Lisa Donovan and the Buttermilk Road Team

Lisa Donovan conceived of Buttermilk Road Sunday Suppers as a way to bring people from all over Nashville to a small, intimate family dinner once a month in random locations all over our city. Over the span of the last three years, we’ve popped up at Barista Parlor, Catbird Seat, Arnold’s, Crema Coffee, The404Kitchen and private homes throughout our city. We’ve had guest chefs in the form of friends, family, James Beard award winning actual chefs, models, writers, film producers, musicians and songwriters. Making food with people we love for people we love in a city we love took off and we felt like the luckiest people around.

Over time, Lisa has been busy as the pastry chef in some of the finest kitchens in the South, to include City House, Margot Café and Bar and Husk. Her deep commitment to her pastry and writing career has caused both starts and stops in the frequency of the Sunday Suppers and over time, Buttermilk Road has evolved as a way for her and her team to share Lisa’s writing, recipes, baking classes, special Sunday Supper events and as a way to feature the Bakeshop at Buttermilk Road, their online bakery.

Lisa has been featured in publications such as Food and Wine, Garden and Gun, Southern Living. Lisa has also consulted and written recipes for Sean Brock’s NYT bestselling book Heritage, Jennifer Justus’ Nashville Eats, Timothy Davis’ Hot Chicken Cookbook and Ronni Lundy’s upcoming book about Appalachian foodways. 

Food is Storytelling.

It’s no surprise that many writers find themselves drawn to the food world, either as chefs, bakers, food writers, or cookbook editors. You can discover a lot, some even think the most, about a person by learning about their food stories. Our culture as Americans, especially us Southerners, is no exception.

Buttermilk Road Sunday Suppers started out in 2012 with the notion that you could easily connect a city full of people with one idea: a family supper, all at one table, over wine, shared bowls of greens, and, of course, a biscuit or yeast roll.

When I came up with the Buttermilk Road Sunday Supper concept in 2012, it was out of a deep desire to cook for people while also exploring a community that I didn’t have the time to as a hustling writer/pastry chef/mother of two/broke ass member of the “creative class”. I wanted to still cook for people and with people. I wanted to learn more about where I had been living for years, more about the region - from Mississippi to Floyd, Virginia - that my family had roots in. I wanted to be with my kids while I learned about where I was in the present tense, where my family had been in the past, and where I was heading in the future. All of this through food? Yes.

And things grew. I grew. The Sunday Suppers were exuberant for a couple of years. People came and shared and laughed and shot whisky out of empty dessert bowls. Second line parades with full brass bands marched down the East Nashville streets. People came from San Francisco and New York to feel the feels. It was good.

And then it was time to stop. But the stories continue. The search continues. The ideas keep coming. And, now, Buttermilk Road is more about collecting and traveling and experiencing what the world, not just Nashville or the South, has to offer. I’m still so proud of my roots as a pastry chef and feel really fortunate that my hard work and dedication to that craft still keeps me moving around, baking for and with some of the finest chefs and friends in this country. I find stories every day in my travels. Buttermilk Road is where I can share that. Here is where those stories will live.”