I really wanted to go hear the symphony perform Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man. I love the Emerson Lake and Palmer version of FftCM, and it would be awesome to hear a real orchestra perform the piece. We were lucky enough to get complimentary 3rd row center on the orchestra level so we could really hear each instrument as they were intended to be heard.
To make a real evening of it, we decided to dine at Midtown Cafe, leave our car in their parking lot, and take the Midtown complimentary shuttle to the Symphony. How this works is, call Midtown Cafe, reserve a spot on the shuttle, and then request the perfect time for dinner in the restaurant that would insure the spot on the shuttle. Complimentary shuttle service is not available unless you specifically make a phone reservation to reserve a spot on the shuttle. There are many diners that do this on a regular basis. I believe most of the people we were no the shuttle with were old regulars, and they must have season tix to the Symphony. Using this shuttle was great, we did not have to worry about driving in downtown traffic, finding a parking space, paying an arm and a leg for downtown parking, and hoofing it over to the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, and for me, I am not loving the hoofing in heels. The shuttle is awesome, the shuttle lets us off and picks us up right at the front door! The Midtown Cafe shuttle is really a nice perk.
For dinner, I opted for the duck. I think for all the times I have gone to Midtown, I get whatever version of duck there is. Every single time I get the duck du jour, I am always delighted. This visit, the duck dish was a duck breast with a red wine glaze, hericot verts, and some potato maybe. They were kind enough to substitute a rice pilaf for me instead of the potato. Duck is usually on the daily menu where you could build a 2 or 3-course meal for a discounted price. There are appetizer choices, entree choices and dessert choices for a fixed 2 or 3- course price. On the day we went, I opted for a 2-course special which was $27+ tax and tip, where if I purchased courses separately, it would have been about $42+ tax and tip. On top of my special 2-course meal saving me money on the list price, I also used a discounted gift card I purchased over the holidays, that saved me 33%, so in essence, I saved an additional $9 on my $27 meal, so I really paid $21 +tax and tip. That is a really good deal!
What a great evening, for me. For the cost of $21+tax and tip, I got to go to hear the Nashville Symphony Orchestra perform Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man with complimentary tix, sit in the 3rd row center and see and really hear the Orchestra, get complimentary door to door shuttle service back and forth from Midtown Cafe to the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, no extra payment for downtown parking, and a rocking delicious 2-course meal with really great service from the wait staff and bar staff at Midtown Cafe. I felt like I got a million dollar evening, for just a little over $2o + tax and tip. Ms. Cheap, how did I do?!
For how the economy has been going for us, and recent hail damage to our house and cars, we really need to watch our budgeting, and it is not a reality for us to pay full price for dinner and the Symphony, and definitely not on a regular basis. But, Randy Rayburn, owner of Midtown Cafe and Sunset Grill, has made it possible for us to experience a luxurious evening without breaking our budget. Every year around the winter holidays for the past few years Randy Rayburn has offered up discount giftcards to be used anytime, starting one day after purchase, and the giftcards may be used at either Midtown Cafe or Sunset Grill. Recently, he ran AN AWESOME deal, get 50% off giftcards, so $10 gets you $20 giftcard, or you can eat for 1/2 price. What a deal. Thank you Randy and all your staff at Midtown and Sunset Grill.
My stay-cheap advice is, keep an eye out on the Midtown Cafe website, and look for discounts on giftcards for the restaurant and stock up. The food is always good at Midtown Cafe and Sunset Grill, and the giftcards never good bad. That is a good combo.