From the beginning, Frothy Monkey built its name on community. That’s why the restaurant and coffeeshop sources all of its product and ingredients within a 100-square-mile radius, and carefully cultivates a brand that aligns more with neighborhoods than mega-malls.
And ultimately, that’s why the café chose downtown Franklin to plant a second location – even if the circa 1911 First Presbyterian Church parsonage required six months of intense renovation before they could serve the first cup of Kaldis coffee.
“Downtown Franklin and its people fit with us,” said Chase Ingalls, executive chef for the Frothy Monkey at Five Points. “We’ve been told by many people that when they’re here, it feels like home. They can stay here for hours and feel no pressure. We’d prefer that you sit down and stay a while.”
The more-than-just-a coffeeshop opened its two-story space in the first week of January 2013, and brought an expansive dinner menu with it. Alongside its fancy espresso art and gluten-free goodies, Frothy Monkey offers three meals seven days a week – and beverages include beer and wine, too.
Ingalls said that while the Franklin location was designed to place a greater emphasis on food, the kitchen will continue to produce food using sustainable and local ingredients.
“When you hear Frothy Monkey, you may think coffee. That’s a big part of what we do, but we’re so much more than that, especially at this location,” Ingalls said. “My motto is don’t fix what’s not broken, and everyone loves the 12th South breakfast and lunch menus. We only made a couple tweaks there, but 100 percent of the dinner menu – both here and in Nashville – is my creation.”
Because the menu is a seasonal one, the restaurant is currently offering an abundance of slow-cooked meats – including a Bear Creek brisket that’s simmered for 14 hours before its served and a Gunthorp Farms roasted half chicken paired with sweet potato dumplings – but he said the fare will lighten up considerably in the coming weeks.
Ingalls said that his culinary philosophy coordinates well with Frothy Monkey’s.
“There are so many different styles of cooking, but I keep it simple. I prefer to let the ingredients speak and allow me to be the conduit for getting it to the customer,” he said. “My take is that when you have high-quality product, you do less to it. Bad product requires more work.”
The chef, a seven-plus year veteran of the Nashville restaurant Cabana, left the much-larger establishment to pursue his passion for high-quality ingredients and dishes that can only accompany a smaller audience.
“When you are dealing with a lot of people, it hinders the use of hyper-local. By making this move I was able to incorporate a lot more of that,” he said. “We use Hatcher Dairy Farms, we use Bob White Springs, we use Al Fresco Pasta. One thing that separates us from other people is the amount of local product that we use, because that’s in our mission.”
“We go through roughly 90 dozen eggs per location each week. Our egg purveyor had to open up his own business, just to provide what we needed. We’re proud of that, because that’s one way that Frothy has had a direct effect on the local economy.”
Frothy Monkey in Franklin is open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. For more information about Frothy Monkey, visit its website at www.frothymonkey.com.
This is part of a series on merchants in Downtown Franklin that runs in the Williamson Herald each Thursday.