A New York burger and shakes sensation is expanding to three more cities in the next few years, and one of its first stops will be downtown Nashville. Black Tap plans to bring over-the-top milkshakes, bougie burgers, and a menu of craft beers to 211 Commerce Street in November 2022, a press release announced this week.
At Black Tap, Nashville diners can expect burgers ranging from a $17 All-American to the $22 Mulberry Street Burger, a prime beef patty with provolone, hot cherry peppers, prosciutto, soppressata, and parmigiano-reggiano. Chicken sandwiches start at $18, and a half-dozen wings, Korean barbecue or Nashville hot, go for a cool $16. (It will be interesting to see how Nashvillians react to the NYC-born recipe.)
Still, the star of the show are the shakes — early on in New York, the restaurant mostly drew crowds not for the burger but for its elaborate, picture-worthy shakes. “Crazy,” $17 versions like the cotton candy, a strawberry shake with a blue and pink pearl chocolate rim topped with a lollipop, rock candy, and cotton candy; and the Cakeshake, served with a funfetti cake slice, rainbow sprinkles, and a cherry went viral. The chain’s shake menu can also be upgraded with alcohol, and owners plan to incorporate Nashville-specific food and drink specials and bring in local craft brews.
Black Tap is run by New York power couple Chris Barish and Julie Mulligan, though it was founded by Barish and then-business partner Joe Isidori in 2015, when it became known for fancy wagyu burgers and what is perhaps the “most Instagrammed milkshake ever.” With that popularity also came disputes, from a $25 million lawsuit that was settled to a former employee claiming she was the true creator of the milkshakes.
Mulligan and Barish, who opened Gordon Ramsay at Caesars Palace and Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris Las Vegas, has since opened Black Taps in Vegas, downtown Disney in California, Switzerland, Singapore, Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and two more in NYC. Apparently, according to the Nashville Business Journal, the couple visited Nashville early on in the pandemic, and as they “met more people, found their favorite spots, and noticed the amount of people still out and about,” they decided to open a Black Tap in the city. It was partly based on the popularity of classic American food in Nashville, they told the Journal, and their perception that “no one was doing it with the same SoHo atmosphere of Black Tap.”
The couple will be doing a full renovation of the space in downtown’s 211 Commerce building for the 130-seat Nashville restaurant. The pair also plans to open Black Taps in Dallas and Miami, which would bring their total number of locations to 21.