By Abby Cloud | Photo: Abby Cloud
In June of this year, Paisley Cafe, a Tallahassee staple to local dining, closed its doors after many years of service to the community. While frequent customers were disappointed and the staff was left in wonder of what was to come, Jeri Madden stepped up to rectify the situation, and Jeri’s Midtown Cafe was born. On August 6, this new cafe opened its doors to the public, and The Tally Wire had the opportunity to sit down with Madden and talk about her new business.
Madden was the operator at Paisley Cafe during its last year in business. “When the previous owner had to announce its closing, I just hated to see it go,” Madden says. “The staff was one big family and I really loved everything that Paisley Cafe stood for.” Saddened by the news, Madden decided to take on the responsibility of her own food establishment. “I don’t know how to describe it, but a feeling came over me and I just knew I couldn’t see Paisley Cafe go away,” she explains. “I immediately started working on a way to revive it, while putting my own spin on the new cafe.” Her main goal remained focused on helping the former employees of Paisley Cafe, which she affectionately calls her “second family,” and those in the community.
In just a little over 2 weeks, Jeri’s new cafe had begun to take form. With the same staff, and also a couple new hires, everyone pitched in as they prepared the building for the opening of the new cafe. “All of my staff helped spruce up the garden, paint, clean, and organize,” Jeri states, noting how everyone within the cafe holds a little bit of ownership.
The walls inside the cafe are coated in layers of a bright pink paint, as well as vibrant artwork that reflects Madden’s own personality. The outside is decorated with colorful outdoor furniture and string lights. Madden encourages the community to use this area as a “hangout spot” after hours for any event. In the future, she hopes to add live music opportunities to the garden as well.
The new business owner also ensured that the new cafe was instilled with positive and uplifting values, such as love. While their motto is “Love on a Plate,” Madden emphasizes that customers and workers should be able to attribute love to every aspect of the restaurant. “What customers should expect when they walk through the door is walking into someone’s place as a guest,” Jeri explains. “They will feel the warmth and coziness of our space and staff, and be taken great care of.” Jeri’s Midtown Cafe takes the relationship with its customers very seriously and wants to deliver the absolute best hospitality possible.
As far as the new menu, Madden has taken the time to abide by their mission of “Love on a Plate.” “Everything we can make from scratch is made from scratch here in our kitchen,” she notes. “If we can’t make it homemade, we only use the highest quality ingredients. I only want to serve the best to our customers.” While they have traditional food items on the menu, Jeri’s Midtown Cafe also offers vegan and gluten-free options as well. The lunch and brunch menus offer a variety of sandwiches, salads, and soups, and it also brings back some old favorites found at Paisley Cafe.
Upon opening 2 week ago on August 6, the response from the community has been great. “I was super surprised,” Jeri recalls. “You don’t know how much love and support you have until you see it; it was really overwhelming to have this support here in Tallahassee.”
Jeri’s Midtown Cafe is open Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m, and Saturday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.