Midtown Cafe & Dessertery:  The Evolution of a 35 Year Favorite

PHOTOS BY JEJ PHOTOS

In 1987, a local family-owned cafe was the ultimate hot spot for incredible homemade desserts and exceptional service.  Midtown Cafe & Dessertery founders Scott and Brenda Gerding built a loyal following through delicious cakes, pies, cookies, and other made-from-scratch baked goods. Initially located in Thruway, The Dessertery was often packed with people of all ages eager to enjoy a special treat… whether ending the evening, hanging out with friends, or just getting out of the house for a bit.    The desserts were served with a signature bold coffee, and it was the first restaurant in Winston-Salem to feature an espresso machine.

Within a few years, Midtown’s growth had proved substantial, and they moved to Stratford Village, expanding into a full-service restaurant.    The Gerdings utilized a tried and tested business model established by their family in Gatlinburg, Tennessee – “The Pancake Pantry.” Drawing on that experience, they brought the same kind of menu to Winston-Salem, offering all-day breakfast and a variety of lunch specials in addition to their classic desserts.    Over time, hours were extended, and a dinner menu was introduced.

For 35 years, Midtown Cafe & Dessertery has been the go-to meeting place during the week and a favorite destination on the weekends. Nine years ago, the Gerdings decided to bring on business partners with the plan to eventually transition ownership.    Jeff and Stephanie Cayton were invited to share in the decades-long vision. With Jeff’s 25+ years of restaurant industry experience as a restaurant supplier, he was excited to contribute to the Midtown legacy.

Since the Caytons joined the business, many changes have occurred.  The menu has expanded to include brunch-style options, and the alcohol menu has expanded to include mimosas and flavored champagne flights. In addition, the POS systems (fka the cash registers)  were updated and modernized, which proved to be instrumental in the survival of COVID.    As the to-go business exploded during that time, the restaurant was ready to adapt to meet the needs of customers who still wanted their favorite meals and desserts through Doordash delivery.

Midtown Cafe & Dessertery may be well-established after 35 years, but it is ever-evolving to meet the needs and expectations of customers.  The restaurant is noted for having the best, most well-rounded menu in the city. There is truly something for everyone, from the family dining with the kids to the friends sharing a meal…. from the business colleagues negotiating a deal to the college student working on a project.    From sweet to savory – Midtown has it all covered.

While the menu may change from time to time, the key to success is a priority placed on great food, excellent hospitality, and service.

In 2022, the Caytons, now the sole owners of Midtown, decided it was time to give the restaurant a facelift.    The dining room has been updated with new flooring, updated upholstery, and with the removal of some walls, the restaurant is more open and airy.

But the most significant change is the transformation of the Dessertery.    It is now the restaurant’s focal point – a nod to Midtown’s earliest days when the desserts were the lone focus! The fresh look showcases desserts from all angles. In addition, the framed digital menu board brings a modern touch with that classic hometown look.

In addition to the Dessertery’s transformation, Midtown is also expanding into a full-service coffee shop.  Coffee enthusiasts can choose from any number of signature coffees, espressos, or teas – whether they enjoy their beverage with a delicious dessert or grab their drink on the go!

So while the Dessertery has a new look – the biggest change of all is the big, shiny espresso machine that transforms that corner into the complete Dessert and Coffee Bar experience!

Midtown Cafe & Dessertery is centrally and conveniently located at 151 South Stratford Road in Winston-Salem. Their normal hours of operation are 7 AM – 8 PM Sunday – Thursday and 7 AM – 9 PM on Friday and Saturday. Call them at 336.724.9800, or visit them online at MidtownCafeWS.com. Stay up-to-date on special events and features by liking their Facebook page or following them on Instagram.

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