Atlanta-born seafood market and cafe Fishmonger has set its sights on Nashville, according to co-owner Skip Engelbrecht, with the goal of bringing two new locations to Music City. The first location is slated to open in spring 2024.
Fishmonger, which recently was named a Bib Gourmand (restaurants that offer the best value for your money) in Michelin’s Atlanta guide last week, is known for its fresh takes on casual seafood dishes, like a Gulf shrimp roll, a tuna melt with Gruyere on sourdough, and blackened grouper sandwich topped with a Florida sauce on a bun.
Engelbrecht notes that Fishmonger’s fast-casual seafood concept is something Nashville is missing, adding: “Our grouper sandwich is top-notch. We hand-grind all of our spices and we don’t use any pre-made sauces. Everything is focused on detail.”
The first location, a smaller 1,200-square-foot space, is slated for the Neuhoff District, a former meat-packing plant that’s taken up real estate by the Cumberland River for over 100 years. The abandoned site has at different times been the home for the Nashville Jazz Workshop, the Nashville Cultural Arts Project, and a personal studio for singer and songwriter John Prine.
The mixed-use residential, retail, and office project will eventually total nearly 1 million square feet of space in Germantown. The renovation of the historic structures at Neuhoff began in 2019 and will open to the public in early 2024.
The Neuhoff location will feel very similar to the restaurant’s previous three outposts in Atlanta — ”very mid-century modern and Japanese industrial, with bright colors and fluorescence,” says Engelbrecht. A large counter bar will be the focal point of the space along with a narrow indoor patio/atrium with seating.
Launching the Fishmonger Nashville’s bar program: Atlanta bar manager Caleb Grubb, whose cocktail menu will focus on specialty frozen drinks — “his Saffron Pain Killer is top-notch,” says Engelbrecht. The menu will also feature the Fishmonger Gibson, which uses a deep brine from the restaurant’s beet salad lending the drink an ethereal hot pink glow.
Head chef Brad Forsblom will also be joining the opening Nashville crew from Atlanta with Jack McGowan of 8Arm serving as the new location’s chef de cuisine.
“With Fishmonger, we filled a hole in Atlanta, and we’re really proud of that,” says Engelbrecht. “We’re super excited. You know when you go on vacation and you dream of all the wonderfully weird food you had? Fishmonger kind of brings you back to that feeling.”