Rolf and Daughters’ chef and owner Philip Krajeck will see a longtime dream become a reality this March, as he prepares to open Folk, his new restaurant and bar at 823 Meridian St. in East Nashville’s McFerrin Park neighborhood. That dream? Finally having a stage on which to share his love of pizza with the world.
Having opened his instant hit Germantown restaurant in late 2012, Krajeck started the wheels turning for his next project mid-2015: “I’ve always been really, really passionate about flour and water, which sounds boring. But I love it. And I’ve always wanted to make pizza, but it didn’t make sense with what we were doing at Rolf and Daughters. So this is not just recreating Rolf and opening it in East Nashville, it’s its own thing. But the approach we use there for pasta will be the same approach we use for Folk’s pizza.”
Krajeck, who staged at Brooklyn pizza stalwarts Roberta’s and Franny’s (the latter of which closed last summer), says that the pies will be “authentic in terms of his experiences and viewpoint,” offering a naturally leavened dough made with freshly milled flour from wheat sourced regionally, creating a pizza base “that’s really flavorful and easy for people to digest.”
The remainder of the menu (dinner only initially, with plans for weekend brunch in the future) will have a heavy focus on vegetables and a minimalist approach in terms of composition (think three ingredients or so per dish). There will also be small plate seafood options, some larger format dishes, meats cured in house, and some unique bread service options.
In fact, the baking operations for both restaurants will be housed at Folk once the restaurant opens, providing baker Michael Matson (formerly of Gnarwhal Bakery) a broader opportunity to showcase his naturally leavened, wood-fired creations. It will also free up some kitchen space at Rolf and Daughters, which Krajeck says will be “huge in terms of being able to streamline their processes at Rolf given the space limitations.”
Krajeck plans to split time between his two restaurants, with longtime Rolf and Daughters’ sous chefs Sean Sears and Dauer Ellis assuming the roles of co-chefs at Folk (“They’re both really into that style of food” adds Krajeck). Butcher Dorian Richardson will also be moving over to Folk, and current pastry chef Sam Short will be pulling double duty for both spots.
For the beverage program, Rolf and Daughters’ Shane O’Brien will be overseeing the cocktail menu, putting together a concise menu of classics that will be adjusted according to the seasons. There will also be a strong focus on low ABV cocktails. A selection of brews and “fresh, juicy, natural” wines will round out the full bar.
The restaurant itself, housed in a 1930s brick building, will feature a main dining area that seats 70, with part of that being able to be converted into a semi-private dining space. The bar area will have an additional 26 seats, and a small patio will be open seasonally.
Collaborating on the interior design with Krajeck is Sideshow Sign Co. owner Luke Stockdale. Stockdale has added his touches to a number of high profile restaurants around Nashville including Butcher & Bee, Barista Parlor, and Five Points Pizza, but Folk is his first time to be fully involved with a restaurant’s design from the ground up. “It’s important that it looks good, but it’s got to be the right balance of function and aesthetic,” says Krajeck.
And the story behind the restaurant’s name?
“We want it to be for everyone. And ultimately, Folk is what we all want to eat and drink. I want to make democratic food that is good, and somewhat timeless. Fifteen to twenty years from now, I want people to still be wanting it and seeking it out.”