When people think of Methodical Coffee, the Greenville-based coffee roaster, most naturally think of… well, coffee.
Food is arguably not top of mind for the average person familiar with Methodical Coffee and its three local café spots, beyond the typical pastries one might expect in a coffee shop.
“There are so many concepts now as fine dining changes,” Gardner said. “I think the lines are only going to become more and more blurred.” – Perrin Gardner, chef, elevated food program, Methodical Coffee
But Perrin Gardner, the 25-year-old chef taking over the elevated food program at Methodical’s location at The Commons at 147 Welborn St., is upending those expectations by creating crowd-pleasing favorites with fine dining techniques and locally sourced ingredients.
“With the new generation of dining, I’m definitely seeing people’s expectations going up,” Gardner said. “No matter what the setting is, we can’t just serve the minimum anymore.”
Take Methodical’s breakfast sandwich, for example. At first glance, it appears unextraordinary: sausage, egg and cheese on a bun. But when deconstructed, it becomes more than the sum of its parts. The sausage patty is locally sourced from Providence Farms. The egg is a soft scramble with chives to add lightness. The cheddar is hickory smoked to imbue richness, with a hint of bacon flavor. And the fresh brioche bun is accompanied by mustard seed that has been slowly cooked and hydrated in a brine of vinegar, sugar and herbs, creating a slightly caviar-like sensation with each bite.
“It’s still a sausage, egg and cheese,” Gardner said. “But just the quality of ingredients and the care you put into it was one thing I wanted to make sure was there for that.”
Born and raised in Greenville and educated at the Culinary Institute of the Carolinas, Gardner served a stint at The Anchorage before joining on as sous chef at Methodical under chef Sydney Taylor, who introduced the café’s elevated food program two years ago.
Now that Gardner is running the show at Methodical, he said his goal is to grow the concept Taylor began by continuing the focus on quality and care in all aspects of the experience. From buttermilk pancakes made with a secret recipe that Gardner refuses to divulge, to a casual twist on a fine-dining French pave, the menu aims to defy expectations of what constitutes coffee shop food.
“There are so many concepts now as fine dining changes,” Gardner said. “I think the lines are only going to become more and more blurred.”