Fall, cloaked with football madness and pumpkin-spice-crowded menus, is right around the corner. And with that comes yet another busy season for Nashville restaurant and bar openings. Several of the city’s anticipated openings have been pushed back to 2019, but the city still has nearly a dozen solid openings to look forward to this year. Of course, deadlines always shift, but this is what to expect in the next few months.
These are listed in order of their anticipated opening date.
Location: 1002 Buchanan Street (North Nashville)
Key Players: Robert Higgins Jr.
Projected Opening: Opening September 7
80’s and 90’s music blares from speakers on the large outdoor patio at this speakeasy-like cocktail bar. Menus come served in old VHS cases, and the food menu—simply gourmet deli sandwiches and flavored popcorn. Minerva Avenue will serve cocktails influenced by prominent Nashville mixologist, Freddy Schwenk. Each cocktail is titled after movie lines from box office hits. Robert Higgins Jr. was inspired by his childhood home in St. Louis, where his parents bought their first home. That house was on Minerva Avenue. The exterior exudes that home-like feel, outlined by a residential fence, and welcoming patrons via a wooden door, complete with a peephole. Use the phone at the wooden door or knock for entry.
Location: 34th floor of newly opened JW Marriott at 201 8th Avenue South
Key Players: Michael Mina
Projected Opening: Officially announced for September 10
One of the year’s most anticipated openings is that of Michael Mina’s steakhouse at the JW Marriott, adorned with large-scale chandeliers and a masculine bourbon-inspired color palette. Menu options at the 280-seat restaurant range are obviously beef-centric, with plenty of seafood options and sides, plus a roaming cocktail cart and massive wine list. Bourbon Sky — the restaurant’s 40-seat circular bar — services an indoor lounge and outdoor terrace overlooking downtown.
Location: 1300 3rd Ave N (Germantown)
Key Players: Tandy Wilson
Projected Opening: early September
James Beard award-winning Chef Tandy Wilson surprised many this summer with the quick announcement of his second Germantown concept, right on the heels of Kuchnia and Keller’s depressing closure. The lovely turnkey space will, of course, remain largely the same, but projects a very casual, no-reservations feel, where Wilson will serve “the sorts of foods he cooks at home”—and that includes barbecue chicken and hush-puppy-battered catfish.
Location: 3988 Hillsboro Pike (Green Hills)
Key Players: 4-Top Hospitality, Doug Hogrefe, Chef Evan Campbell
Projected Opening: late September
4-Top Hospitality, the locally-owned group who brought Nashville Amerigo, Etch, Etc., and earlier this year, Saltine, now offers up Char—a contemporary steakhouse and piano bar. The Jackson, Mississippi location shows starters from mussels to gumbo and fried green tomatoes, and classic steakhouse entrees like various beef selections, poultry, and seafood. The 4-Top team has doubled-down on Green Hills, having opened Etc. in the neighborhood in 2016. The restaurant, which hung signs and posted hiring notes a few weeks back, occupies a 5,000-square-foot space in the ground floor of the new mixed-use Vertis development. They plan to have entertainment nightly in the piano bar, plus a New Orleans-style jazz trio during Sunday brunch.
Location: 206 21st Ave South (Midtown)
Key Players: Brian Mazza, Paige Hospitality Group
Projected Opening: September
The first venture into Nashville for Paige Hospitality Group, Ainsworth is expected to join the Midtown Aertson development this fall. The restaurant is best known as an upscale sports bar, and a New York location’s menu shows small plates like ricotta meatballs and sushi-grade tuna tartare. Ainsworth has posted hiring notices on several job hiring sites, so the opening appears to be soon, but inquiring emails have gone unanswered.
Location: 3996 Hillsboro Pike (Green Hills)
Key Players: Oprah is an investor
Projected Opening: September 26, officially announced
Nashville gets a new non-deep-fried dining option when True Food Kitchen opens in Green Hills on Wednesday, September 26. The health-driven, Phoenix-based restaurant most recently garnered national attention when they announced that Oprah became a “significant equity investor” in July. Located on the ground floor of the new Vertis Green Hills mixed-use building, it spans over 7,700-square-feet with an open kitchen and ample outdoor patio seating. Look for a heavy emphasis on vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, and signature dishes like spaghetti squash casserole, grass-fed steak tacos, and a quinoa burger. They’re also known for their dessert squash pie.
Location: 4708 Charlotte Avenue (West Nashville)
Key Players: John Stephenson
Projected Opening: mid-to-late fall
This West Nashville restaurant is reincarnating the fellowship hall adjacent to the former West Nashville United Methodist Church, which now houses the event space, Clementine. A few original elements from the space were left intact, and others were incorporated into the complete overhaul—the dining room and bar are separated by a partition made from a prayer rail from the original space, for example. Shared plates leaning “new American” will intertwine Stephenson’s surroundings in the South with threads from his travels.
Location: 521 Gallatin Ave. #3 (East Nashville)
Key Players: Andy Mumma, Bryce McCloud, Mike Wolf
Projected Opening: October
Nashville will finally be blessed with the long-awaited East Nashville tiki bar this fall. Barista Parlor owner and founder Andy Mumma, Isle of Printing founder Bryce McCloud, and former longtime Husk Nashville bar manager Mike Wolf prepare to open up shop in the former east side homes of Bar Luca and Moto Moda. Cryptic glimpses in photos shared on social media hint at the very detailed interior. Food details are still few, but an initial statement promises “a new establishment celebrating the tastes, flavors and frozen delights” of the South Seas.
Location: 1012 Gallatin Ave. (East Nashville)
Key Players: Nick and Audra Guidry
Projected Opening: September for Slow Hand, October for Pelican & Pig
Husband and wife team Nick and Audra Guidry are planning a double-dose of openings this year. Full-service restaurant Pelican & Pig will focus on wood-fired cooking, along with shared plates leaning heavily on local, seasonal vegetables. Slow Hand Coffee + Bakeshop moves from its former downtown digs and will be an expanded version of the original. Guidry will offer triple the prior selection of pastries, along with quick service items like wraps, biscuits, and sandwiches. It will also feature a second menu geared towards sit-down dining, as well as a pour-over coffee bar.
Location: 2600 8th Avenue South (beneath the Sutler)
Key Players: Austin Ray, Joe Parkes, Jr., David Parkes, and Gary Parkes
Projected Opening: early fall
Bar-within-a-bar Rambler is the newest project for Nashville-based hospitality groups A.Ray Hospitality and The Parkes Companies. Slated for the underground space in 8th Avenue South’s The Sutler Saloon, adjacent to The Melrose Billiard Parlor, owner Austin Ray says the underground cocktail bar at will be a standalone brand and destination with an electric atmosphere, curated playlists, and DJs. Freddy Schwenk is consulting on the “approachable” bar program, and Jason Brumm is developing the food menu, expected to bring creative and indulgent bar bites.
Location: 222 Second Ave. S. (downtown)
Key Players: Patrick Burke, Jess Benefield, and Trey Burnette
Projected Opening: October
This highly anticipated new project from the team behind Two Ten Jack is just across the way from Ascend Amphitheater. Co-chefs Jess Benefield and Trey Burnette, of Seed Hospitality, intend to honor Japanese culinary traditions while also celebrating local food-ways and ingredients. The Green Pheasant’s menu will reflect their interpretation of seasonal Japanese cuisine with an abundant list of fish and ingredients sourced directly from Japan while continuing to utilize meats and produce from local farmers with The Nashville Food Project, Bells Bend Farms, No. 9 Farms and Marmilu Farms, to name just a few.
Location: 207 1st Avenue S (SoBro)
Key Players: Terry Raley, Jeffrey Rhodes
Projected Opening: fall
The restaurateur behind Butchertown Hall and Pharmacy Burger Parlor, Terry Raley, teams up with Executive Chef-Partner Jeffrey Rhodes for this mid-century modern slanting French Brasserie restaurant. Rhodes returns to Nashville after spending a decade in Michelin-rated bistros along the West Coast. The focus here is on creating an approachable atmosphere, with stand-out service and really good food. Some items they’ll be serving include steak frites, a skillet lobster cake, and trout amandine with grits. There’s also a fried chicken menu, true to the restaurant’s Nashville roots.
Be sure to keep an eye on these major openings set for early 2019: