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Ford Fry’s Seafood-Focused Restaurant Finally Has an Opening Date in Nashville

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One of Nashville’s longest-running highly anticipated restaurants, the Optimist opens June 22 with lobster rolls, oysters, and more

The Optimist [Official Photo]

After over four years of anticipation, Atlanta-based chef Ford Fry’s Nashville iteration of seafood-focused restaurant the Optimist will open on Monday, June 22.

The restaurant is located at the Hammer Mill development in Germantown, at 1400 Adams Street. The Optimist, like all of Fry’s other restaurants, will conduct strict daily cleanings, and employees will receive daily pre-work health screenings and temperature checks. All restaurant workers are required to wear face coverings and disposable gloves at all times. The Optimist plans to strictly adhere to the Restaurant Association COVID-19 Guidelines, including disposable menus, limited party sizes, rolled silverware and no presetting of tables. Socially distant floor markings will be provided in waiting areas, and at least 6 feet of separation between all seated parties.

Fry first introduced the Optimist — his take on a seaside fish camp experience — to diners in Atlanta in 2012. Executive chef Ryder Zetts leads the kitchen in Nashville, serving a seafood heavy menu (seen below) of everything from lobster rolls with Duke’s mayo to snapper en papillote and whole roasted flounder. To start, find yellowfin tuna carpaccio, whiskey smoked salmon, and large seafood platters brimming with shrimp, oyster, ceviche, and lobster. For non seafood eaters, a few options include chicken and dumplings, Iberico pork presa, and. beef porterhouse. Sharable sides include beignet-style corn milk hushpuppies, smoked fish fried rice, and grilles summer squash.

A focal point outside, an expansive patio bar affectionally known as “Jacqueline” will offer lawn games, shaved ice cocktails, and frozen hurricanes plus other drinks from beverage manager and Nashville native Tracy Ardoin-Jenkins. The classically trained pastry chef turned bar expert, Ardoin-Jenkins worked closely with beverage director Eduardo Porto Carreiro to conceptualize cocktail, beer, and wine lists that complement the individual Optimist, Le Loup, and Star Rover experiences.

The Optimist will open for dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m.

Neighboring concepts Le Loup and Star Rover still have plans to open, but the team is phasing out openings and the current COVID-19 restrictions on live music and large gatherings play into the decision of when Star Rover will open.

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