Event Recap

M Street Holiday Party Presents: "Dunk and Pie The Director"

Every January, the M Street family gets together to celebrate the success of another fantastic year. Team members from Virago, Moto, Saint Anejo, Whiskey Kitchen, Kayne Prime, and Tavern gathered together at The Rosewall for a night of memories, fun, and games.

This year, we wanted to give back to an organization that is very dear to us, Feed America First, whose goal is to provide food to those who feed the hungry across the Southern United States. To add some excitement to the night, we decided to assemble the "Director Dunk Tank" and the "Pie-A-Director". 

Participating in the Dunk Tank and Pie-Throwing were Director of Operations Gregg McDermott, Director of Culinary Operations Robert Grace, Associate Director of Operations Nick Elliot, and Associate Director of Culinary Operations Andrew Whitney. The night of the party, they adorned eclectic outfits to humor the whole team.

The M Street team excitedly purchased sets of balls for the Dunk Tank target and pies to throw at the Director of their choosing, with all proceeds going toward Feed America First. While most of the Directors had multiple wipe-outs, they took one for the team, helping us raise over $500 for Feed America First.

Check out the hilarity of the Dunk Tank and Pie-Throwing below!

Dancing With The Nashville Stars

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Meet Gregg McDermott, M Street's rockstar Director of Operations and dancer extraordinaire.

At the beginning of the month, Gregg competed in the 2017 Dancing With The Nashville Stars, benefiting Feed America First.

After months of fundraising and dance practices, Gregg showed off his fancy footwork in front of a live audience.


What is Feed America First?

Feed America First supplies food to soup kitchens, shelters, and food pantries across Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, and Mississippi.

In the past year, Feed America First has distributed over 13.8 million pounds of found, helping approximately 35,000 families in need each month.

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Gregg + Feed America First

Getting involved with Feed America First was a no-brainer for Gregg. Working in the restaurant industry, Gregg sees first-hand how much food goes to waste every single day, and knew he "could make a contribution to helping feed all the hungry people in Tennessee and across the country."


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The Dance

For Gregg's final dance number, he danced to a Michael Jackson medley featuring hits like "Up All Night" and "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough".

Gregg embraced the disco fever, dressed in '70s garb complete with a full afro.

His dancing partner, Madison lit up the stage with her high kicks and dips, wearing a flare-legged disco bodysuit.

 

 


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The Crowd

Both Gregg's family and M Street family came in full-force to cheer him on.

The team came prepared with neon posters, sequin Michael Jackson gloves, and face cut-outs.

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The Result

Gregg's performance was rocking!

His efforts helped to raise enough funds to supply 110,000-160,000 meals.


Boogie down with Gregg as he talks about his dancing journey in this highlight reel below:

Simply Smitten

With tastebuds tingling from dulce macaroons and eyes twinkling from Kendra Scott’s bright gemstones, M Street’s Saturday night pop-up event, Smitten, left us on a sugar high to last through Valentine’s Day.

Throughout the night, guests on the block were given yellow Kendra Scott boxes at random, which served as admission into Smitten. Tucked away in M Street’s private club, Citizen, guests were greeted by larger-than-life roses and signature sangria.

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The room glowed with a sophisticated hue of purple as lounge beats filled the room. The bar bustled with partygoers, and the bartenders' cocktail shakers danced to the rhythm of the music.

There was something to ignite the senses at every turn. A rainbow of macarons, cupcakes, cookies, and fruit tarts crafted by Kayne Prime’s Pastry Chef Nasera adorned the walkway to the dance floor.

In the distance, Kendra Scott’s rainbow of gemstones served as a hot spot for the night. Guests customized their own piece of jewelry while getting an inside peek inside the latest jewelry trends.

The dark, sensual atmosphere of Smitten set the stage for a perfect Valentine’s Day weekend. Guests said their goodbyes and walked out into the city lights on M Street, leaving a little sweeter and sparklier that when the night began.

 

Halloween 2016: "Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here"

Entering “limbo,” we are suddenly overcome by a sea of red hues. Quickly passing by signs of our sins - lust, gluttony, avarice, wrath - we are greeted by a seductive woman in red, beckoning us to join the dance with the devil.

A multi-colored dance floor filled with fellow souls catches our attention while images of flames strewn across the walls dance in the reflection of our eyes. The music thumps throughout our body, taking the place of our heartbeat, our humanity. We lock eyes with an angel of darkness, luring us toward the stage.

A troupe of scantily-clad Burlesque dancers perform a sultry piece to a slow version of Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” Their presence in front of the delivish mural painted by Brian Wooden drags us deeper into our enchanted trance.

 A round of Espolon tequila shots gets the night going; for the moment, it quenches our insatiable thirst. Chasing our tequila with the familiar flavors of cinnamon and orange added just enough spice that left our taste buds wanting more.

DJ AyDamn plays a thumping mix that gets our blood flowing. We feel the Espolon tequila trickle through our body, almost luring us onto the dance floor. Jumping to the beat of the music, aerialists dangling from hula hoops and ropes flip around above us. Who knew Hell would be so fun?

The Rosewall enchants us with its seductive music as we continue to move on the dance floor. The light shows coming from the DJ stage bring us deeper into a trance. We find ourselves hypnotized by the red tinge of the room as bodies sway to the motion of the beats.

As the night comes to a close, we exit the red abyss and breathe in some of the cool, October air. Our bodies still tingle as the music plays on inside. We look back and smile at our night in Inferno. 

M Street Chef Week: Expanding Palates/Palettes

Art (ärt) n. The conscious use of the imagination in the production of objects intended to be contemplated or appreciated as beautiful, as in the arrangement of forms, sounds, or words.

This past week, artists of all kinds gathered together to debut M Street’s first ever Chef Week. From our Executive Chefs to professional pinstripers and foreign fashion designers, attendees of last week’s event experienced a convergence of art from a variety of avenues. In case you missed out (or simply would like to relive the incredible events), open your mind and cleanse your palate as we take you on a journey through the inaugural M Street Chef Week.

Monday, 10/17: M Street Artist Alliance member, friend and innovative visual artist Nathan Brown painted special-edition, geometric-inspired, growlers to adorn the bar at Tavern Midtown. His penchant for color and sharp lines brightened Tavern’s hearth. Meanwhile, wafting from the kitchen were hearty aromas of Chef Jay’s new fall dishes. A fan favorite quickly became the Gojujang Dusted Duck Wings. In a similar light, Chef Shane Midnight of Whiskey Kitchen proudly unveiled his fall menu enhancements. The Hot Chicken Sandwich blends the perfect mix of spice and savory. The talented Brian Wooden simultaneously began painting a seductive and mysterious mural on the exterior wall of Whiskey Kitchen just around the corner. Brian began with a wheat-pasted portrait of a strong, confident, and visually stunning woman. He then took to completing his largest mural to-date by overlaying the signature grungy flair that has made him a household name in Nashville over the last year.

Tuesday, 10/18: Moto’s Ivy Room transformed into a colorful canvas for an especially decadent banquet where tables stood adorned with savory dishes, flowing wine, and the laughter and cheer of old and new friends sharing an evening of inspiration and sensation. Artist Brandon Donahue painted bottles of wine in shimmering shades of yellow, red, and purple. Meanwhile, local artisan Patrick Hayes (founder of 1767 Designs) decorated the room with his handcrafted woodwork pieces. Chef de Cuisine Luke Senderling featured his new menu items, incorporating authentic Italian cuisine with a modern twist to delight the taste buds of the curated guest-list comprised mostly of fellow artists and Nashville tastemakers.

Wednesday, 10/19: After a week of collaboration between artists Nathan Brown and Derrick Castle, the Saint Anejo faithful were amped to showcase their mural painted on the wall of the newly-extended Tequila Library. Flames, skulls, and a hint of rock n’ roll – this mural truly epitomizes the essence of Saint Anejo. Downstairs, Executive Chef Jason showcased a few of his new menu items, said to be inspired by his coworkers and kitchen family. His fresh Mexican Ramen dish warms the soul while Bar Manager Sarah Jerdon's unique Mexican Bushwacker tantalizes the tongue with a sweet cinnamon tingle.

Thursday, 10/20: Perhaps the most colorful day of Chef Week was day four. Pinstriping master Igor Acord and Virago's Executive Chef Andrew Whitney came together to create an interactive sushi dinner and sake pairing. Hailing from Virginia Beach, this is not the first time Igor has graced M Street with his presence. Igor was also part of both M Street's previous Art Goes Alternative installations. Together, Igor, Andrew, and Sushi Chef Himmi wowed the crowd with their fresh selections, artful sauces and vivid imaginations. Igor presented a fire-breathing dragon made of edible sauces. We might add that this mythical reptile blew real smoke from its nostrils to infuse vivid visual flavor as guests Matthew & Juliette Schultz (Cage the Elephant), Jon & Angelique Pittman (Native Nashville), Vivek Surti (VEA Supper Club), Chris Hyndman (M Street Founder & CEO) and others dined amidst feelings of amazement and delicious delight. Virago’s talented Sous Chefs Chloe and Nicole created a bonsai tree ornamented with cherry blossom macarons acting as a sweet nightcap to put the finishing touches on Virago’s Chef Week punctuation.

Friday and Saturday, 10/21-10/22: Both Friday and Saturday at Kayne Prime can be summed in two simple words: Filet + Fashion. Our servers, bartenders, and managers wore one-of-a-kind blazers and vests custom created and tailored by Swedish fashion designer Denise Roxenstone. Each clothing item possessed its very own unique panache. Stripes, tassels, camouflage and everything in between, these wearable works of art provided Tennessee's top steakhouse a florescent flair that shined bright in the sultry light of the vivid night. Executive Chef Robert Grace's style could not be contained by kitchen walls as his fall dishes made a silent splash on guests' plates and ultimately their palates, too. The Duck Confit Bahn Mi buns popped with an unexpected (Asian) flair and his Venison Rack was as smooth as butter. Pastry Chef Nasera showcased her very own masterpiece, the Autumn Spice Cake. Biting into this sweet treat, we could not help but feel fall flavors as they tickled each and every one of our taste buds.

The very first Chef Week on M Street has now come to a close. The debut class of Artist Alliance talent has put down their brushes, needles, and culinary tools, if only momentarily. In just a few short months, as spring returns amidst a season of fresh flavor, M Street will once again delight its loyal fans and first-time guests alike. We will be ready and waiting, impatiently, for you to join. See you there.

 

 

Mix It Up: The M Street Mixer (Mixology & Appetizer Competition)

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius.

This past weekend employees from M Street’s six concepts gathered together to share their creativity at the M Street Mixer Competition. With weeks of experimentation and preparation, each restaurant's team delivered incredible appetizers and cocktails that wowed the crowd of over 300 attendees.

Each concept assembled two teams, a chef team and a bartender team. In a “chopped”-inspired challenge, the chef teams were tasked with creating two appetizers, one using pork loin and the other using tofu. The bartender teams were challenged to think outside the box to craft two drinks, one with Mezcal and the other with a liquor of their choice.

Virago’s Chef Chloe and Chef Andrew took inspiration from Middle-Eastern cuisine to invent their "Persian Grilled Pork Loin with Cucumber Labna", which won the “Best Pork Loin Appetizer" category. For their tofu dish, the pair settled for something on the sweet side, offering the "Whipped Tofu with Yuzu and Blackberry in a Lace Cookie Shell" dessert.

Four talented bartenders from Virago, Cathy, Michael, Lauren, and Catherine, joined forces to mix two deliciously innovative cocktails. The "Toasted Tulip" was a Mezcal, yuzu, blueberry, and sage concoction, while the "Rhubarbara Ann" was a lavender, grapefruit, and rhubarb mix.

Whiskey Kitchen’s Chef Daniel and Chef Shane offered a fresh, summer "Blackberry BBQ Pork Loin". Chef Daniel’s life as a vegan helped him craft an amazing "Bourbon Peach Tofu Cheesecake".

Levi and Kenneth, two incredibly talented and hilarious bartenders from Whiskey Kitchen, put their minds together to create both the "Siesta en Nola", a savory Mezcal cocktail, as well as the "Plum Punctual".

Moto’s Chef Luke developed perfectly flavorful "Bahn Mi Focaccia Sliders". He paired with one of Moto's managers, Tristan, to prepare the crispy and delightful "Spinach Tofu Ravioli".

Christina, a Moto bartender, mixed a refreshing Mezcal cocktail, the "Anguria Shrubbed Granita", that conveyed hints of watermelon, sage, blackberry, lime, mint, and honey. Rayce, another one of Moto's talented bar staff, took home the "Best Cocktail" prize with his "Pimm’s Revenge" concoction, a mix of Pimm's, gin, lemon, rosemary, orange, strawberry, cucumber, cilantro, ginger ale, and Moretti.

Kayne Prime’s Sous Chef Steven put a new spin on the classic French doughnut with his "BBQ Pork Loin Beignet", winning him the title of the “Crowd Favorite Appetizer”. He embraced the summertime peach craze with his tofu "Peaches and Cream" dish.

David from Kayne Prime won 2nd place for “Best in Show” with his hypnotizing "Morning Smoke" drink. Created with Mezcal, banana syrup, coffee, and egg whites, this cocktail provided a flavorful kick. Kayne's bartenders Ben and Brian also crafted the "18th Century Dandy" cocktail with refreshing ingredients of honeydew and lime.

Tavern’s Sous Chef Michael prepared a perfectly sweet and savory "Braised Pork Loin with Watermelon Salad" as well as "Grilled Tofu Spring Rolls with Smoked Honey Sriracha". The spring rolls took the cake for “Best Tofu Appetizer” and 3rd place for “Best in Show”.

Lacey and Wes from Tavern joined forces to craft two memorable cocktails. The first, "Fire and Ice", won both “Best Mezcal Cocktail” and “Best in Show.” This grand-prize-winning cocktail was a mix of spicy Mezcal and refreshing mango puree. Their second cocktail, "The Carpenter", embodied hints of earl grey and black walnut.

Chef Travis from Saint Anejo embraced the Mezcal trend with his "Ancho Rub Mezcal Braised Pork Loin". He drew influence from Saint’s famously delicious tacos with his "Grilled Tofu Taco".

With faces adorned in sugar skull make-up, Linnea, Monica, Nikki, and Calum represented Saint Anejo while serving the blood orange and sweet vermouth infused "Hielo Humado". Linnea was awarded with the “Crowd Favorite Cocktail” prize for her "Blue Night" creation, a blueberry-themed cocktail.

The M Street family's bond always shines brightly through at events like this. From motivating each other to create unique cocktails and inspired dishes to congratulating one another on their awards, there was an undeniable air of gratitude and happiness at The M Street Mixer Competition this year.

Down the Rabbit Hole We Go...

"Look after the senses and the sounds will look after themselves." - Lewis Carroll

We became entangled in a mystical trance as we walked through the doors of Citizen. Melting clocks adorning the front walkway perfectly symbolized our perception of time melting away as we ventured further into the underground world of psychedelic sophistication. Larger-than-life playing cards and red roses dangled from the sky, welcoming us into the party.

We found ourselves drawn to the bar where a sea of glowing teacups were floating. Bottles that said “drink me” pulled us in closer. Dressed in black, the bartenders appeared as shadows working in the moonlight. One asked if we would like an absinthe shot, and without hesitation we nodded, retrieving a token and directions toward the emerald green glow of the specialty absinthe bar.

Finding our way to the source of the glow, a woman with golden hair smiled as we handed her the tokens. She mixed up an absinthe concoction in a beautiful crystal jar and poured two small flutes. As we imbibed the absinthe shot, we became mesmerized by the vines of flashing blue lights descending from the ceiling. The music caught our attention, and we made our way to the dance floor.

DJ KDSML’s mix vibrated through our bodies as we danced next to oversized red roses. Dancers dressed as Alice and the Mad Hatter surrounded the dance floor, elevating the mood.

We tucked away into a dark, intimate booth lit up with glowing red roses. As we viewed the party in front of us, we could not help but smile and fall deeper into a wonder-like daze.

As the night evolved, the line between reality and the world we had stumbled upon faded. Familiar smiles of close friends danced in and out of focus as the beats carried on into the night. Passing the sea of floating teacups and the wall of clocks, we said farewell to Alice and emerged from the rabbit hole into the night. A swift gust of humid summer air filled our lungs as if to awaken us from a dream. Groups of party-goers mingled under the glow of the streetlights waiting for their rides, each telling a similar tale of their entrancing experience.

Behind the Scenes on The Block

The Glencliff High School students walked into Moto’s kitchen at 9:30 AM Wednesday morning bright eyed and full of wonder. Sporting their personalized M Street chef coats and hats, the students greeted Moto’s Chef Luke and Chef Marisa to begin their day of culinary education. These three students are part of the ProStart Culinary program, which gives high school students the opportunity to learn about cooking through first-hand restaurant instruction. They also happen to be the reigning regional ProStart culinary champions for the state of Tennessee.    

After learning a little bit about pasta making in Moto’s kitchen, the students participated in a “Chopped” challenge. They had to create their own version of Moto’s Spinach Pappardelle. Whosever’s pasta was chosen by the judges (Chef Marisa, Chef Luke, and Eric, Director of Operations) would have their dish featured as a special that night on Moto’s menu. As the students began crafting their pastas, Chef Marisa taught them how to flambé. Throughout the challenge, Chef Marisa motivated the students to push their creative boundaries, imparting phrases like “be confident in your cooking.”

The students put their finishing touches on their pasta dishes and the judges took their seats in Moto’s dining room. Eric, the Director of Operations, explained how tastings work at the M Street restaurants when chefs want to add new items to the menu. The judges encouraged the students to illustrate the flavors and ingredients in their meals when they presented their pasta. It was a tough decision, but the judges selected the winning pasta.

The students sure worked up an appetite after an eventful morning in Moto’s kitchen. Eric and Gregg, M Street Directors of Operations, took the three students to Saint Anejo for lunch. The chips and guacamole appetizer sure hit the spot.

 Once the students were stuffed full of Saint Anejo chips, dips, tacos, and more, they made their way over to Kayne Prime’s kitchen to learn from Chef Robert Grace. “Has anyone heard of Kobe beef?” Chef asked as the students gathered round the kitchen. Chef pulled out a piece of paper from a laminated pouch and held it up facing the students. He explained that each time Kayne Prime receives Kobe beef, they are presented with a certificate with information about the cow including a stamp of his nose and lineage up to his great grandparents.

Chef directed the students over to a hot water bath with floating ping pong balls on top. The students were filled with curiosity and excitement as Chef began to explain the method of Sous Vide. He went through each step of the Sous Vide process, explaining that it is a French cooking technique that cooks meat evenly.

Perhaps the best part of the day was when the students got to make cotton candy. Used for Kayne Prime's Housemade Bacon appetizer, each student swirled their stick around the cotton candy machine in excitement.

The energy from the ProStart high school students was contagious. They were so eager to learn from M Street's chefs and were so grateful to be in our kitchens. After all, they will be the next generation of innovative chefs!

"SOAR"ing Over Nashville

When we first arrived at SOAR, butterflies fluttered in our stomachs.  A four level tower, reaching heights of 45 feet stood before us. Just like a little kid walking into Disneyland for the first time, we were filled with curiosity, excitement, and just enough fear!

 4 levels and over 110 climbing elements!

4 levels and over 110 climbing elements!

 

Each year, the M Street employees participate in a fun, team-oriented activity. We began this year's outing with a team building exercise. The team was given four wooden planks. All of the M Street team members needed to use the planks to get from one side of the platform to the other without touching the ground. Needless to say, this task was quite difficult! With a little bit of teamwork and strategy, we successfully completed the challenge.

 The first activity was a great way to start the  SOAR  adventure!

The first activity was a great way to start the SOAR adventure!

 

After double-checking we were strapped snugly into our harnesses, we marched forward together to start the first set of activities on the SOAR tower. We began with a pretty simple task of swinging across wooden boards. Then, it got a bit more challenging with floating whiskey barrels.

 There was constant cheering from our fellow colleagues!

There was constant cheering from our fellow colleagues!

The challenges got more exciting as we went on. We road a bicycle in the sky! With a scream of excitement and some reassurance from the M Street employees, we completed the bicycle challenge.

 Don't look down!

Don't look down!

One of the highlights of the day was watching each other attempt the surfboard challenge. After a few attempts and constant M Street-style encouragement, we were able to achieve the seemingly impossible!

 Look everyone! No hands!

Look everyone! No hands!

 

Those of us with extreme balance and precision tried the tight-rope challenge. We all clenched our teeth as we watched our friends walk the line.

 Hold on tight!

Hold on tight!

Each time one of us completed a course, we grabbed a flag. At the end of the day, we put all of our flags together. It was so neat to see how each individual’s hard work came together to create something meaningful.

 What a great M Street employee outing!

What a great M Street employee outing!

The employee outing brought us all together to boost M Street morale and leadership. Whether we are in the kitchen, the office, or one of our restaurants, we will use the lessons from this adventurous day to guide us toward innovation and teamwork.

Art Goes Alternative 2: Puppy Kisses and Colorful Art

As we strolled through The Rosewall, our eyes were captivated by imaginative artwork. Customized skate decks and creative canvases adorned the walls. Positioned in the middle of the room were 9 artfully crafted dog sculptures.

The Rosewall was filled with laughter, dog kisses, and creativity.  M Street Entertainment Group held their second installment of Art Goes Alternative this past Sunday at The Rosewall, featuring personalized skate decks and dog sculptures. Furry friends and their owners gathered together to benefit animal welfare. We're here to give you a recap of Sunday's dog-loving event.

 Dog lovers united on Sunday for  Art Goes Alternative , benefiting the  Tiny But Mighty Fund .

Dog lovers united on Sunday for Art Goes Alternative, benefiting the Tiny But Mighty Fund.

 

Jenna Scott’s acoustic sounds echoed through the room as we meandered around The Rosewall. The scope of the musical talent was present throughout the day. Unique music ignited The Rosewall as each artist took the stage.

 Here's the lineup from the event!

Here's the lineup from the event!

Out of the corner of our eye, we spotted someone drinking a bloody mary and immediately made a B-line toward the bar. We ordered the "make your own bloody mary" featuring Tito's Vodka, and added bacon to our drinks.