When I was a kid, I loved “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” Watching Gene Wilder lead the wide-eyed children from one fantastical candy creation to the next was simply magical. From everlasting gobstoppers to a chocolate river, this dream world was bursting with sheer imagination and sugar-coated delight.
Did you know there’s a real-life Chocolate Factory just outside of Nashville? Okay. Maybe there’s not a river of chocolate and crooning Oompa Loompas, but this place has all the magic, wonder, and sweet genius that made the movie’s candyland so fantastic.
At Sugar Drop - a cake, party and sweet shop in Brentwood - Brooke O’Dell has brought to life a wondrous world, full of imaginative treats that are creative, whimsical, and just plain fun. I wanted to learn more, so I sat down with Brooke to find out where all that sweet inspiration comes from!
Owner (aka The Sweet Genius Behind Sugar Drop’s Delightful Creations)
Proudest Sugar Drop Moment: Our grand reopening was all I hoped; confetti flying, a finished kitchen, a case full of our goodies, a store full of good friends, who could ask for more?
Favorite Sugar Drop Sweet: Lemon bars, made with Grandma Anderson’s recipe!
If Sugar Drop treats were a song, they’d be: Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer.
Favorite Local Hangouts: We love strolling through downtown Franklin. 12th South is a favorite area. Burritos from Baja Burrito. Burgers from Browns. Pancakes from the Pantry.
Signature Sugar Drop Sweets!
Brookie Bites- Rich chocolate cake piled high with chocolate chip cookie dough, vanilla buttercream frosting, and heaps of sprinkles
Swoozie Doozie Cookies- Melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chip cookies, filled with dreamy buttercream frosting, rolled in sprinkles galore!
Birthday Party Popcorn- White-chocolate covered popcorn, with a hint of funfetti and showers of sprinkles
A Sweet Dream
Me: What sparked the idea for running your own real-world candyland? Did you always dream of doing this?
Brooke: I always dreamed of my own space but for years dreamed of a small cafe selling food reminiscent to my childhood that would be called The Yellow Rose Cafe. But, God had a different plan and selling sugar in various forms may be the most natural fit.
Me: The Yellow Rose Cafe sounds amazing. I do feel like Sugar Drop captures that same specialness and heart, though. Who brings all that heart to the Sugar Drop team?
Brooke: My husband, whom I refer to as Mr. Sugar Drop, and I purchased the business with a dear friend. We have a baker and a few other team members who help with the day-to-day.
There’s no place like home...
Me: Why Nashville? What drew you here?
Brooke: I’ve been in Nashville since the day I graduated college and it is now home. I’m a Texas gal who married a Yankee and we are raising two southern boys. It’s home. I moved a lot growing up but knew I wanted to plant deep roots for my family. This is our community, our family in every sense of the word. They are who I share my home with and who I wanted to share this dream with.
This is our community, our family in every sense of the word.
Me: How do your sweet creations capture the heart of this special place?
Brooke: Nashville is a fun and Southern city on the verge of having a big city feel with all of the growth and high-end restaurants. Our menu features southern classics like our version of a caramel cake and strawberry but with our spin. We cook the way grandma did with lots of butter and a lot of love, using our eyes to measure ingredients and nose as a thermometer for when cakes are ready. We have a simple, yet delicious menu. Our gluten-free cake is a bit of heaven and great for those with gluten sensitivity. Our cookies are the best, hands down. We don’t do boring, on flavor or look and I think that’s true to Nashville in every way.
Me: I love how you’re both inspired by and give back to the community. Can you tell me more about Sugar Drop’s support of local projects and other charities?
Brooke: We work with the Living Water Organization and have donated and supported over a dozen local organizations. We love working with the local schools and community.
With Sprinkles On Top...
Me: What really sets Sugar Drop apart?
Brooke: We are unique and one of a kind in every way.
Me: I agree wholeheartedly with that! Every time I come in, there’s a new sweet creation case that’s calling my name! How do you keep the ideas coming? What’s your creative process?
Brooke: I’m always getting inspiration from bakers I love around the world. Many I can’t travel to experience and taste on my own, so I have to imagine. Our items are the same. I want it to be visually appealing but taste as you imagine. Whether it’s salty and sweet, crunchy and creamy, tart and sweet....we want the balance of full flavor.
Me: Well, I always feel inspired by your signature creations! What’s your favorite in Sugar Drop creation?
Brooke: Our Lemon Bars, they are my husband's great grandmothers recipe, Grandma Anderson, who passed before he was ever able to meet. I hope to hug her neck one day. I love having this piece of the family represented.
Me: What do you want people to feel when they try Sugar Drop sweets for the first time? Joy, nostalgia...
Brooke: All the things. We’ve been told our buttercream tastes the way it should, not too sweet, perfectly fluffy, the way grandma would make it. There’s no higher compliment.