Nearby Midtown residents Diana Barzizza and her 3-year-old daughter, Eva, take a cupcake break on the patio at Muddy’s Grind House on South Cooper Street.
The new Muddy’s Grind House, the second retail shop for cupcake wizard Kat Gordon, is located inside a freshly renovated Midtown bungalow with yellow and apple-green trim. The coffee shop and bakery is easy to find. Head north on Cooper Street from Central, spot the bright-orange Easy-Way store on the right, and take the next left. Turn left again into a steep driveway leading to parking spaces, a convenient use of the hillside with a pleasant neighborhood view.
Inside, the coffee shop is sun-filled and comfortable with a fun assortment of merchandise and gleaming bakery cases filled with scones, muffins, cookies, pie by the slice, and Muddy’s signature cupcakes. We skipped the cupcakes, opting instead for honey rosemary cookies, Jan’s famous toffee bar, therapy brownies with a zigzag of vanilla frosting (we ate two before the day was over), and an exceptionally wonderful ginger scone crusted with coarse sugar crystals.
Muddy’s regular customers will certainly recognize some of the shop’s assorted delectables, but Grind’s coffees, featuring local and national roasters, are new. The shop’s “first draft” drink menu offers the expected players: drip and French press, espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, and steamed milk with assorted flavors. Prices range from $2 for a small drip coffee with free refills in-shop to $5.50 for a large mocha.
My first cafe au lait ($2.50) was perfectly prepared, but even more impressive, served in an oversized cup with a saucer. “I can’t remember the last time I used a cup and saucer,” I commented to my husband. “I feel so civilized.”
We snacked on the brick patio of Muddy’s Grind House, a pretty covered space with distressed aqua bistro tables, potted mums, and strands of Edison bulb lights. Nearby, 3-year-old Eva Barzizza calmly finished off a cupcake’s icing, peeled back the paper liner, and started working her way through the cake.
“She’s usually a chocolate girl,” said mom Diana Barzizza. “Today she switched to red velvet.”
Both inside and out, Muddy’s Grind House feels like a friend, comfortable to be around and anxious to please. A prominent chalkboard is covered with customer suggestions for the new shop. My favorites: The New York Times on Sundays and chocolate milk. Some customer suggestions, such as yoga classes in the morning, already have materialized, along with tai chi. For a schedule of classes, check here.
Muddy’s Grind House, 585 S. Cooper St. (901-443-4144). Hours: Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.