Crying" post - 1
Overall we liked the place. It was a fun change and the people were nice, but we would probably try different drinks next time.
Have you been to Steadfast yet? What's your favorite thing to order? Do you think cream in the Coffee Soda would be good?