Nashville’s no stranger to the steakhouse — Music City loves its beef with a side of scene-y leather-and-wood interiors. But Harper’s Steakhouse, which officially opens its doors on August 18 in the South Bank neighborhood, is poised to bring something new to the conversation with a whimsical spin on the classic steakhouse formula. Operated by Milkshake Concepts Hospitality Group (Layer Cake, The Finch), Harper’s Nashville location is the second outpost of the Dallas-based restaurant.
Stepping into Harper’s isn’t the typical hyper-masculine steakhouse journey. The first tip off: interiors. Milkshake Concepts’ design team, along with Franklin-based Barnett Design Group, led the architectural design for the 9,000-square-foot space. Vibrant floral wallpaper lines cozy nooks that have black leather banquettes, lush greenery, and intricate stonework and archways — a decidedly Secret Garden-meets-1970s-disco-den aesthetic (hello, wood paneling). A rectangular bar with tufted stools and an outdoor patio round out the dining areas.
Harper’s menu, developed by Milkshake Concepts’ senior culinary director Rodman Shields and local Nashville executive chef Steve Townsend, hits on all of the steakhouse classics: find sea-salt crusted prime rib, 40-ounce porterhouse, and a 30-ounce Australian Wagyu tomahawk — which can all be served with enhancements like black truffle butter, Maine lobster tail, and lump crab. A raw bar is also available, with stacked seafood towers, oysters on the half shell, and big eye tuna sashimi with caviar.
But it’s the beginning and end of the meal that add a bit of culinary intrigue. The Cheeks & Chips starter marries salt-and-vinegar halibut cheeks with a crispy pile of fries, while the large format desserts — 12-layer chocolate cake, a six-scoop sundae, and a creme brulee that’s torched tableside — feed up to six people with showy go-big-or-go-home aplomb. In a nod to its Nashville location, the dessert menu also features a New York-style cheesecake topped with locally made GooGoo Clusters.
The bar also brings some interest to the scene, putting irreverent twists on classic recipes. Case in point: a Wagyu fat-washed Old Fashioned served with a black truffle butter toast point, and A Tail of Two Cities, a riff on the New York Sour with tequila and a Cabernet floater. A tightly curated wine list includes both by-the-glass and bottle options alongside a few mocktail options.
Harper’s will open with dinner service and plans to roll out lunch (including a two-course prix fixe option) and brunch programming in the coming weeks. The restaurant is slated to open Friday, August 18 at 2 Lea Avenue; reservations are available on its website.