You also both have a background in art school. Has that found its way into The Mockingbird?
MC: Of course it has. With my degree being in advertising art from Columbia College in Chicago, one of the main focuses was graphic design, so I took it upon myself to design our menu and also give it the creative titles which it has. Brian went to the Art Institute of Chicago and has a fine arts background; he designed our logo. I feel like our art backgrounds play a huge part in The Mockingbird, not only to Brian’s visually stunning plates that we send out each shift, but with his physical paintings that you can see throughout the restaurant as well.
What is each of your favorite items on the menu?
MC: The menu is ever-changing, but we have some staples that have been on it since the beginning. One of my favorites is the clay-pot chicken which we call Poultry in Motion. It’s a take on a Vietnamese dish that’s known as a caramel clay pot chicken. We make our own caramel in house using goat milk, utilizing the Mexican technique of cajeta, and then there’s soy and it just has this real umami factor to it and it’s served over a fried rice. It’s just a dish that pops with so much flavor. It also reminds me of the trip Brian and I took to San Francisco where we got engaged. It’s got sentimental connections to it.
BR: Maybe the pie we’re doing right now. It kind of embodies the philosophy of what we do where it’s a simple dish just done really well. We make it with dark chocolate crumb crust, slice bananas, and banana cream. It’s topped with a peanut butter crunchy and then with whipped cream and cajeta. It’s fabulous. I don’t even love bananas, but it’s so good.
Any memorable guest experiences worth sharing with us?
MC: One really memorable moment was when Pink came in to dine, and I tried not to lose it because I think so highly of her as an artist and her public persona and what she stands up for. I just thought it was really a pleasure to be able to welcome her to a restaurant that me and my husband are partners in. Knowing that that’s something in the realm of what she fights for was pretty cool and to say thank you to her in person and have her enjoy the food that we brought out.
You’ve talked about opening other businesses once The Mockingbird is a smooth sailing ship.
BR: There are several interesting opportunities that are out in the world, and we are closely investigating them and will see what happens.
MC: In the meantime, I have a whole book of ideas that I get from moments throughout the day and jot them down. There’s definitely a lot more to come from this crazy duo as soon as we can have this Mockingbird soar on its own. We definitely want to spread our wings and do some other things here in Nashville to make it a cooler city than it already is.