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UPDATED: James Beard Award-Winning Chef RJ Cooper Opening New Midtown Restaurant

Called Henley, the new modern American brasserie is coming late this spring

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Another James Beard Award-winning chef is looking to make a mark in the Nashville restaurant scene, as Henley, a new modern American brasserie, will open in late spring this year with executive chef RJ Cooper at the helm.

The restaurant and bar, its name a reference to the iconic shirt first popularized back during the early 1900s, will be part of The Aertson Hotel/Kimpton project located at 204 21st Avenue South in Midtown.

Cooper, who The Tennessean reports has kept a very low profile prior to today’s announcement, brings with him an impressive resume, having spent time early on in his career working under Guenter Seeger at The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead and Gilbert Le Coze at Brasserie Le Coze, both in Atlanta. He also worked with Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin in New York City. Finding his way to Washington, D.C., Cooper ran the kitchen at Vidalia, winning the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic in 2007. He then went out on his own as a chef/owner, running the now-shuttered D.C.-area restaurants Rogue24 and Gypsy Soul. Most recently he had brief stints running various kitchens in Charlotte and Atlanta before making his way to Nashville.

The restaurant itself will be an all-day affair, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner daily and focusing on shareable plates. While the menu is still coming together, examples of what to expect include 9-year Tennessee Cheddar agnolotti, Whistle Pig Farm duck carved tableside and smoked Vidalia onion bulbs. Also in the planning is a snack trolley where diners will choose a la carte items at the beginning of their meal and have them prepared and served tableside. And there will be another tasting menu option in town, with Cooper serving up the longform meal in a private dining space called The Snooker.

Henley will also offer up a full bar, with the cocktail program focusing on whiskey, bourbon and other traditional Southern spirits.

As for the space, it will consist of multiple dining areas and a main bar, along with the aforementioned private space and an outdoor dining area facing Broadway. Head below to take a look at a few of the renderings for the restaurant.

A rendering of the bar area and dining room at Henley
A rendering of the bar area and dining room at Henley