Spring is here, and with that warmer weather comes a promising new crop of restaurants. So put on your stretchy pants, and check out our guide to see what's headed your way. And as always, Eater is obsessively tracking the progression of all the premiers, so check back often for updates.
Embers Ski Lodge
Location: 12 South; 2410 12th Avenue South; website.
Key Players: Lars Kopperud, Michael Dolan, Brett Corrieri, Matt Buttel, Gary Hayward
Projected Opening: Mid-April
The long delayed new project from Mafiaoza's owners Lars Kopperud and Michael Dolan appears to finally be on the home stretch. A neighborhood cocktail bar with a ski lodge motif, the project promises to be interesting, with a small plates menu inspired by Kopperud's time spent growing up in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, a two-story patio and a cocktail program crafted by Gary Hayward, Nashville resident and Bombay Sapphire U.S. Brand Ambassador.
5th and Taylor
Location: Germantown; 1411 5th Avenue North; website.
Key Players: Daniel Lindley, Andy Hayes, Rachel De Jong
Projected Opening: Mid-April
This is one of the season's heavy hitters. Chattanooga-based chef Daniel Lindley, who previously helmed St. John's Restaurant and Meeting Place, and currently owns and operates Italian-inspired Alleia, is opening this 250-seater in the new Warehouse at Taylor Place development. The multi-James Beard Award nominated chef will be serving a "regional and seasonally focused American menu," with help from chef de cuisine Andy Hayes, previously the executive chef at M Street's Moto, and pastry chef Rachel De Jong, formerly the head pastry chef at The Inn at Little Washington.
Fifty First Kitchen and Bar
Location: The Nations; 5104 Illinois Avenue; website.
Key Players: Tony Galzin, Caroline Galzin, Christy Shuff
Projected Opening: April
Marking what could be a major turning point for dining in the up-and-coming Nations neighborhood, Fifty First Kitchen and Bar is the culmination of a longtime dream for husband and wife team Tony and Caroline Galzin. Veterans of the Chicago restaurant scene and founders of local pop-up Sycamore Nashville, Tony mans the kitchen, offering what he describes as a "seasonally influenced chef driven menu with technique rooted in rustic Italian." Caroline runs the front of house and beverage program, which will feature an Old World-focused wine list and house-made aperitifs and digestifs. And with Rumours Wine Bar founder Christy Shuff as a partner, they look to have a strong team in place.
Location: Midtown; 1922 Adelicia Street.
Key Players: Max Goldberg, Ben Goldberg, Rene De Leon, Matt Tocco
Projected Opening: Early summer
Strategic Hospitality's Goldberg brothers seem to have the Midas touch, and anticipation for this one started to build as soon as it was announced. Taking over the lone retail space in the ground floor of Midtown's Adelicia condo tower, this French restaurant will be helmed by Rene De Leon, a veteran of top shelf Chicago restaurants Alinea and Next. Expect classic French dishes and dishes that mirror the current trends in France's kitchen, along with a high-end raw bar. The downstairs will house The Bar at Le Sel, featuring cocktails from beverage director Matt Tocco and its own separate menu.
Location: Germantown; 1120 4th Avenue North.
Key Players: Fresh Hospitality, Donald Link, Levon Wallace
Projected Opening: August
The former John O. Hill property is now in the hands of the exponentially growing Fresh Hospitality group, and being turned into a multi-tenant restaurant 'market.' Slated concepts include Birmingham's Little Donkey, Atlanta's Octane Coffee, locally owned Juice Bar and an outpost of James Beard award-winning chef Donald Link's Cochon Butcher, with former Proof on Main executive chef Levon Wallace running the kitchen.
Unnamed Deb Paquette Project
Location: Sylvan Park; 132 46th Avenue North.
Key Players: Deb Paquette, Doug Hogrefe
Projected Opening: Summer
It's been almost four months since the announcement was made about longtime Nashville chef Deb Paquette's new Sylvan Park project, and no new details have come to light yet. What is known is that she is again teaming up with her Etch partners, and that the as-yet-unnamed restaurant will be dinner only with 100 seats and a relaxed menu.
Also tracking for the spring/summer: The Family Wash (East Nashville), Avo (Midtown), Jack Brown's Beer and Burger Joint (Germantown), Yeah! Burger (Midtown), Stout Burgers and Beers (Brentwood)
Looking more like fall: Butcher and Bee (East Nashville), Otaku Ramen (The Gulch), Barista Parlor (Germantown)
Even further out: Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse (Downtown)