by Sean Maloney
Episode 8: Ephesus Bakery and Cafe
Address: 3013 Nolensville Pike
Success! It took me all month but I finally made it to 3103 Nolensville Pike! Not that it's the same restaurant as it was back when I first attempted to review the joint — it used to be Bread & Butter International Cafe — but what can you do, right? Capitalism is a fickle mistress. And while I did enjoy B&B's Cuban sandwich, Ephesus is a very welcome addition to the neighborhood. I'm not even sure if I've had legit Turkish food before, and I definitely didn't know what eating at a Turkish bakery for lunch would entail, but I think I might have had the best lunch since I've started writing this. The competition is almost Olympian in nature, but I'm pretty sure it was among the best.
Ephesus is a small family operation, complete with a toddler in one of those rolling dinner-tray things they put small children in, with a low-key homey vibe. It's clean with a simple layout and a dearth of extraneous decorations or distractions. The menu is really simple: four options for breakfast, four options for lunch, a few choices for bread to go, and all priced between $2.99 and $7.99. And cookies. Really tasty walnut cookies that crumble when you put your teeth into em and make a mess on your shirt while you're driving back home. (Or maybe that was just me.)
I ordered the ground lamb pide, having never heard of a pide. But having a bizarre, nearly all-consuming love of lamb, I figured I couldn't go wrong. And I didn't! A pide, I was happy to learn, is basically the Turkish median between a sandwich and a pizza. A pizza crust filled with lamb! I am ashamed of myself for not knowing that pide was a thing, because anything that can balance my love for Mediterranean flavors and, um, pizza will definitely cut down the amount of time I spend being indecisive come lunch o'clock. Discovering the existence of the pide is a revelation of epic proportions here in Maloney town.
And in the sake of research, I picked up a couple of simit — which they bill as Turkish bagels — and while they aren't as sandwich-ready as a bagel, they do satisfy my sesame seed jones. I've been on a serious sesame seed kick as of late. Also, simit look really cool — it's a ring of bread fer crying out loud, how can you not love that? Honestly, the only thing I think that Ephesus Bakery and Cafe seem to be missing are customers — I was in there at noon and had the place to myself, which is sort of a shame. Then again they've only been open for three weeks and the pide has the potential to bring folks out.