Sunday, February 19, 2012

LocalEats Announces 2012 Winners of Best Nashville Restaurants

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pei Wei Asian Diner Opens in Hill Center

IN THE NEWS: The Rage and The Tennessean's Dana Kopp Franklin reports that Pei Wei Asian Diner, the national restaurant chain, has opened its first location in Nashville proper in the new Hill Center in Green Hills. Pei Wei is a sister concept to the popular P.F. Chang's, but it's considered faster and more casual. Customers order at a counter, take a number and their meal is delivered to their table. (4017 Hillsboro Pike in the Hill Center, 615-514-3230. Hours are 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. To view the menu, visit Pei Wei's other Middle Tennessee locations are 101 Creekside Crossing in Brentwood and 1911 Medical Center Parkway in Murfreesboro. ... Franklin also reports that new Indian restaurant Madras Bhavan on Church Street already has closed after just a few weeks, due to its chef leaving. Owner Naresh Kumar (21st Avenue Indian spot Sitar) is exploring other options for the space, including moving adding a branch of his Nolensville-based Italian restaurant, Brickstone Cafe. ... Critic Jim Myers features Darrell Breaux, owner/chef of Bro's Cajun Cuisine (3214 Charlotte Ave., 615-329-2626). ...

The Murfreesboro Post's Erin Edgemon reports that "the buzz around sibling restaurateurs Mitchell and Mollie Murphree’s upcoming downtown pizza joint is almost deafening. The owners of the more upscale Five Senses restaurant plan to open Tomato Tomato (Toe-May-Toe Toe-Ma-Toe) Pizza Kitchen at 223 W. Main St., the former location of Casa Burrito, in early October." ... Edgemon also reports that studio musician Kevin Ray and partners Ronnie Pittman and Jesse Zane plan to open Graffiti's country music nightclub and restaurant at 2962 S. Rutherford Blvd. in Murfreesboro by mid-November. ... The Scene's Carrington Fox reviews the results of new management at Belle Meade contemporary Whitfield's (106 Harding Place, 615-356-5450) and reports that Rumours East, from co-owners Whitney Ferre and Christy Shuff, finally opened over the weekend in the former Red Wagon Cafe space on Woodland Street. ... Fox also reports that extended renovation time has pushed the opening date back to late November for Mad Donna's, the casual American-burger joint/nightclub taking the place of East Nashville's Radio Cafe (1313 Woodland St.). ...

Nashville City Paper's Alexa Hinton profiles Andre Prince of Prince's Hot Chicken Shack (123 Ewing Drive, 226-9442) -- who reveals she hates okra -- as well as Brett Corrieri of Corrieri's Formaggeria (1110 Caruthers Ave., 615-385-9272, ...'s Jessica Miles spotlights Asian fusion spot Virago (1811 Davidson Street, 320-5149). ... The Shelbyville Times-Gazette reports the hiring of chef Bill Hall at Wartrace's The Walking Horse Hotel, which recently was purchased by Joe Peters from previous owners Jim and Bea Garland. Peters has many exciting ideas for the historical landmark. One of the most exciting new editions is the hiring of Chef Bill Hall. A local native, Hall began his career at Parish Patch near the Normandy area and is best known for his own restaurant in Haley, Our House. Expect the hotel to reopen after renovation by Thanksgiving. ...

Metroblogging Nashville visits Chocolate Expressions (624 Jefferson St. Suite A, Nashville). ... Nashville Foodies visits The Greek Islands (1516A Demonbreun St.) and Antonio's of Nashville (7097 Old Harding Road, Nashville, 615-646-9166). ... reports, "The first "official" Slow Food Dinner of the season is set for October 23 at Margot's Cafe and Bar. Margot is planning the menu - demonstrating the resourcefulness that is sometimes necessary when you choose to eat local. This summer's drought has made for a less-than-bountiful harvest. But the food will be delicious and the evening informative. It's from 7-10 p.m. Cost is $75 per person. Seating is limited to 60. Please call Margot's Cafe directly at 615-227-4668 to make your reservations."

Compiled by Pat Embry,

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Star Chef Flay Set for Barbecue Cook-Off

Food Network star chef Bobby Flay will be featured at the third annual Fiddlin', Brewin', Bar-B-Q'N Cook-Off at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center Sept. 28-29. Barbecue enthusiast Flay will grill specialties of his own in a 90-minute Celebrity Chef Series seminar on Saturday during the cook-off weekend. Go to for more info. ... The Nashville City Paper spotlights soul food staple Silver Sands' chef/owner Nellie McAdoo (937 10th Ave. N., 742-1652) and reports that MafiaoZa's, a popular Italian pizza and pasta restaurant and bar at 2400 12th Avenue South, will expand with a second location in the new Cumberland Yacht Harbor luxury waterfront community near the intersection of Briley Parkway and Lebanon Road. The new restaurant will include a 2,400-foot outdoor dining area. ... The paper also reports that The Palm has passed its Metro Public Health Department inspection after failing both an inspection and a reinspection in August. General manager Scott Denney attributes the trouble primarily to issues with pluming and cooling. ... The Tennessean's Rachel Stults reports the Sept 13 opening of Tossed, a salad-focused restaurant that originated in New York, in Cool Spring’s Aspen Brook Village at the corner of Aspen Grove Drive and Cool Springs Boulevard. The restaurant, which will serve a variety of salads, soups and sandwiches, anchors the 45,000-square-foot center. Aspen Brook Village, when completed, will house office spaces above restaurants and shops and will feature an outdoor plaza with chairs and couches for office workers or customers. In addition to Tossed, some tenants have already been announced, including Cafy’s Roast House, an independently-owned café and bistro that will serve freshly-roasted coffee, breakfast, lunch and dinner. ... Critic Jim Myers reviews the new make-your-own pancake joint The Pfunky Griddle (2800 Bransford Ave., 298-2088) and profiles Paul Komanelis, owner/chef of Pizzereal (203 N. 11th St., 226-2206). ... Dana Kopp Franklin reports on new restaurant replacing Hendersonville's closed September's Cafe. Riyad and Linda Alkasem plan a soft opening for their restaurant, Cafe Rakka and Espresso Bar, as early as Sept. 17-18. A ribbon-cutting and grand opening party will take place in October. Riyad Alkasem describes the menu as Mediterranean and American cuisine. ... The paper also reports that three-story office condominiums are going into the former site of three closed restaurants onn Westgate Circle in Cool Springs, starting with the former Copelands of New Orleans restaurant site. Neighboring Westgate II will be built at a later date on the site of the former Green Hills Grille, followed by the development of Westgate III at the former Sahara restaurant site. ...

The Scene's Carrington Fox compares and contrasts East Nashville pizzerias Pizzereal, Little Italy (412 Woodland St., 248-4949), and Castrillo’s Pizza (1404 McGavock Pike, 226-2900). ... Fox also notes the Sept. 12 birth of Duke Ranier Rayburn, son of noted restaurateur (and first-time papa) Randy Rayburn (Sunset Grill, Midtown Cafe, Cabana) and wife Sonata (a noted Princess Grace Kelly fanatic). ... Veggie blogger Lesley Eats stops by Mirror. ... Given the number of Nashville-area travelers to the Destin/Seagrove area in Florida, news of interest from the Walton Sun in Santa Rosa, Fla: Oli Petit will close 3Thirty1 Café at the end of September. "Petit knew it was coming as U.S. Highway 331 was on the state highway department’s list of roads to be widened and speculation circulated around the community on a regular basis as to when it would happen. The general consensus was hopefully later than sooner. Petit said he found out a month ago. The popular restaurant is ideally situated on the bay at the southern foot of the 331 Bridge. For the time being, Petit said he will be content to just have The Red Bar in Grayton Beach, which he also owns. ... Nashville Restaurants reviews Fido (1812 21st Avenue South, 615-777-FIDO). ... Nashville Foodies visits Jonathan's Grille in Bellevue (7563 Hwy 70 S, 615-646-5233).

Compiled by Pat Embry,

Monday, September 10, 2007

Noted Restaurateur Frank Varallo Jr. Dies

IN THE NEWS: The Tennessean's Colby Sledge reports the passing of longtime Nashville restaurateur Frank Varallo Jr., who died Sept. 9 at age 93. Varallo ran the legendary Varallo's Restaurant, which was founded in 1907, from age 14 after his father's death until he and his wife of 70 years, Eva, retired and closed the popular Church Street chili and meat-n-three emporium in 1999. Visitation was Sept. 10 at Christ the King Church, with a memorial mass set for 1 pm Sept. 11. Popular with downtown business people, politicians, and country music stars, Varallo's remains a part of the downtown scene with Varallo's Too, run by two of Varallo's grandchildren, a weekday lunch spot on Fourth Avenue North. ... Critic Jim Myers reviews Knock Out Wings (130 Jefferson St., 320-322) and profiles Callie Cottrell, chef at Stoveworks (at The Factory at Franklin, 230 Franklin Road, Franklin, 791-6065). ...The Rage's and The Tennessean's Dana Kopp Franklin reports that chef September Norman, owner of the popular Hendersonville restaurant September’s Cafe, will close it for good after lunch on Sept, 12. Norman is working to open a bigger upscale restaurant in another part of Hendersonville. The ambitious new restaurant, called simply September’s, is scheduled to open March 5 in The Streets of Indian Lake, an open-air retail development under construction. ... Franklin also reports that the newly opened Muddea's Famous Chicken and Waffles, the family-owned restaurant in north Nashville (2805 Clarksville Pike. 732-0149. Hours: 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday), has expanded its menu to include combos and expects to add a breakfast buffet in three weeks. ...The City Paper's Alexa Hinton profiles Corrado Savarino, owner of Savarino's Cucina (2121 Belcourt Ave., 460-9878). ... The Scene's Carrington Fox blogs an obituary of Frank Varallo Jr. , reviews stuffed baked potato joint SPUDZ INC. (5908 B Charlotte Pike, 353-5611) and also blogs that it's looking like October for the owners of Parco Cafe (207 Third Ave. N., 259-7863) to return from their summerlong teaching trip to Asia. ... Fox also notes the Sept. 6 release of food columnist Tom Parker Bowles' book "The Year of Eating Dangerously". The son of Prince Charles' second wife, Camilla, chronicles a year's worth of culinary adventures, including stops throughout Asia, Europe and Middle Tennessee. He writes about dining at Prince's Hot Chicken Shack with Mayor Bill Purcell, a devout Prince's disciple. ... Blogger Lannae's Food and Travel visits Margot Cafe (1017 Woodland St, 615-227-4668) and Ombi (2214 Elliston Place, 615-320-5350). ... Blogger Nashville Restaurants considers Lopez Taqueria and Mariscos (3901 Nolensville Road, 615-833-6434) and San Luis Taqueria (Murfreesboro Road at Millwood).

Compiled by Pat Embry,

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sitar Opens South Indian Branch on Church

IN THE NEWS: The Tennessean and The Rage's Dana Kopp Franklin reports the owners of the popular Indian restaurant Sitar have opened a second restaurant, Madras Bhavan, on Church Street in the space formerly held by Taste of India. The restaurant specializes in the cuisine of South India, though it serves familiar northern Indian dishes, as well. (1805 Church St., 327-5400. Hours: lunch 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. and dinner 5-10 p.m. daily.) ... Franklin also reports that the vacant space next to Belle Meade Drugs (85 White Bridge Road) that housed Martha Stamps' former project, Molly P, will become a new cafe, Bridges, by mid-September. Caterer Ann Ainsworth has teamed up with Belle Meade Drugs owner Tom Zazzi to open the cafe, which will serve breakfast and lunch and host private dining in the evening. ... The Tennessean features Murfreesboro's downtown diner institution, the City Cafe, where new owner Scott Perkins has become just the fifth proprietor since the restaurant opened on the public square in 1900. ... Dining critic Jim Myers reviews the new traditional Chinese restaurant Shanghai Cafe (5574 Nolensville Pike. 737-0117), which has area foodies buzzing, and profiles executive chef Kevin Kimmel of Frist Center for the Visual Arts' Frist Center Cafe. ... Let the record show that blogger Lannae's Food and Travel is the first to review Shanghai Cafe. ...

The City Paper profiles Lee Guidry, chef/owner of The Italian Market (411 51st Ave. N., 615-298-3811, ... The Schlotzsky's deli change plans to add 10 restaurants to the Nashville market within the next five years, the City Paper reports. ... The Nashville Business Journal reports that restaurateur and club owner Benjamin Goldberg will open Aerial, a glass-covered meeting and events venue, on the roof of his Paradise Park Trailer Resort honky tonk diner on Lower Broadway in late September. Unlike the redneck themes of Paradise Park - with its trailer park theme - the 2,000-square-foot Aerial is designed to have a sophisticated appeal. ... The Journal also interviews David W. Head, president and COO of locally based fast-casual seafood chain Captain D's. ... The Scene's Carrington Fox reviews the Korean restaurant Seoul Garden (4928 Edmondson Pike #101, 445-3613) and reports on the plans for Red Pony chef-owner Jason McConnell to open the nuevo Mexican restaurant Sol in the former Sandy’s Downtown Grille space (108 Fourth Ave. S) across the street from the Red Pony on Franklin's downtown square. An early November launch date is planned ... Fox also reports on the expected mid-October opening of Prime 108 in the former Arthur's space at the Union Station Hotel (1001 Broadway). Prime 108 takes its title from The Bully 108, the first train engine to come through Union Station. A bas-relief of the train still adorns a wall in the hotel lobby. Chef Tom Cook, who has led catering services for the hotel since late 2005, will head the kitchen. ... Fox also blogs on the Franklin's Saffire restaurant's plans to go green, including the use to-go containers composed of recycled materials. ... And Fox also blogs about the impending Sept. 3 liquor license for Mexican restaurant El Tejado (6317 Charlotte Pike), and the soon-to-open hot dog joint Zackie's is hanging its awning in Germantown in the ground floor of the Summer Street Lofts. ...

Chicken wings chain Wingstop has opened an Antioch location in The Shoppes at Hamilton Crossing at Hamilton Church Road and Murfreesboro Pike, the Green Hills News reports. ... Memphis-based bloggers Dining with Monkeys stops by San Antonio Taco Co (416 21st Ave S, 615-327-4322). ... Bloggers Nashville Foodies stops by Bobbie's Dairy Dip (5301 Charlotte Ave, 615-292-2112, Open Late Apr-Late Oct: Mon 11am-6pm, Tue-Thu 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 12pm-9pm). ... Bloggers Nashville Restaurants review Best of India (5815 Charlotte Pike, 615-352-5335). ... Metroblogging Nashville reviews the new chain McFadden's Restaurant & Pub (134 Second Ave. N) and reports that another Panera Bread is coming to the former Ham 'n Goody's space next to Bittner's on West End Avenue.

Compiled by Pat Embry,

Monday, August 27, 2007

California Pizza Kitchen to Open Sept. 1

IN THE NEWS: California Pizza Kitchen will open its first Nashville restaurant on Sept. 1 inside the new Hill Center in Green Hills, The Tennessean reports. The Los Angeles-based company said it plans to donate 100 percent of its dine-in pizza sales on Sept. 10 to the PENCIL Foundation, a local non-profit group that benefits public schools. ... Jim Myers reviews Knife and Fork meat-n-three spinoff K&F Cafe (324 Gallatin Pike S., 868-9288) and profiles Ellen and Dan Einstein of Sweet 16th -- A Bakery (311 N. 16th St., 615-226-8367)l, while John Boan features Maher Fawaz, owner of Kalamata's Mediterranean Restaurant in Green Hills. ... The City Paper's Elexa Hinton profiles owners Stephen Reed, Sam Houston and Gayle Houston of the new Muddea's Famous Chicken and Waffles (2805 Clarksville Pike, at the MetroCenter Boulevard split, 615-732-0149). ... The Scene's Carrington Fox reviews the new Rosario's (1200 Villa Place, 329-1977) and reports on the expansion plans of Bellevue's City Limits Bakery & Cafe (361 Clofton Drive, 646-0062) to the Shops on the Harpeth retail strip off at 8080 Highway 100, with a hoped for early January 2008 opening. ... Fox also reports that Nolensville Pike's Uncle Gio's Ristorante and bar has opened a sister restaurant, Uncle Gio's Italian Buffet, at 401 Harding Place (332-8391), site of a former Shoney's and of late The Olympic Flame Greek restaurant. ... Fox also reports that Shop at Home network chef Freddy Brooker, formerly of The Trace in Nashville, will help recast the former Chicago Wrigleyville outpost of The Twisted Spoke bar and grill into Brodey's Neighborhood Bar & Grill ((3365 N. Clark St.), named after Nashville investor Bill Thomas' infant son. The Twisted Spoke closed on July 28 but its owners are redoing the original Chicago location at 501 N. Ogden Ave, according to Chicago magazine's Dish column ( ... And Fox also blogs that local restaurant pioneer Jody Faison (Faison’s, 12th & Porter, Iguana, Pub of Love, Café 123, Jody’s Hot Chicken Shack and Jody’s Bar Car) plans to enroll at Nashville School of Law in January, three years after leaving the restaurant business. When he graduates, he’ll have a job waiting for him at the law firm of Durham & Dread, where fellow NSL alumnus Adam Dread plans to ramp up the restaurant-related part of his practice. Dread was Faison's original manager at Faison's. ... Nashville-based barbecue chain Bar-B-Cutie has announced the signing of two master franchise aggreements for up to 55 new locations to be developed in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, reports. Bar-B-Cutie has been in business for 57 years, opening its doors in 1960 on Murfreesboro Road. Eddie and Mildred McFarland purchased the restaurant in 1958, expanding the menu with Southern comfort foods and adding a much larger dining area. The McFarland Family is in its third generation of management. ... The Rage's Dana Franklin reports on the openings of bubble tea cafe Fat Straw (1200 Villa Place, Suite 113, in the Edgehill Village development off Edgehill Avenue, 320-4999) and the lunch-only Mexican spot La Cantina, part of the year-old nightclub LongShot (1524 Demonbreun. 780-0020). ... reviews Green Hills Grille ... reviews El Jaliciense Taqueria (6321 Charlotte Pike, 615-354-5600). ... Lannae's Food and Travel stops by Loveless Cafe (8400 Hwy 100, 615.646.9700) and Boscos (1805 21st. Ave. S., 615-385-0050).

Compiled by Pat Embry,

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Einstein Bros., Max & Erma's Eye Nashville

IN THE NEWS: Einstein Bros. Bagels and Max & Erma's are both launching aggressive expansions and looking to enter the Nashville market, the Nashville Business Journal reports. Einsten Bros. Bagels is owned by Lakewood, Colo.-based Einstein Noah Restaurant Group. According to Securities and Exchange Commission filings in April, the company operates more than 400 stores in 33 states, including 336 company-owned locations and 97 franchised locations. Ohio-based casual dining restaurant Max & Erma's operates 78 casual dining full-service restaurants and franchises 23 restaurants and wants to open an additional 30 franchised locations in the next two years. ... Nashville City Paper's Amy Griffith reports on Belmont University-area neighborhood opposition to a Subway restaurant in the Belmont Boulevard space now occupied by longtime Middle Eastern-Italian restaurant Tabouli's. Arnold Myint, chef/owner of next-door neighbor PM restaurant, says he has gathered nearly 1,000 signatures in a petition protesting the entrance of Subway or any other chain restaurant into the area. Subway restaurants are owned by individual franchises. Bob Bernstein, owner of neighboring Bongo Java coffeehouse, also is quoted. ... The City Paper also profiles Michael King, owner of Monell's Dining and Catering, who says he likes to eat at Zola, Italian Market and Calypso Cafe. ... The Tennessean's Jim Myers reviews Old Hickory Steakhouse at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and also profiles Arnold Myint of PM (2017 Belmont Blvd.), and reports that Myint is buys getting ready to open a second restaurant, Cha-Chah, two doors down from PM at the former Mad Mod space. ... Todd Pack reports the opening of four restaurants at the airport: locally owned Baja Burrito, as well as chains Famous Famiglia Pizzeria, Quiznos Subs, and Burger King. ... The Scene's Carrington Fox also weighs in on Cha-Cha -- it will focus not on the Asian cuisine of PM but on a roster of global tapas, wines and teas. Arnold, who leases the property from mother Patti Myint of International Market restaurant across the street , plans to add patios to both the front and back of the building. ... Fox reviews Los Happy Belly's (895 Murfreesboro Road) and also stops by the new coffeehouse The Mystic (603 Eighth Ave., next to Arnold's. The Mystic serves sandwiches, muffins and the like from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. ... Fox also reports that Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management has a new on-campus dining option. Maher Fawaz, owner of Kalamata’s Mediterranean restaurant, is partnering with second-year student Andrea Jacome to provide food to the student-run 8:10 Café. ... In the Bites blog, Liz Garrigan swills cheap wine at Brandon's in the Arcade, while Tracy Moore is in a pfunk after dining at Pfunky Griddle. ... The Rage's Dana Franklin reports that struggling Vino wine bar in East Nashville (700 Fatherland St.) has a new chef and a bigger menu that changes daily. She also reports on the openings of Caffe di Pranzo (2806 Columbine Place) in Berry Hill, and McFadden's Restaurant and Saloon (134 Second Ave. N), and the expected opening in another two or three weeks of Rumours East (1112 Woodland St.). ... review Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack (123 Ewing Drive) and The Standard (167 8th Ave North).

Compiled by Pat Embry,

Monday, August 13, 2007

East Nashville Awaits Rumours East Debut

IN THE NEWS: This past weekend's East Nashville Tomato Art Festival served as a sneak preview for the tapas and wine from Rumours East, a wine bar owned by Christy Shuff and Whitney Ferre. The new business, which fills the spot of the former Red Wagon Cafe at 1112 Woodland St., is a spinoff of the 12 South favorite, Rumours Wine and Art Bar. Their website,, says to expect a mid-August opening, so it's any day now ... Indianapolis-based chain Steak n Shake recently began testing a build-your-own burger concept in its Nashville-based locations (5000 Old Hickory Blvd, 5426 Target Dr, 719 Myatt Dr), the Indianapolis Star reports. ... The Tennessean's Jim Myers reviews Smyrna's The Chicken Shack (37 S. Lowry, Smyrna) and profiles Guerry McComas, executive chef at The Yellow Porch (734 Thompson Lane). ... Ken Beck looks at Lebanon and the upcoming Wilson County Fair (Aug. 17-25) and mentioned local eateries Sunset Restaurant (640 S. Cumberland, Lebanon) and Snow White Drive-In (1714 West Main St., Lebanon). ... The City Paper reviews I Dream of Weenie (1108 Woodland St.) ... Grand opening parties were scheduled for Aug. 10-12 at McFadden's Restaurant and Saloon (134 2nd Avenue S.), former site of Market Street Brewery, reports. ... The Rage's Dana Franklin notes the relatively new pizza place NYPD Pizza at 401 S. Mt. Juliet Road in Mt. Juliet, part of a Florida-based chain. ... Will Ayers reviews Sub Stop (1701 Broadway). ... takes another visit to the new Rosario's. ... reviews Scoreboard Bar and Grill (2408 Music Valley Drive) and Muddea’s Famous Chicken and Waffles (2805 Clarksville Pike). ... The Scene's Carrington Fox stops by the new Caffe di Pranzo, the new eat-in-or-take-out Italian spot in Berry Hill, in the location of the now-departed Mothership BBQ (2806 Columbine Place).

Compiled by Pat Embry,

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Several Locals Win 'Wine Spectator' Honors

IN THE NEWS: Recent winners of Wine Spectator's prestigious Awards of Excellence include: Capitol Grille, Fleming's, Morton's, Old Hickory Steakhouse, Ruth's Chris, Sperry's, Stock-Yard, Sunset Grill, The Melting Pot, The Palm, Trace, Valentino's, and Watermark. ... The Scene's Carrington Fox reviews the new Blue Moon Lagoon (525 Basswood Drive) and reports on the expected week of Aug. 7 opening of Highway 100 neighborhood bistro Wildwood Oak-Fired Kitchen (8128 Highway 100). It's a joint venture between an unnamed well-known local restaurant industry vet and chef John David Crow, a California Culinary Academy grad and former chef at SkyCity, the Space Needle restaurant in Seattle. ... Mr. Greek, the Ontario, Canadian-born Greek chain, has signed a multi-unit franchising agreement to bring three restaurants to the Nashville area. The new franchisees, who are also owners of several gas stations in the Tennessee area, expect to open their first by early 2008. Mr. Greek serves authentic Greek and Mediterranean cuisine in both casual dining and fast casual restaurants. ... Fox also reports, "Arnold Myint, owner of PM restaurant on Belmont Boulevard, is circulating a petition to customers and friends asking them to help preserve the independent culture of the neighborhood. At issue is the future of the building located next door to PM, which currently houses Tabouli's restaurant. Myint says that Tabouli's is closing and that a Subway franchisee is planning to lease the space. (The owner of Tabouli's hasn't returned phone calls for several days.) Desperate to keep the ubiquitous sandwich chain from invading the street where he grew up (Arnold's parents Patti and Win founded the International Market), Myint is looking for any alternative. Separately, chef Jason Brumm, owner of Radius10 in The Gulch, is trying to solve the problem in his own way. Having heard about the possible encroachment of Subway, Brumm hoped to take over the lease of 2015 Belmont Blvd. Things were looking good for a while last week, but negotiations stalled [Aug. 6]. If you want to sign Myint's petition, stop by PM, located at 2017 Belmont Blvd. ... Naresh Kumar, owner of Sitar restaurant on 21st Avenue, is taking over the space on Church Street that formerly housed Taste of India restaurant. Kumar, a native of Punjab in northern India, is renovating the space and expects to launch Madras Bhavan sometime [soon] ... It took a little longer than originally anticipated, but it looks like Judge Bean's Frijoles will open in the former location of Hap Townes legendary restaurant by [this week]. Aubrey Bean, whose Judge Beans Bar-B-Que is a little bit of Texas at the north end of The Gulch, is expanding his brisket empire to 493 Humphreys Street. Judge Bean's Frijoles will be open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and will serve breakfast tacos as well as the Texas-style barbecue brisket that has made the 12th Avenue North restaurant a local landmark." ... P.J. Tobia reports, "Alexia Cabrera, owner and chef of Nola’s on West End, will be going back to her native Uruguay following the death of her father. Anyone interested in buying Nola’s could contact her directly: (615) 341-3693." ...

The Nashville City Paper profiles Autumn Stone, pastry chef at Murfreesboro's Front Porch Café. ... The Rage and The Tennessean's Dana Kopp Franklin notes the opening of Woodline Wine Merchant (1001 Woodland St., and the new Korean restaurant Seoul Garden (4928 Edmondson Pike). ... Critic Jim Myers raves about the mole sauce in his review of the new Mexican eatery Rosario's (1200 Village Place). ... Kimberly Daly previews East Nashville's Tomato Art Festival, set for 10 am-6 pm Saturday, Aug. 11. and mentions area restaurants Marche Artisen Foods (100 Main St.,, 3 Crow Bar (1020 Woodland St.) and Pied Piper Creamery (114 S 11th St.). ... The Rage looks at ice cream shops, including Pied Piper Creamery, Ben & Jerry's (416 21st Ave S.), Mike's Ice Cream Fountain (208 Broadway), Shake's Frozen Custard (1210 Murfreesboro Road, Franklin), and The Marble Slab (Cool Springs Crosss, 1745 Galleria Blvd, Franklin). ... USA Today rounds up tiki bars, including: Portland's Alibi Lounge, River Grove (Ill.)'s Hala Kahiki, Los Angeles' Tiki-Ti, San Francisco's Tonga Room, Atlanta's Trader Vic's, Saugus (Mass.)'s Kowloon, Fort Lauderdale's Mai-Kai, and Smyrna (Tenn.)'s Omni Hut. ... Lannae's Food and Travel blog visits Prince's Hot Chicken Shack (123 Ewing) and Germantown Cafe (1200 Fifth Avenue). ... review Thai Taste (395 Haywood Lane), and Old Timers Pit Barbecue (4003 Clarksville Pike).

Compiled by Pat Embry,

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Franklin's Sandy's Downtown Grille Closes

IN THE NEWS: The Tennessean's Kevin Walters reports July 30 that Sandy’s Downtown Grille in Franklin has closed its doors: "Brown paper covers the windows of the popular downtown Franklin restaurant and signs announcing its closing are hung in the doorway windows. "We want to thank the community and our loyal customers who have kept us in business for the last five and a half years," reads the signs’ text. Neither the restaurant's owner, Sandy Ligon, nor the building’s owner, Tommy Shell, could be reached for comment. The restaurant is located in the Harrison Building, which was once the home of the Bennett Campbell Hardware Store. The building is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and won the 1986 Heritage Foundation Preservation and Restoration Award of Excellence." ... The Tennessean's Anne Paine reports on Boscos and other restaurants getting a head start on the statewide Oct. 1 ban on smoking in most public buildings. ... Jim Myers reviews F. Scott's (210 Crestmoor Road) and profiles Kazuhira Hishida, chef/owner of Kazu Restaurant (209 10th Ave. S.), while John Boan profiles The Bluebird Cafe and F. Scott's, celebrating their 25th and 20th anniversaries, respectively. ... The paper reports that now Nashville-based Mexican fast food chain Del Taco has opened its first Tennessee branch, combined with sister company Captain D's in Mt. Juliet. ... The Rage's and The Tennessean's Dana Kopp Franklin notes Berry Hill's new cook-your-own-pancake eatery The Pfunky Griddle (2800 Bransford Ave.) and reports that Cool Springs' Criallo's Bistro & Bar (1935 Mallory Lane, Franklin) has a new chef, Robert "Gus" Baker. ... Nashville City Paper profiles Margot McCormack of Margot Cafe and Bar, who says she likes to eat at Hot Kabob, Sitar, Kien Giang, Benkay (aka Sonobana) and Siam Cafe. ...

The Scene's Carrington Fox reviews the new menu at East Nashville's The Family Wash (2038 Greenwood Ave.) and blogs about: the opening of Will Motley's Woodland Wine Merchant (1001 Woodland St.) in East Nashville ... Mack & Kates Cafe & Wine Bar in Kingston Springs has a new chef, David Billings, who joins Michael Czapleski in the kitchen of Bernie and Jan Strawn's Kingston Springs landmark. With a résumé that includes time as a sous chef at The Inn at Blackberry Farm, Billings replaces chef Devon Malcolm. In March, Malcolm took over the kitchen at the Strawns' sister restaurant, Macke's, in Green Hills, replacing Darrell Manhold. Manhold left Macke's last spring has most recently landed at the Pineapple Room Restaurant at Cheekwood, where he is in the process of updating the menu, which is expected to be ready in early September. ... Fox also notes the opening of Korean eatery Seoul Garden (4928 Edmondson Pike, in the H.G. Hill Center across from Southern Hills) and has an interesting blog item about the restaurant preferences of Nashville's mayoral candidates: "... David Briley likes Pancake Pantry, Rotier's and Margot. Howard Gentry likes Shoney's. Bob Clement likes to dine at home—or at Bistro 215. Guess who likes Jimmy Kelly's? (Not exactly man-of-the-people grub there, Karl Dean.) Used car salesman Kenneth Eaton is a McDonald's man. Dozier, touted as the meat-and-three mayor, likes Swett's. No matter who wins the Sept. 11 runoff, the runaway winner in this poll is Noshville, named as the favorite breakfast spot by Clement, Dean and Buck Dozier. J. Alexander's got shout-outs from Gentry and Eaton ..." ...

After adding two new stores with another in the works for Memphis, Bach's Lunch is setting its sights on other markets, including Nashville and Orlando, the Memphis Business Journal reports. The company recently added Memphis locations at the First Tennessee Building Downtown and Southwind Office Center B, bringing the total number of Bach's Lunch locations to five. Expansion continues with a planned location in a southeast Memphis office building. ... Following up on a previously reported story, Nashville Post's Richard Lawson reports that DWC Construction is renovating 1,695 square feet of space at 1222 Fourth Ave. N. in Germantown for a restaurant named City House, a new Italian restaurant scheduled to open this fall with Tandy Wilson III, sous chef at Margot Café in East Nashville and his wife Anne Kostroski, pastry chef at Margot’s. The permit is valued at $350,000. ... Bloggers review PM Restaurant (2017 Belmont Blvd.) and takeout stand Real Deal Bar-B-Q (Clarksville Hwy/West Hamilton). ... The Rage's Will Ayers visits PM, and the paper also rounds up other sushi joints, including: Hanabi Japanese Restaurant (214 Ward Circle, Brentwood), Ru San's (505 12th Ave. S.), Sam's Sushi (220 Fourth Ave. N.), Samurai Sushi (2209 Elliston Place), Sushin (528 N. Thompson Lane, Murfreesboro), and Virago (1811 Division St.), while also reporting that Virago recently has gone to an age 21-and-over policy. ... discovers South Nashville's Thai Taste. ... Blogger Lannae's Food and Travel visits Noshville (1918 Broadway).

Compiled by Pat Embry,

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sullivan's Steakhouse Set for Downtown

IN THE NEWS: Sullivan's Steakhouse is getting ready to replace the long-dormant Seanachie pub at the corner of Broadway and Fourth Avenue, the Nashville Business Journal reports. The Wichita, Kansas-based high-end steak chain went private last December and separated from Lone Star, its former publicly traded parent. That slowed plans for the prime spot in Nashville, says Mark Mednansky, CEO of Sullivan's. ... The Rage and The Tennessean's Dana Kopp Franklin visits the new Lazzaroli Pasta (1314 Fifth Ave. N.) and reports, "Muddea's Famous Chicken & Waffles, a new restaurant specializing in fried chicken, omelets and a multitude of different kinds of waffles, is scheduled to open its doors at the end of July. The restaurant at 2805 Clarksville Pike is owned and operated by Atlanta hospitality veteran Sam Houston and his wife, Gayle. Her son Stephen Reed is the chief cook, and other members of the family are helping in the business, as well. The name Muddea comes from "my dear," a common endearment in Southern black families. Gayle Houston says her 97-year-old aunt Anna Floyd is the Muddea who inspired the restaurant. The menu will also feature recipes from Houston's 99-year-old mother, who goes by the name Miss Dee. Look for the menu to include Miss Dee's macaroni and cheese. Restaurant hours will be 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Saturday hours will be until 8 p.m. with the opening time still to be determined. Muddea's is set to open with a ribbon-cutting on July 30. A grand opening celebration will come about a month later." ... Critic Jim Myers doesn't care a lot about the Gulch's new Lot 7 and also profiles Wolfgang Ebenbichler, vice president of food and beverage at Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. ... The paper's Jenny Song reports on the increase of diners using online reservations services such as and ReServe Interactive to make reservations. Local restaurants using OneTable include: B.B. King's Blues Club, Cabana, Capitol Grille at the Hermitage Hotel, Commerce Street Grille at Renaissance Hotel, Flyte World Dining and Wine, Midtown Cafe, Morton's the Steakhouse, Radius 10, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Sambuca Restaurant, Sperry's Restaurant, Sunset Grill, The Mad Platter, The Palm, The Trace, and Watermark Restaurant. ... The July 22 travel section includes a Ken Beck feature on neighboring Smyrna, including restaurants Andrea's Home of Baking Bread (119 Front St.), The Chicken Shack (37 S. Lowry St.), and Mac-A-Licious Ice Cream and More (120 Front St.) ... The paper's Juanita Thouin reports that renovations will begin next month on the Lower Broadway building that houses Big River Grille and Brewing Works. The brewpub will continue at the site as renovations include adding a Second Avenue entrance. ...

The Nashville City Paper profiles Jimmy Kelly's owner Mike Kelly, who says he likes to dine at Sunset Grill, Midtown Cafe, Mambu, Noshville, and Tin Angel. ... The paper's Amy Griffith reports on the struggles of East Nashville's new Vino Wine Bar, in an historic building at Fatherland and Seventh streets, whose owner Clinton Doss is looking for a buyer for the building. Vino owner Linda Forceno is now on a month-by-month lease plan and has had a difficult time attracting customers to the out-of-the-way spot. ... In a New York Times story on Nashville's Kurdish gangs, the Kurdish restaurant al-Rasoul on Nolensville Pike is mentioned. ... The Scene's Carrington Fox reviews The Italian Market (411 51st Ave. N) and notes that Parco Cafe (207 Third Ave. N, facing Printer's Alley) is now open only for dinner Thurs-Sat, and chef-owner Tsuo Chuan and wife Chun Fu are considering relocating back to their native Asia permanently. ... The Scene also has launched a new foodie blog called Bites ... stops by Las Paletas for Mexican Popsicles, as well as Nola's (2912 West End Avenue). ... visits Ed’s Fish House (1801 Dr. D.B. Todd Jr. Blvd.). ... raves about House of Pizza (15 Arcade), and visits Basil Asian Bistro in Cool Springs.

Compiled by Pat Embry,

Monday, July 16, 2007

J. Gumbo's Cajun Chain Eyes Nashville

IN THE NEWS: Business First of Louisville reports, "The name might no longer be "Gumbo A Go-Go," but the rechristened restaurant company is ready to go-go across the nation with what a new group of franchising executives believe will be the next hot Louisville-based franchise concept. The owners of the J. Gumbo's Down-Home Cajun Cookin' chain plan to add stores during the next few months in such markets as Chicago, Las Vegas, Nashville and New Orleans, said Don Larose, president of the parent company, Gumbo Development LLC." ... The Nashville City Paper profiles Juanita Lane, baker/owner of Dulce Desserts on Village Place, who eats chicken salad from Edgehill Studio next door and also frequents Kien Giang, F. Scott's, and Cabana ... The Tennessean's Danica Booth profiles Barbara Kuzma of Noshville in Green Hills, a veteran waitress with past stints at Shoney's and Uncle Bud's. ... The paper also profiles Joe Townsend, chef at Plumgood Food ( ... Wendy Lee reports on the opening of an O'Charley's branch at the renovating Nasville International Airport. Other restaurants being phased in at the airport over the next two years: Whitt's Barbecue, Bongo Java, Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, Swett's, Noshville, and Neely's Bar-B Que. ... Critic Jim Myers reviews The Savannah Tea House on Eighth Avenue South. ... The Rage's Will Ayers reviews Second Avenue's Pita Pit. ... The Rage's Dana Kopp Franklin reports, "Rosario's, the long-awaited Mexican restaurant in the Edgehill Village development (1200 Villa Place, suite 100, in Edgehill Village. 329-1977. Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday), opened its doors last weekend (July 6-7-8). The staff aims to serve Mexican food made from scratch using family recipes, all presented in a hipper environment than a standard taco house. The owners, Daniel Barragan and Robert Shelton, moved to Nashville from Southern California specifically to open Rosario's. Barragan is a native of Mexico City who moved to the U.S. as a teen. He says he's using authentic Mexican recipes crafted by his mom, Rosario (hence the restaurant's name). He brings years of experience as a restaurant manager, mostly with California's Hof's Hut chain.The recipes are mostly Rosario's, but Barragan and Shelton have recruited chef Byron Bernal, who has worked in the kitchen at Caffe Nonna, to be in charge of executing the cuisine. ... Kopp also notes the upcoming opening of Mad Donna's, the new restaurant going into the former Radio Cafe space. ... In the July 2007 issue, Nashville Lifestyles' Kay West reviews Eastland Cafe. ... The Scene's Carrington Fox reviews The Acorn (114 28th Ave. N.) and notes East Nashville's new I Dream of Weenie and The Veggie Café. ... Nashville Restaurants review 3 Crow Bar (1020 Woodland Street), the Whites Creek Farmers Market (4409 Whites Creek Pike, Whites Creek at Old Hickory Blvd.), and 400 Degrees (2012 Clarksville Pike).

By Pat Embry,

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Shake's Custard Closes Lipscomb Branch

IN THE NEWS: Shake's Frozen Custard at 4002 Granny White Pike near Lipscomb University has closed as of its last day, July 7. (A last root beer float will be long remembered ...) The Franklin Shake's (1210 Murfreesboro Pike) remains in operation, however. ... The Tennessean's Angela Patterson reports that Mad Donna's Restaurant and Lounge is aiming for an August opening. The owners are in the process of transforming the structure at 1311 Woodland (the former Radio Cafe) to accommodate a restaurant downstairs, and a separate bar and entertainment area upstairs. The restaurant will follow a casual dining concept; salads and appetizers will share space on the menu with steaks, chicken and fish entrees. For the first few months, Mad Donna's will open at 5 p.m. for dinner--lunch hours may be added later, a spokeswoman said. ... The Tennessean's Heather Donahue reports on the June 30 closing after 18 years of China Hut restaurant on Pewitt Drive in Brentwood, which could be the catalyst for a new era in the Town Center corridor. Kwan Ming and Susie Lo opened China Hut in 1989, leasing the modest space from building owner Jon Norris. Susie Lo, 50, said she and her husband, 60, are closing China Hut for health considerations. ... The Tennessean reports Austin, Texas-based Schlotzsky's deli plans to open 10 additional restaurant in Nashville over the next five years. ... The Nashville City Paper profiles Rick Bolsom, owner of Tin Angel, and reports on the first-ever Music City Hot Chicken Festival on July 4. The East Nashville festival attracted a crowd of thousands to sample from the likes of Prince's Hot Chicken Shack, Bolton's Spicy Chicken & Fish, and 400 Degrees. ...The Scene's Jack Silverman spotlights the resurgence of East Nashville in a July 5 cover story, mentioning restaurants Margot Cafe, Marche Artisan Foods, and Batter'd and Fried. ... Carrington Fox reviews tayst. ... The Rage's Dana Kopp Franklin details the recent openings of Sip Cafe (1402 McGavock Pike), I Dream of Weenie (1108 Woodland St.), and The Veggie Cafe (1312 McGavock Pike). ... reviews Eastland Café (97 Chapel Ave).

Compiled and reported by Pat Embry,

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Kix Brooks' Winery Opens in Arrington

In THE NEWS: The Tennessean's Charles Booth reports the July 1 opening of Arrington Vineyards, which is owned by country music star Kix Brooks and Brentwood residents Fred Mindermann and Kip Summers, will have its 11 different varieties of wine available for tasting and purchase beginning at noon. The winery, located in rural Arrington off Patton Road, will be the only place the locally produced wine will be sold. Wine tasting is free, but patrons will only get a half-ounce of each wine. Bottles can be purchased and consumed on the property, and a large deck with a view of the surrounding hills is equipped with tables for this purpose. Arrington Vineyards will be open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. ... The Rage and Tennessean columnist Dana Kopp Franklin reports on the recent opening of Blue Moon Lagoon, the long-awaited new seafood-centric restaurant at Rock Harbor Marina. The restaurant space at the marina had been empty since 2005, when Buddy ''Uncle Bud'' Rogers closed his catfish-centered restaurant there. The current owners are Steve Ford and music business veteran Erv Woolsey; they hired high-profile chef Scott Alderson to create the menu. (525 Basswood Drive. 354-1318. Hours: 5-9:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday; 5-10:30 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. The bar opens at 2 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday-Sunday, and it stays open later than the kitchen.). ... The Veggie Cafe will open its temporary location July 1 at 1312 McGavock Pike, the Tennessean's Angela Patterson reports. A subsidiary of Prestige Consulting Group, LLC, The mobile kitchen will serve delicious vegetarian and vegan dishes including sandwich wraps, soups and salads and non-dairy smoothies. Co-owner Dawn Fears said the menu that is 90 percent vegetarian, with an emphasis on organic foods grown here in Tennessee. Prestige plans to open a brick-and-mortar Veggie Café this fall. Until it opens, the company will use its mobile kitchen. The mobile Veggie Cafe will open from 10:30 am–6 pm Monday-Friday. Orders can be called in at 495-8888. ... The Tennessean profiles chef Donald Main of Tin Angel, whose favorite area restaurants include Kien Giang, Mambu and Caffe Nonna. ... The Rage looks at wine and cheese pairings. ...

The Scene's Carrington Fox reviews Belmont Boulvard's superlative PM. ... Fox also reports on the scheduled late summer opening of a Cool Springs (401B Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 220) branch of Hillsboro Village's popular McDougal's chicken fingers and wings joint as well as the recent departure of chef Joe Shaw from Watermark. Writes Fox, "Citing an amicable departure with Watermark’s owner, health care executive Jerry Brown, Shaw is exploring other culinary opportunities but has no clear next step. “I very much want to stay in Nashville. It has become my home in the last two years,” says Shaw, an Alabama native who worked in catering and at Frank Stitt’s Bottega restaurant in Birmingham before the launch of Watermark in November 2005. Chef de cuisine Sean Norton will oversee the kitchen and the current migration to the summer menu. ... Nashville City Paper profiles Restaurant Zola chef and co-owner Deb Paquette, who reveals a fondness for peanut M&Ms, and a talent for riding a unicycle. ... The City Paper also reports that Dippin Dots, which is headquartered in Paducah, Ky., but whose founder Curt Jones and company president Tom Leonard both live in the Nashville area, may move some of their operations to Nashvillle. Dippin' Dots recently opened a franchise store at the Kroger Plaza on Nolensville Pike in Brentwood and plans to open another location in Spring Hill sometime in July. ... Bloggers Nashville Restaurants review Piranha’s (113 2nd Ave. North).

Compiled by Pat Embry,

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Critic Picks His Favorite Baker's Dozen

IN THE NEWS: Tennessean critic Jim Myers lists his 13 favorite area restaurants of the moment:

Capitol Grille (231 Sixth Ave. N.)
Carolyn's Homestyle Kitchen (330 Charlotte Ave.)
Eastland Cafe (97 Chapel Ave.)
Hanabi Japanese Restaurant (214 Ward Circle, Brentwood)
International Market (2010 Belmont Blvd.)
Margot Cafe & Bar (1017 Woodland St.)
Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint (7215 Nolensville Pike, Nolensville)
Ombi (2214 Elliston Place)
Parco Cafe (207 Third Ave. N.)
Prince's Hot Chicken Shack (123 Ewing Drive)
Sportman's Grille (1601 21st Ave. S.)
Watermark (507 12th Ave. S.)
Woodland's Indian Restaurant (3415 West End Ave.)

...The Tennessean's Dana Kopp Franklin reports that Caffeine, a coffeehouse and music venue that was a key business on the Demonbreun restaurant row, has closed. No explanation is posted on the locked front door at 1516 Demonbreun St., and the phone number has been disconnected. The interior appears partly dismantled, with tables and chairs removed and a couple of lone bottles of Italian soda lingering on an abandoned counter. ... The paper also profiles Patrick Martin, owner-pitmaster of Martin's BBQ Joint, 7215 Nolensville Pike, Nolensville. ... The Rage's Will Ayers features power tables, and celebrities who love them, at Watermark (507 12th Ave. S), The Loveless Cafe (8400 Highway 100) and Midtown Cafe (102 19th Ave. S). ... The Rage also samples the coolest cocktails in town at Cabana, Rumba, Saltgrass Steakhouse, South Street Smokehouse & Crab Shack, and Virago ... San Antonio-based Church's Chicken, operator and franchiser of more than 1,600 fast-food chicken restaurants in 18 countries, announced a new partnership with a business brokerage outfit that will accelerate its new store opening program through strategic franchisee-recruitment methods, reports. Markets targeted for growth include Jacksonville, Orlando, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Detroit, Raleigh/Durham, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and Nashville. .. Nashville City Paper profiles Sri Laka native Patricia Nalini Paiva, owner and proprietor of Aurora Bakery, who says she likes to eat at Nolensville Pike neighbor Istanbul Cafe. ...... The Scene's Carrington Fox reviews the new Greek eatery Olympic Flame Family Restaurant (401 Harding Place in the old Shoney's at Harding and Nolensville). ... Fox reports on the hoped-for July 7 opening of Berry Hill's all-day breakfast joint The Pfunky Griddle (2800 Bransford Ave.) and notes the recent opening of Lot 7 in the Gulch (125 12th Ave. N), Lazzaroli Pasta in Germantown (1314 Fifth Ave. N) and Sip Cafe in East Nashville's Riverside Village (1402 McGavock Pike next to Castrillo's Pizza). ... Nashville Foodies visits Edgehill Studios Cafe (1201 Villa Place). ... Nashville Restaurants stops by the Latin-Caribbean eatery Los Happy Belly’s (895 Murfreesboro Road). ... Metroblogging Nashville reviews Brentwood's China Hut and stops by Sip Cafe. ... The Painter family is now offering Painturos, their pizza restaurant in Lebanon and Gallatin, as a regional franchise, the Nashville Business Journal reports. Tennessee is the initial focus of the franchise push, but the Painters say in a news release they expect to expand nationally. Nick Painter is a former general manager of the former Houston's restaurant in Nashville. ... The Dallas Morning News' Larry Bleiberg writes on taking Roadfood editors Michael and Jane Stern's recent guided dining tour of Nashville, with stops at Loveless Cafe, the original Sylvan Park diner, Prince's Hot Chicken Shack, Swett's, Monell's, and Henpeck Market outside Franklin.

Compiled by Pat Embry,

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Fifth Quarter Closes After 30 Years

IN THE NEWS: The Fifth Quarter, a longtime staple in the local restaurant community, closed without warning June 18 after more than 30 years in business, The Tennessean's Jim Myers reports. Opened in 1973 by Ray Danner, former chairman of Shoney's Inc., the Thompson Lane restaurant anchored a chain that grew to 13 locations at its peak. "The Nashville location was no longer viable for that concept," said Frances Guess, executive vice president of the Danner Co., which owns the two remaining Fifth Quarter restaurants, in Kentucky and West Virginia, along with three Wendy's franchises and three Davy Crockett's Roadhouse locations in Middle Tennessee. Guess said it was strictly a business decision, and the company has no plans at this time to close the remaining locations. ... The Mall at Green Hills' owner has purchased the site of the La Paz restaurant at 3808 Cleghorn Ave. for $3.15 million, the Tennessean reports. ... The paper profiles chef-owner Carolyn Simmons of downtown soul food restaurant Carolyn's Homestyle Kitchen (330 Charlotte Ave.), who explains the origin of her odd 1:50 pm closing time. ... Myers reviews Genie's Persian Palace (1133 Murfreesboro Road, 6990 Moores Lane, Brentwood). ... All the Rage and Tennessean columnist Dana Kopp Franklin reports, "The ambitious Lot 7 has quietly opened its doors at 125 12th Ave. N. next to Judge Bean's BBQ and across from 12th & Porter. It's a restaurant and lounge with an eye-popping interior, including a glassed-in waterfall illuminated in morphing colors, 20-foot stone columns and mood-enhancing video projected on sheer curtains and windows. Ben Lowe (formerly of Virago, B.B. King's and Cheesecake Factory), who co-owns Lot 7 with Jacob Williams and Charles Beller, describes the atmosphere as a West Coast-style lounge. It has a lighter feel than the typical converted warehouse, with walls and ceilings painted a creamy white. It's blissfully non-smoking indoors, though smoking is allowed "on the patio, under the stars," Lowe says. The moderately priced dinner menu looks comfortable and enticing; dishes include pumpkin ravioli filled with three kinds of mushroom and Mongolian beef with coconut-jasmine rice. The menu was created by Edgar Pendley, recruited from Sperry's in Cool Springs to serve as executive chef. Originally, the Lot 7 team had said chef Jason Brumm of radius10 would create the menu, but Brumm proved too busy for the venture, according to Lowe." Lot 7 is at 125 12th Ave. N. 252-9519. Hours: 6-11 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday for dinner; the bar opens at 5:30 and stays open later. ... Kopp also reports the not-unexpected closing of Mothership BBQ in Berry Hill. Owner Jim Reams is actively seeking a new location, this time at a spot with a beer license. Check his blog at for updates. ... The Rage's Will Ayers reviews Back to Cuba. ...

Quick-service restaurant chain Back Yard Burgers Inc. of Memphis is being acquired by an investment partnership that includes Nashville restaurant executive C. Stephen Lynn (former Shoney's and Sonic exec) and local private equity firm Pharos Capital Group LLC, the Nashville Business Journal reports. ... Off The Grill is expanding in the Nashville area, opening a new store in Antioch and planning to open two additional stores in the Hendersonville and Lenox Village areas later this year, the Journal reports. Including the new Antioch store at 811 Hamilton Crossing, there are five Nashville area Off The Grill restaurants. The company plans to open 10 to 12 restaurants before the end of the year. Off The Grill restaurants specialize in delivery and offer items such as steaks, burgers, chicken, pork chops and salmon. ... The Nashville City Paper profiles Sole Mio owner and executive chef Giancarlo Agnoletti, who says he enjoys dining at Peter's Sushi in Brentwood. ... The Peanut Shop (19 Arcade), the longest running business in downtown's historic Arcade, was to host an 80th Birthday Celebration on June 20 from 11 am-3 pm with free cake, prizes, peanut samples and an appearance by Mr. Peanut. ... Morton's The Steakhouse (618 Church St) recently finished renovations by expanding the bar and dining room areas. The bar area has its own name, Bar 12 21, and special menu. Items include prime cheeseburgers, chicken strips, petite filet mignon sandwiches, and crab, spinach and artichoke dip. Prices range from $7-$11 and during "power hour" prices are $4 each. Morton's offers "power hour" from 5-6:30 pm and 9:30-11 pm, Mon-Fri. ... The Scene's Carrington Fox reviews the newly revived Nero's Grill (2122 Hillsboro Pike in Green Hills, and notes the upcoming Taste of Music City benefit on Saturday, June 23, from 5 to 9 p.m. on downtown's Gateway Bridge. Sponsored by Nissan, the event will feature food from restaurants such as Bound’ry, South Street, Dan McGuinness, Boscos and MaFiaoZa’s Pizzeria. Tickets are $45 in advance, $55 at the door and $10 for children ages 4 to 10. Fifteen percent of net ticket sales will benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. For tickets, visit ... Nashville Foodies reviews Savannah Tearoom. ... Nashville Restaurants reviews Joe’s Bar-B-Que (3716 Clarksville Pike).

Compiled by Pat Embry,