Restaurant walls become galleries for local artists
You don’t have to visit a gallery or a museum to see local art in Tallahassee. Just go out to eat — and look around. Several venues, including Sage, Kool Beanz and Uptown Cafe, showcase work by local artists.
If you stop by Square Mug Cafe in the Railroad Square Art District for a cup of coffee and a bagel, check out the work done by my friend, local artist Gail Brayman.
About Gail: She and her family left their home of Brooklyn and came to Fort Lauderdale when she was 16. She moved to Tallahassee almost nine years ago. She’s married to Conrad, also an artist and sculptor, has two children and three grandchildren.
Gail specializes in abstract art. She starts with bold colors and lets her creativity flow. Gail works in a variety of mediums — recycled boards, wood and glass windows as well as canvas.
Her work has been featured at the former Catalina Cafe on Capital Circle, Uptown Cafe and the former Cafe 21.
“I enjoy going into restaurants and cafes and seeing artwork,” said Gail. “Looking at art can put a smile on anyone’s face.”
Restaurant owners agree that working with local artists is a win-win situation for everyone.
“Coffee shops have always been a hub for local artists and writers,” said Square Mug owner Donna Elliott. “When I took over the shop, they were already featuring local art, so it was easy to continue the tradition. I’d like to think that Square Mug is a safe and welcoming space for everyone.”
It’s also a place to relax with a variety of coffee choices, delicious popsicles and lots of pastry items like muffins, brownies and cookies.
We like their bagels with several options for toppings as well as their “Eggles,” breakfast sandwiches with a fried egg. Vegan options available. Your choice of sandwich items includes artichoke hearts, mushrooms, spinach, avocado, sprouts, cucumbers, homemade hummus, Kalamata olives and choice of cheese (including feta, goat cheese, mozzarella, provolone and vegan). Pesto sauce or balsamic glaze are add-ons.
One of my favorites is an Everything bagel with spinach, mushrooms, provolone and avocado. My husband liked his bagel with goat cheese, spinach, an egg and pesto sauce.
Square Mug has boxes of food donations available to anyone free of charge. Donna is currently collecting provisions to help victims of Hurricane Ida.
Here’s her Facebook post: “Several of our customers today are here from Louisiana and will be returning to no power or will know people with no power. We can send them home with supplies. Please consider dropping off bottled water, tuna, or granola bars @squaremugcafe in @railroadsquare today or tomorrow and I’ll make sure it’s sent to Nola. I can also take electronic $$ ([email protected]) or twoelles2tees on Venmo and use the funds to purchase the items.”
Square Mug is in Railroad Square, at 567 Industrial Dr. (near Crum Box Gastgarden’s red caboose); 850-765-8356. Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.