Almost a year into the coronavirus pandemic, restaurants across Nashville continue to move forward with openings, sometimes because their concepts could be adapted for delivery and outdoor dining service, but more often because their owners saw no other choice but to forge ahead. Since mid-March 2020, when the state first temporarily closed indoor dining, dozens of new restaurants have opened their doors. This list of Nashville’s pandemic-born businesses in 2021 includes a completely cacao-based concept, two new Italian restaurants, and a long-awaited night-time adaptation of a lunchtime favorite.
Here’s a round-up of the restaurants and bars that opened January through July 2021. This list will be updated often. It’s more than a full-time job to keep track of it all, so if there’s an opening in your neighborhood that we’ve missed, please do let us know at email@example.com.
North Nashville: EG & Mc, a new cocktail bar and southern-rooted tapas spot, took over the former home of the much-missed Garden Brunch Cafe. EG & Mc is the brainchild of Clint Gray, Derrick Moore, and EJ Reed (the crew behind Slim + Husky’s Pizza Beeria), alongside craft cocktail guru Gemaal Pratts of Aperitif. The menu is a refreshing and interesting one — with shared plates like cheddar bourbon fondue, stuffed lamb meatballs with cheese grits, and peach barbecue glazed candied yam mac and cheese on the menu alongside drinks like the EG&Mc signature drink with raisin-soaked Uncle Nearest, Amaro, vermouth, bitters, and chicory liqueur. 924 Jefferson Street
Bellevue: South Indian restaurant 615Chutney ventured out to just west of the city center for its new home. 615Chutney began its life as a food truck, with a focus on gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian South Indian dishes. Some popular choices include samosas, pickled idli (steamed rice cakes with South Indian spices), malabar parotta (a layered flatbread), and Chutneyville sambar (lentil-based vegetable stew cooked with dal and tamarind broth). 7075 Hwy 70 S
Downtown: Chilangos is the next opening inside Assembly Food Hall at Fifth + Broadway. The new Mexican taqueria from chef Joel Mendoza is located on the north side near DeSano, serving barbacoa tacos and other spit-grilled meats alongside cheesy quesaberria tacos. 5055 Broadway Place
Downtown: Chicken Guy, Guy Fieri’s fried fowl-focused chain, opened up adding to the plethora of chicken options peppering Nashville. Located in one of the buildings damaged in Nashville’s Christmas Day bombing, the restaurant also offers grilled chicken options in tender and in sandwich form, plus salads, plenty of fries, and a whopping selection of 22 sauces, plus apple cinnamon cereal shakes for a sweet finish. 139 2nd Avenue N
North Nashville: InnerG is a new juice and yoga option in North Nashville, owned by Nielah Burnett. It’s Nashville’s first cold-pressed juice bar and yoga studio, with a wide range of juices and juice subscriptions available. 1807 9th Ave N
Midtown/Music Row: H&S Bagels is a new NY-style bagel shop in Midtown from New Jersey-born Hector Sanchez, who has over 40 years of experience. Sanchez serves up real-deal hand-rolled bagels plus fried Taylor ham (or pork roll, depending on who you ask) breakfast sandwiches. Sanchez uses high-gluten flour to give his bagels proper elasticity, then adds sugar, yeast, and water before leaving them to proof overnight, and then boiled fresh for optimal chewiness. 105 17th Avenue S
Lenox Village: Pegasus Pizzeria replaced a recently closed pizza joint and is already getting rave reviews as the much-preferred alternative. On the menu, look for a variety of thick Detroit-style pies with Vegan, dairy-free options plus a selection of six pasta dishes including penne pesto or spaghetti with meat sauce. To start, folks also rave about the Sicilian-baked meatballs and the mozzarella sticks. 6601 Sugar Valley Dr #115
Elliston Place: Koi Sushi & Thai joined the growing list of sushi options on the popular Rock Block, opening at the end of June. Dara Danh’s newest location replaces the former IHOP, with the familiar Koi menu of rolls, nigiri, and red snapper tempura alongside lots of Thai dishes. 2214 Elliston Place
Crieve Hall: Crieve Hall Bagel is a new sourdough bagel shop from Ben and Lizzy Cornfield which got its start out of their home kitchen during quarantine. They just got an official storefront in yes, Crieve Hall, where they offer flavors from plain and cinnamon sugar to jalapeno cheddar, also all available as bagel braids with plenty of schmears to choose from. 4825 Trousdale Drive, Suite 228
North Gulch: The Continental, Sean Brock’s new ground-level restaurant inside the Grand Hyatt Nashville, finally got to open up for in-house dining, and the presentations alone look like it's worth planning ahead for a reservation. Plus, there’s a roving prime rib cart.
Downtown: Miranda Lambert’s Casa Rosa opened on in that celeb-named stretch of Lower Broadway, and it’s a girly taco and queso lover’s dream. Step away from the bro-country bars that pepper the street and step into a room surrounded by hot pink booths, intricately tiled floors, and Miranda and Elvis-themed walls prime for photo ops.
East Nashville: By the Bottle Neighborhood Wine Bar opened in the parlor on Urban Cowboy’s first floor, a passion project by Nashville native Kate Cunningham. The city’s first by-the-bottle-only wine bar features a rotating selection of natural and sustainable wines priced at $25 and $45, with a few “baller-level” bottles for special celebrations.
Hillsboro Village: Shokku Ramen, the Las Vegas-born ramen spot expanded to Music City — and it’s the first Asian-owned ramen-specific spot in town. The Japanese anime-themed ramen shop is known for serving up both traditional and newly innovated styles and varieties of made-from-scratch broths and house-made spice blends, fried rice, beer, and sake at their 24-hour operation in the heart of Las Vegas’ Chinatown.
Hillsboro Village: Central BBQ, the Memphis-based smoked meats chain, opened its second Nashville location on 21st Avenue, serving up smoked meats alongside sides and banana pudding.
Hendersonville: Sea Salt was reborn a short drive from its former home in downtown Nashville, with chef Brad Webb (most recently of Setsun) leading the kitchen. Find a raw bar, Nashville hot chowder, steak frites, and a new take on ricotta agnolotti on the menu.
Germantown: Emmy Squared took on a third Nashville location for its quickly growing pizza and burger empire. Emmy took over the former Silo space, which was damaged in the 2020 tornado.
Midtown: Elliston Place Soda Shop reopened at last in gorgeous new digs, bringing back banana splits, Ms. Linda’s pies, and much-missed old-school Nashville vibes back to the Rock Block (plus, find new boozy shakes).
Downtown: Sixty Vines, the Texas-based wine lovers’ dream restaurant, was the next restaurant to open at Fifth + Broadway. Find the stunning, sprawling space on the third floor of the development, where diners can feast on pizzas, pasta, and charcuterie while choosing from so many options of wines by the glass. 5055 Broadway Place
Midtown: Flatiron debuted from the owners of Answer at the Broadway/Division split, with options like Nashville hot fried oysters, tomato bisque with waffled grilled cheese, and filet with bearnaise butter. There’s also a solid weekday happy hour featuring a selection of $5 drinks and snacks. 1929 Broadway
Downtown: Assembly Food Hall at Fifth + Broadway opened its second phase, and with it a string of new food stalls as new downtown dining options: Coco’s Fresh Italian, Horu Sushi, Istanbul Shawarma, the Liege Waffle Co., Pharmacy Burger, Pharmacy Wurst, the Philly Special, Prince’s Hot Chicken, Saffron, Steamboys, and Velvet Taco. See all of the opening menus here. 5055 Broadway Place
Downtown: The First Level at the Twelve Thirty Club rolled out in April of 2021, just the first of four levels of the new experiential dining destination at Fifth + Broadway. The self-described elevated honky-tonk’s menu runs the gamut from pork belly dumplings, sashimi, and Old Bay-rubbed wings for the table. Also on the all-encompassing menu, find a selection of salads plus mains like burgers, pastrami sandwiches, fish tacos, and barbecue. 550 Broadway
Downtown: Eddie V’s, the swanky seafood and steak chain from Texas, opened its first Tennessee location in April, with oyster platters and shellfish towers aplenty. 590 Broadway
East Nashville: Bite a Bit Thai and Sushi opened quietly on McGavock with a variety of , plus gummy bear-topped martinis and Thai chili-adorned margaritas.
Elliston Place: I Love Sushi, a Huntsville, Alabama-based sushi restaurant, spread its wings (not more angel ones, thankfully) to Music City — to Elliston Place, specifically. Look for a wide array of starters, noodle dishes, and bento boxes, plus so many choices for sushi, sashimi, and flashy rolls. 2300 Elliston Place
East Nashville: Samurai Sushi East quietly slid into the former Eastland Cafe space in April of 2021, bringing in a new chef from Tokyo, Tomo, to bring an upgraded menu to its third location, complete with wider nigiri and sashimi options plus plenty of raw and cooked rolls. 97 Chapel Avenue
The Gulch: The Gumbo Bros., a Brooklyn-based but NOLA-themed restaurant, debuted in the Gulch in early March, giving Nashvillians a culinary escape to New Orleans via comforting Cajun and Creole cuisine. On the menu, look for an array of po’boys, a trio of gumbos, fried alligator bites, and more from Mobile, Alabama born/LSU grad Adam Lathan. Plus bananas foster pudding for dessert. There are plenty of beer options plus classic hurricanes and Tabasco margaritas to wash it all down. 505 12th Ave S
Downtown: Assembly Food Hall at Fifth + Broadway (more on that later) opened its first phase, and with it enter these food stalls as new downtown dining options: Thai Esane, Whisk Crepes, Donut Distillery, Cotton & Snow, DeSano Pizzeria, NoBaked Cookie Dough, Oke Poké, and Smokin Chikin. 5055 Broadway Place
Downtown: Fifth + Broadway is the larger complex that hosts the food hall, and has plenty of ground floor, street entry dining options that opened in March: Slim + Husky’s, Shake Shack, Blanco Cocina + Cantina, Le Macaron, Cava, and Elixr Coffee. Intersection of Fifth Ave and Broadway
Charlotte Pike: Ichiban Japanese Restaurant opened in March on Charlotte Pike, giving West Nashville diners a new Japanese dining option. Hibachi chicken or shrimp comes served with soup, salad, and fried rice, and rings in at $15.99. 5515 Charlotte Pike
East Nashville: Shep’s Delicatessen gives East Nashville a real deal Jewish delicatessen — and the city responded with overwhelming approval. The new Five Points spot named after owner restaurateur Howard Greenstone’s grandfather sold over 400 lbs. of pastrami and corned beef in its first two days. Folks poured through the doors in its first weekend open in March, ready for bodega-style stacked breakfast sandwiches, egg creams, and pancake-battered blintzes. Check Shep’s social media for updated hours. 1000 Main Street
East Nashville (reopened after tornado): Smith and Lentz reopened a year post-tornado, amid pandemic times with a brand new pizza program from chef Chris DeJonge (formerly of Rolf & Daughters). Find excellent pepperoni-studded and hot honey slathered NY-meets-Neapolitan style pies for dine-in and takeout at the brewery’s revamped space. 903 Main Street
Charlotte Ave: Family Tacos is a new family-operated Mexican restaurant serving breakfast all day plus tacos, huaraches, and other specialties. 4304 Charlotte Ave, Suite F
The Gulch: Blue Stripes, founded by chocolatier Max Brenner, is not a chocolate cafe — so be careful not to call it that. The concept is based on cacao instead, focused on the superfood’s stated benefits alongside sustainability. With sustainability in mind, Blue Stripes uses everything — from the beans to the shell and the fruit for its decadent beverages and smoothies, baked goods, savory snacks, and cacao waters. 333 11th Avenue South
The Gulch: Arnold’s After Dark at Nashville’s iconic meat-and-three Arnold’s Country Kitchen launched at last in February, after years of buzzy anticipation. (The city is still waiting on breakfast, but Sunday brunch is coming soon.) No, it’s not technically a new restaurant, but sitting at the new bar sipping tequila and eating crispy tacos and cheese and brisket-slathered nachos, it certainly feels like one. Plus, it’s the first time many are able to visit, with the new night-time and all-day Saturday hours. 605 8th Ave S
Brentwood: Thai Esane’s second location hit Brentwood just weeks before Nina Singto’s third opens up downtown, so needless to say the chef’s popular Thai restaurant is thriving among the hard pandemic days. The menu is a familiar one for TE’s loyal customers, who flock for papaya salad, drunken noodles, pineapple boat fried rice, and more which can all be elevated to Singto’s signature “Nina hot” level. 203 Franklin Road, Suite 100
Cool Springs: Waldo’s Chicken & Beer expanded its fast-casual, fowl-focused menu of wings, tenders, chicken sandwiches, and comforting sides South of town to Cool Springs’ Liberty Station in February. Waldo’s is another concept from Fresh Hospitality, which also envelops Biscuit Love, The Grilled Cheeserie, Martin’s BBQ, Juice Bar, and more. 1201 Liberty Pike, Franklin
Five Points: Popular sfincione purveyor and Sicilian street food spot St. Vito Focacciaria slid into the kitchen/dining space at East Nashville’s Vandyke just a few short weeks after the permanent closure/departure of Setsun. Owner/chef Michael Hanna has worked in the restaurant industry for years in Memphis, Nashville, and beyond. There’s been much buzz around town about the chef’s real deal sfincione, most recently served out of Citizen Kitchen to the masses. 105 S. 11th Street
Downtown Franklin: Culaccino brought Nonna-worthy meatballs, ravioli, and wood-fired pies to Harpeth Square in downtown Franklin in January. Of note: it also brought downtown Franklin its only outdoor bar. It’s a menu of homespun Italian fare from chef Frank Pullara, who previously manned the kitchens of the acclaimed Campagna Hospitality Group (Osteria Tulia, Bar Tulia, The French) in Naples, Florida. Pullara also assisted chef Vincenzo Betulia at the James Beard House back in 2016. Culaccino is his first solo concept. 104 E Main St, Franklin
Cool Springs: A second new Italian restaurant for Franklin, Chrysalis Modern Italian, snuck into the Cool Springs/Corothers stretch recently. It’s not traditional mom-and-pop style Italian, but it’s already become popular for takeout and dine-in with a menu of create-your-own cheese/charcuterie boards, small plates, pasta, panini, and flatbreads. 9040 Carothers Parkway, Suite A201, Franklin
East Nashville: Flamie’s Hot Chicken Factory started serving its take on, yes, Nashville hot chicken — with a selection of wings, tenders, and-bone in fiery fowl ranging from “sweet heat” to “son of a gun”. 3231 Gallatin Pike
Pie Town: Blu Ox Bar and Restaurant at Bad Axe Throwing Nashville (now the largest Axe throwing venue in Tennessee) opened in January. It’s a full-service restaurant and bar featuring skyline views, live music, an outdoor seating area, and mural photos ops — open to ax-aficionadas and non-ax-throwers alike. Blu Ox offers “a Northwoods-inspired menu with a southern twist.” The Bad Axe chain has dozens of locations across the US plus some in the UK and Canada. 648 Fogg St
East Nashville: Eastwood Deli Co is now open for breakfast and lunch with a straightforward menu of biscuit sandwiches, breakfast burritos, sandwiches, and salads. Located in the former home of The Wild Cow (which moved to Fatherland Street last year), the deli is owned by husband and wife Alex Griffin and Stefanie Kisselburg. 1896 Eastland Ave
Hillsboro Village: Grain & Berry opened in January adjacent to the neighborhood’s Moxy Hotel, and Banh Mi + Roll Plus. The restaurant provides another new “health-focused” option in Hillsboro Village, featuring superfood bowls, flatbreads made with cauliflower or broccoli crusts, and juice shots and smoothies. 1806 20th Ave S