“When you walk into this place, you feel a spirit,” says Dana Wronski, director of café and hospitality at The Café at Thistle Farms in Nashville. “There's love here; it's palpable.”
Thistle Farms, a global movement for women’s freedom, has changed the course of many women’s lives, especially those who have experienced emotional and physical traumas. The Café is one avenue through which the group helps women in their program learn job skills and gain employment. It’s also a warm, welcoming gathering community space.
This year, The Café's 10th anniversary is being celebrated. “I've been here as a volunteer for over five years and in my current role for over two years,” she says. “The Café has grown exponentially and is now a really bustling, beautiful place with an outdoor patio and event space.”
Before volunteering and working in The Café, Dana was in the restaurant business for 35 years, running high-end restaurants, including ones in New York City and San Francisco. “But, I've never seen a level of hospitality like there is here,” she says. “Somebody's hand has been held out to so many of the women that work and live and are in our program, and they share that hospitality and that grace with each other. There's such a heart of gratitude and that's one of the things you really feel when you walk in.”
Diners also notice a wave of teacups hanging from the ceiling. These cups were donated by people all over the world and everyone has a story attached to it. “One is in honor of someone’s grandmother, another is from someone who lost her daughter to an overdose, and so on. There's also a candle burning for the next woman on the street.”
The aromas of coffee, pastries and other culinary delights greet patrons as they enter, and curated music is always playing. “It's just a very unique and special place, and we have some amazing food, like the turkey bacon avocado sandwich,” says Dana. “We like to add in some interesting spreads and other things to elevate our offerings. We also try to use local ingredients. We have an heirloom tomato BLT with chopped basil aioli that’s just delicious.”
The Café serves up hearty breakfasts as well, and there are also wonderful salads. “All of our dressings and all of our sauces are made from scratch,” Dana assures.
Another special offering is its high tea parties, which are done by reservation. “You get a three-tiered, beautiful display of canapes and pastries, and a choice of teas,” she says. “It's a really beautiful experience, and one of our women hosts it and tells the story of Thistle Farms.”
The event space seats up to about 90 for a stand-up celebration and about 60 for a sit-down gathering. If hosts need more space, they can rent out the entire building, including the patio.
“I think people need to come in for themselves to experience it and be part of the community,” says Dana. “They can also go into the attached Shop at Thistle Farms. It's highly curated; we make all of our own products and also have global partners, so we sell products made by women in different situations in Africa, South America, Ukraine or other places.”
In addition to eating in the café and shopping at the store or online, volunteers and donations are always needed for Thistle Farms to fulfill its mission.
615.953.6440 | Café
615.465.0563 | Events
“Somebody's hand has been held out to so many of the women that work and live and are in our program, and they share that hospitality and that grace with each other.”