With Nashville’s hospitality industry mightily struggling from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, tornadoes and a downtown bombing on Christmas Day, the restaurant industry will be looking for hopeful signs of a turnaround in 2021.
Although takeout and delivery options have increased significantly, too many restaurants to count closed at least partially in 2020 and most continue to have shortened hours and much-smaller capacities because of citywide regulations and the lack of customers and trained staff. Expect this to continue in the coming year.
High-profile restaurants that permanently closed in 2020 included
Downtown’s The Green Pheasant, Demo’s, Sea Salt and Music City Chicken Company, Midtown’s Union Common and Cafe Coco, East Nashville’s Marche Artisan Foods, Rudie’s Seafood and Sausage, Bar Otaku, City Fire and ZolliCoffee in The Gulch, Las Paletas in 12 South, The Garden Brunch Cafe in North Nashville, Bellevue’s Antonio’s and Chaffin’s Barn Dinner Theater, Dairy King Mewsic Kitty Cafe in South Nashville, Shalimar Fine Asian Cuisine and Tokyo Japanese Steakhouse in Green Hills, Aladdin’s Hookah Lounge and Bar in Hillsboro Village, Nama Sushi in Nashville and Brentwood, Opryland Hotel-area Sukho Thai, Freebirds in Green Hills and Murfreesboro, Vittles and Murff’s Craft Brew and Burgers in Brentwood, Metro Diner in Madison, Charcoal Cowboys BBQ in Lenox Village, and Molinari’s Italian Restaurant in Cool Springs.
Happier news was the early December reopening of Gerst, which had its historic front wall demolished in the March tornadoes. Silo, which also experienced tornado damage, closed permanently.
The most high-profile restaurant opening of early 2021 is actually a reopening with the planned Spring debut of the greatly expanded Elliston Place Soda Shop, located next door to the original location in Midtown.
The venerable meat-and-three sandwich shop and diner features the planning and hard work of owner/noted downtown real estate developer Tony Giarratana, consultant and veteran restaurateur Randy Rayburn (Midtown Cafe, Cabana), and former entertainment journalist Jim Myers as front of house. Longtime general manager Linda Shelton/pie cook extraordinaire and staffer Leonard Jones are holdovers.
Certainly the largest collection of restaurants will be unveiled in the Assembly Food Hall of the forthcoming Fifth + Broadway development in the former Nashville Convention Center site in downtown Nashville.
Restaurants already announced for the space include:
- Coco’s Italian Market and Restaurant
- Desano Pizzeria
- Donut Distillery
- Hattie Jane’s Creamery
- Horu Sushi Kitchen
- The Liege Waffle Co.
- No Baked Cookie Dough
- Oke Poke
- The Pharmacy Burger
- Prince’s Hot Chicken
- Smokin Chikin
- Steam Boys
- Thai Esane
Other new and anticipated area restaurant openings include:
Bad Axe Throwing Nashville. 648 Fogg Street in SoBro. The first local location of the Canadian chain of restaurant and bars featuring ax-throwing, with a live music stage and outdoor patio. JANUARY
Caffe Artisan. Willamson Square inside The Painted Tree Marketplace, Franklin. NOW OPEN
Chrysalis Modern Italian. 9040 Carothers Parkway in Cool Springs, Franklin. Italian restaurant. NOW OPEN
Corner Pub Cool Springs. 9200 Carothers Parkway in Franklin The latest branch of the local sports bar and burger chain. NOW OPEN
Culaccino. Italian restaurant and bar from executive chef and owner Frank Pullara, 104 E. Main St. in Franklin. NOW OPEN
The River House. A steak and seafood concept in Downtown Nashville from the owners of West End Avenue favorite BrickTop’s, 313 Demonbreun St. in SoBro. NOW OPEN
Thai Esane Brentwood. Latest branch of owner Nina Singto’s lauded restaurants, at the new Hill Center Brentwood development at 203 Franklin Road, Suite 100. JANUARY
Perry’s Steakhouse. The latest branch of the steakhouse chain, 5028 Aspen Grove Drive at McEwen Northside in Franklin. FEBRUARY
Vintage Wine 100. Wine bar in McEwen Northside in Franklin. TBD
Hattie Jane’s. First Franklin location for the local ice cream chain. SPRING
Shake Shack in Franklin. The latest local location of the popular upscale burger chain. TBD
North Italia in Franklin. The latest local location of the Italian restaurant chain. TBD
Pepperfire Hot Chicken. Relocating to Marathon Village from Union Station. TBD
E, G & Mac. Restaurant and cocktail bar in the former Garden Brunch Cafe at 924 Jefferson Street in North Nashville from Slim & Husky’s Pizza Beeria co-owners Clint Gray, Derrick “Mo” Moore and E.J. Reed with Gemaal Pratts (Apertif). EARLY 2021
Waldo’s Chicken. 1301 Liberty Pike. The latest location of the Fresh Hospitality fried chicken chain. EARLY 2021
Hugh Baby’s BBQ & Burger Shop. 7238 Nolensville Road in Nolensville. Barbecue and burger mogul Pat Martin’s next opening. SPRING
Audrey, Red Bird. James Beard Award-winning chef Sean Brock’s long-awaited Appalachian-focused restaurants at 809 Meridian Street in East Nashville. TBD
Le Loup. Star Rover Sound in Germantown. The latest batch of restaurants from prolific chef-restaurateur Ford Fry (The Optimist, Superica Gulch). Le Loup is a vintage cocktail bar/roasted oysters and apps concept located upstairs from The Optimist. Star Rover Sound, located on the first floor behind The Optimist, is a honky-tonk featuring high-quality food and and cocktails. TBD
Rock’N Dough Pizza and Brewery. 1105 51st Ave. N in The Nations. A branch of the Jackson, Tennessee-based concept in the former home of The Original Corner Pub. TBD
Smokin Thighs. 4400 Charlotte Ave. in West Nashville. A second branch of the popular WeHo barbecued chicken spot. APRIL
Copper Branch. 601 Church St. Nashville location of a Montreal-based vegan restaurant chain in the former home of Provence Breads & Cafe adjoining the Metro Nashville Library’s Dowtown branch. TBD
Big Bad Breakfast, Franklin. The latest location of Fresh Hospitality’s popular breakfast spot. TBD
Rock of Ages/The Bourbon Room. Theater and restaurant/bar near Downtown Nashville. TBD