Nearly two decades ago, Phillip and Allison Brooks founded Calypso Café, crafting a menu of sweet and savory dishes inspired by their frequent visits to the Caribbean. Ever since, it’s been a Nashville favorite, and with good reason.
The Calypso Café menu features a variety of inexpensive entrees, sides and snacks with a Jamaican flair. While you could already classify most of the choices as healthy, there are also vegetarian and vegan-friendly options available.
Chicken, beans, rice, corn and spices are all common elements of Caribbean cooking, and you’ll find no shortage of them at Calypso Café.
Among the local favorites are the Jamaican Curried chicken, which features a mild sauce made with apples, onion and spices. Available with either white or dark meat, try pairing it up with the Bean and Corn Salad with cilantro vinaigrette and Calypso’s famous Boija Muffins, a cornbread-based muffin with toasted coconut.
If you’re looking for a fresh new twist on an old standby, try the Island Burger. Lean ground beef is seasoned with island spices and cooked on a rotisserie. On the side is a mouthwatering sweet BBQ sauce unlike anything you’ve tried before.
If you like it hot, Calypso also offers a spicy Jerk sauce to compliment their chicken dishes, or you can request it on the side with pretty much any meal.
You wouldn’t expect to step in to such a colorful, fun atmosphere and not have a kid’s menu. Calypso Café delivers here with five inexpensive options for the little ones, ranging from chicken, PB&J, nachos, and a unique spin on grilled cheese that comes in a pita pocket.
With so many healthy yet flavorful choices, there’s something for everyone at Calypso Café. The price is right, with most dishes falling between $4 and $7 for a generous portion.
Best of all, Calypso serves up meals fast, making it ideal for weekday lunch, or takeout anytime.
Food is prepared fresh daily at a central kitchen by chief chef Emily Luffman, who makes arrangements for delivery to all five Nashville-area restaurants throughout the day.
This might explain why service is so fast, and why the flavors are so consistent no matter which location you choose.
"We’re considered fast food service, with a dine-in atmosphere," says Luffman, who has been cooking professionally for 20 years.
Her favorite dish? "Try the Black Bean Salad," she says. It combines leaf lettuce, tortilla chips, and is topped with black beans, cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, and your choice of chicken, beef, or rice (Luffman is partial to the chicken).
Calypso’s central kitchen concept makes them ideal for event catering. As Luffman points out, buffet-style catering is available for 30 or more guests, with as little as 3-5 days advance notice.
Calypso Café is one of those rare restaurants that seems to do everything right: fast and friendly service, lip-smackingly good food, healthy menu choices, and surprisingly low prices.
With five convenient locations, you’re never more than a few minutes away from succulent Caribbean satisfaction.
Founders Phillip and Allison Brooks are still involved in the day-to-day management and expansion of Calypso Café. Three of the five area locations are theirs, with two being franchises.
- While locals are quick to refer to it as simply "Calypso," the official brand is Couva Calypso Café. Explains Allison Brooks, "Couva is a town in Trinidad, which is the birthplace of Calypso music." The couple plans to keep the Calypso Café moniker in Tennessee, with Couva Calpyso trademarked for expansion plans out of state.
Catering: 615 256-FOOD (3663)
Calypso Café – Vanderbilt
2424 Elliston Place
Nashville, TN 37203
Hours are Mon-Fri: 11 am – 9 pm; Sat/Sun: 11:30 am – 8:30 pm
Calypso Café – Belle Meade
5101 Harding Pike
Nashville, TN 37205
Hours are Mon-Sat: 11 am – 9 pm; Sun: 11:30 am – 8:30 pm
Calypso Café – Cool Springs
600 Frazier Drive
Franklin, TN 37067
Hours are Mon-Sat: 11 am – 9 pm; Sun: 11 am – 4 pm
Calypso Café – 100 Oaks
700 Thompson Lane
Nashville, TN 37204
Hours are Mon-Sat: 11 am – 9 pm; Sun: 11:30 am – 8 pm
Calypso Café – East Nashville
1101 Gartland Ave
Nashville, TN 37206
Hours are Mon-Sun: 11 am – 9 pm