Brian Riggenbach & Mikey Corona Owners The Mockingbird Nashville, Tennessee

by Our Editors

He gets most recipes from his 97-year old grandmother, Toots, who was here last weekend!

Jason Heidemann

Has the restaurant found a gay following?
BR: Oh, yeah. Brunch looks like a tea party here.
MC: The LGBT community has been supporters of us from the get-go. It was great to see the amount of community that has been here and continued to support us over the past couple months and even in the month leading up to our opening. We’ve made sure to be a presence in the community as well. We’ve joined the LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and we take part in LGBT fundraisers that happen throughout the Nashville area to make sure we show our support.

The Mockingbird Table

In what ways does The Mockingbird differ from other Nashville restaurants?
MC: One is in that we’re pulling together a lot of different ethnic flavors under one roof. Typically, in Nashville, you’ll have a restaurant that focuses on one type of cuisine whether it’s a Mexican restaurant or an Italian restaurant. Here at The Mockingbird, we’re able to mimic cuisine from other countries and hopefully give our diners an experience that is unique from the other restaurants.
BR: We also offer levity. There’s a certain amount of fun and whimsy in the décor and menu. We have the chicken fried chicken in a burger, but we also have a really refined crudo, and then we have milkshakes so it’s kind of like having your cake and eating it too.
MC: You can come in here dressed in shorts and a T-shirt and be as comfortable as if you’d arrived in a tuxedo or a prom dress. It’s whatever experience you want to have at this restaurant I think you could have. You can kind of curate yourself based on what we offer.

You describe the menu as comfort food. Why did you decide to go in that direction?
BR: The elevator pitch is that we’re a modern diner with a global twist on comfort food. We wanted to open a restaurant that people could feel comfortable coming to, not as a destination or not once a month, but anytime of the week. So, if you live in the neighborhood or a couple miles away, you could come in for a burger and a beer, come in for lunch, come on a date, come in for brunch on Sunday. We wanted it to be something both in price point and variety of food that you could come back to multiple times.
MC: We wanted to add our flair for food that we had experienced on our travels, food that we had done with our underground supper that we ran in Chicago for eight years, so we incorporated a lot of those flavors into comfort dishes. You’ll see meatloaf and pot pie and burgers, but always with a slight global twist to it.

The Mockingbird Table

Yo Soy Supper Club ran for eight years in Chicago. In what ways, has it influenced The Mockingbird?
MC: In so many ways. Yo Soy is always going to be at the heart of who we are; that was our first business we started together; and we really poured all of our creative juices and passion into that project so it’s with us. One [thing] guests note right away at The Mockingbird is that all of our plates are these mismatched vintage plates that we have as our table settings, and these are all plates that we collected and utilized with our pop-up suppers at Yo Soy. Whenever I see those plates, I think about where we came from.
BR: The Mockingbird is kind of the spirit of Yo Soy. It’s all the stuff we were doing there, but just a little more focused and not quite as ever changing, and obviously in one location which is phenomenal.

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