Meet Madeline Williams, the fearless leader and face behind Tavern. As a veteran of M Street’s Lime, Citizen, Virago, and Kayne Prime, Madeline has left a lasting mark on the M Street family. Her dedication to Tavern and the entire M Street team is both impressive and admirable. This past week, we sat down with her to hear about her journey with M Street. We are so excited to share her story with you.
Describe your journey with M Street.
I moved to Tennessee in 2011. A couple of days after moving here, I responded to a Craigslist ad for Lime (M Street’s first concept) and got hired. I served at Lime for 8 months. When Lime closed down, I got asked to open Citizen and was a server there for about a year, during which time I was also working at Virago. When they were talking about opening Tavern, M Street asked me to be one of the first Managers. I had the opportunity to open the concept as an Assistant General Manager (AGM). While I was an AGM at Tavern, I continued to serve at Virago as well as Kayne Prime. I was managing at Tavern all day, was serving at Kayne Prime or Virago at night, and sometimes would even serve atCitizen after that. When the General Manager left Tavern, I was accepted the role to lead the concept.
What did Midtown look like when Tavern first opened?
Midtown was definitely an interesting area at that time. There were a lot of local bars that had been around for a long time, but I think that Tavern really fit into the overall puzzle. One thing that Midtown was missing was a destination for delicious food. When we entered the neighborhood, I felt as though we completed the puzzle to make Midtown a well-rounded hot-spot. You could start your night with dinner and crafty cocktails at Tavern and finish at Broadway Brewhouse or the many other nearby watering holes.
What is your favorite dish on the Tavern menu?
Oh that is a tough one. I think I would have to say the Meat Pie, simply amazing. ...And I’m going to do one from the brunch menu too, the Kaya Toast. Those are my jams.
What is your favorite meal time at Tavern?
I really enjoy brunch, especially the fast-paced nature of it. Brunch at Tavern is incredibly busy and now that we have a brunch DJ, it has added a lot of additional energy to the atmosphere. People of all ages are coming in, drinking 2-for-1s (if they're over 21 of course), and just spending the day with us. There are so many personalities and it is just a really good time.
Tell us a little about the opening of Tavern brunch.
Well…Tavern was open for about a year and a half when we first decided to try brunch. Since then, I have always worked brunch. I’m a firm believer in ambassadorship. When a guest sees a familiar face in the building, they look for that and very much like that. People appreciate that I am at Tavern, and I appreciate seeing them week after week.
What is your favorite part about M Street?
I would have to say the culture and the people–not only the staff, but also the guests. I have definitely made a lot of lasting relationships with guests along my journey. One really awesome thing that I have enjoyed is some of the people that I used to take care of at Kayne Prime or Citizen now come visit me at Tavern. They often reminisce about the ways I would take good care of them in the other restaurants. I am all about hospitality. I live my life like that and love to be a part of that day-to-day.
Who are your mentors at M Street?
I have a few of them. Back in the day I would definitely say Emily and Robbie (previous Events and Culinary employees at M Street). They helped me grow and learn new things. I was a brand new manager, and they were a big part in guiding me and showing me the ropes of management.
I definitely think that Chris is also one of my mentors. I really respect his presence and how he puts his concepts together.
And also, newly, Jamie (our Director of Strategy and New Projects). I really like her vibe and her presence. She always emits such a great feeling.
Lastly, the opening chef at Tavern, Ray Whitlock. I formed a really awesome relationship with him and was actually the best man at his wedding! He taught me a lot about food and pairings and how to run a kitchen.
Tell us a little bit about the beer program you are developing at Tavern.
Right now we are working on creating a beer program, like a "Beer 101". Tavern is primarily known for our craft beers, so we have been getting a lot of local breweries on board. Recently we went on the Yazoo Brewery Tour. Next, I would love to take my staff to places like Black Abbey and Corsair.
What’s your favorite beer?
I really enjoy sours and saisons.
What are some of your outside hobbies?
I love to be outside. This is weird but I love to cut my grass! Anytime I can cut the grass I am super excited about it. I also love being on the water whether it be a pool or a lake. My fiancé and I buy old furniture and refurbish it for our new house, which I really enjoy.
As an original pioneer of the true M Street spirit, Madeline has become an integral part of the M Street family. She continually sets the bar for guest experiences and is always yearning to make Tavern, her staff, and herself the best they can possibly be. We are so thankful to have Madeline as a part of our team. It has been truly inspiring to watch both her and her career grow throughout her years at M Street.