Sylvan Park: Eat, Shop, Walk

It boggles my mind when someone says they have never been into Import Flowers, The Produce Place or Star Bagel. Granted, this is all a stone’s throw from my house, as I live walking distance from the great neighborhood of Sylvan Park. But, this whole neighborhood is worth checking out–it’s a hot place to live and also a great place to find fun.

For starters, in case you are unfamiliar with Sylvan Park, here is a map. Most, but not all, of the businesses are near the bend in the road at Murphy & 46th.

Here are a few of the jewels you should know about and frequent while in the Sylvan Park area:

Import Flowers and All Season Greenhouses

As I’ve already mentioned, it FLOORS me when I run into people who have not been to Import Flowers. This wholesale florist works with many party planners and accommodates very large orders. But, you can also walk in and pick up a single rose or whatever is seasonal that catches your eye. They import from all over the world, as well as regionally. While I shop here often, I have a soft spot for the flowering branches, autumn bittersweet and boxes of moss. At All Season Greenhouses, located up the hill from McCabe Park, you will find your flowers and shrubs to actually plant in your garden.

 

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The Russian Shell Station

Okay, you need to stop by this place. They are so friendly and they genuinely want to help you explore their many Eastern European, Russian, Greek and other international offerings. Yes, this is a Shell Gas Station, a service station actually. And, as an aside, as all of Nashville struggled to find gas during the September 2008 gas shortage, I never had a problem here. It was an insider’s secret. The fact that you can’t pay by credit card at the pump (you have to go inside to pay) may have been the reason. But, nonetheless, I learned to embrace this gas station during that city-wide crisis.

Here, you will find cured meats from around the word, black and red caviar, Russian sodas, Eastern European candies (even a Vodka Chocolate) and international beers. You can even get a “hunter’s sausage” (huge meat stick) for $1. I’ve purchased their smoked salmon, and my next purchase will be the Zucchini Spread from Georgia (the European country Georgia, that is, not the US state)

  • Sylvan Park Shell: 4400 Murphy Road Nashville, TN 37209

 

 

 

 

 

Park Cafe, Caffe Nonna and Miel

These are the three higher end restaurants in Sylvan Park. Each is unique, locally owned, and highly praised. At Park Cafe, the pork chop and the macaroni and cheese with chilis are standouts. Caffe Nonna has a different shining menu item depending on who you talk to, but for me it’s the portabello and blue cheese salad. At Miel, I’m not sure how to pick, as I just started eating here recently even though I’ve heard nonstop wonderful things for years. And, it deserves this praise from what I have experienced. I also want to make sure you know about the “barn” at Miel. This adjacent building holds wine tastings, but you can also rent it and have Miel prepare the food for less money than you might think. You can even BYOB. It holds 30 people seated or 45 standing cocktail style. Perfect for business dinners, rehearsal dinners, birthday parties—or just gather 15 couples and have everyone throw some money in a hat to pay for the dinner!

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Miel, located behind Bobby’s Dairy Dip.

 

Star Bagel, Neighbors, Nonna Pizzeria and Local Taco

Star Bagel is always packed for breakfast and the weekends are a madhouse. That said, as impatient as I am, I go because they are nice, they offer an almond milk latte, their plain coffee is superb, and my kids ask specifically for these bagels. Grab-and-go salads also pull me in.

 

Nonna Pizzeria is right next to big brother Caffe Nonna and serves up pizzas and salads. I can’t comment on the pizzas because I’m gluten-free, but the salad I had was good and the wine was outstanding. I went during Restaurant Week, which meant I was served up a well-priced meal, too. I’ve seen nice mentions on Facebook for all you pizza lovers, and Elizabeth wrote about it a few months ago. (I’ll include a link to that post at the end of today’s.)

Neighbors is your fun local hangout. It really is a neighborhood drop-by, grab a burger, drink a beer kinda of place. With a porch on the back and outdoor seating in the front, in addition to the interior bar and seating, Neighbors is deceivingly larger than it looks. You say “Neighbors,” and the neighbors really do smile.

At Local Taco, the food is fun, Americanized Mexican and I almost always order veggies and rice with a margarita and enjoy myself. But, beware that once that line has more than 5 people in it, you are standing with the door open to the outside! I’m more partial to the Brentwood location, where this is not an issue and the menu, with the help of Deb Paquette’s influence a few years back, is, to me, better.

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The patio is always packed and fun. This photo is from 9 a.m. which is the only reason I was even able to park right here!

For everyone screaming “foul” on no mention of Bobby’s Dairy Dip and the newest Nuvo Burrito, we’re covering Charlotte Ave soon, so all Sylvan Park businesses with a Charlotte address will be covered then–aren’t you relieved?

 

McCabe Pub

McCabe’s gets its own category, as it doesn’t fit fine dining and it’s been at this location for 30 years. Whenever my parents are in town, they go for the vegetable sides. My kids like the thick french fries and really, I just like that it’s casual and family-friendly but perfectly suited for a business lunch as well. I used to HATE McCabe’s, but that was before the no smoking law was passed. Now, I will go without a complaint and enjoy the game on TV, the daily special and wonder about why we ever let cigarette smoke fill our restaurants. So much better now.

 

The Produce Place and West Nashville Farmer’s Market

I am at the Produce Place weekly. It’s a tiny grocery store with a big heart. The cashiers are characters, the prepared foods are from Corner Market–so you know they are delish–and there is a nice variety of local veggies, as well as a mixture of imported ones in case you want a tomato in winter or an avocado or banana any time of year. Fresh flowers, herbs and pumpkins in October are all additional reasons to go.

The West Nashville Farmers Market is on the corner of 46th and Charlotte at Richland Park and is booming. To be accurate, during these winter months, the market takes place across Charlotte Avenue in the LOVE building behind the Dark Horse Theater, which technically is not in Sylvan Park. But, in a few weeks, back to Richland Park it will be! This is the place to be on an early Saturday morning with fresh meat, vegetables, juices, lemonade, flowers, jams and more — even yoga and music!

The Produce Place is a great place to grab a few things, or a cart full.

The Produce Place is a great place to grab a few things, or a cart full.

  • Produce Place: produceplace.com 4000 Murphy Road, 37209
  • West Nashville Farmer’s Market: goodfoodfarmersmarkets.com (Richland Park during warm months; LOVE building during cold months. See website for more details.)

 

Willow Tree Gifts and Love at First Sight

These two places are frequent stops for me. Willow Tree Gifts is worth the drive from wherever you live–it’s a small gift store, but seems to always have exactly what I need. We highlight items from here in our FINDS frequently because, quite frankly, this entire store is a find. Being so close, if I’ve forgotten a gift, I rush here first. Love at First Sight is a major magnet for my kids. They only have puppies and kittens from the Humane Association. They encourage you to pick them up, but their occasional abrupt “bedside manner” in welcoming you and talking to your kids leaves many irked. (It’s much talked about.) But, really, you get to hold kittens and puppies, so in the end, it doesn’t really matter!

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A few places I haven’t tried:

The Taste of Italy and Jack’s Market. I drive by these places all the time, so I need to stop in.

 

  • The Taste of Italy: www.urbanspoon.com 132 46th Avenue North, 37209
  • Jack’s Market: 4421 Murphy Road, Nashville, 37209

 

The Arts and Exercise

Nashville Ballet, Climb Nashville, McCabe Community Center, McCabe Golf Course and the Greenway are all found in Sylvan Park, in addition to sidewalks and bike lanes. That’s a lot. Climb Nashville has climbing options but also offers classes, such as yoga. McCabe Community Center is gorgeous and offers boot camps and classes for just $3. The Greenway is the perfect way to walk or bike. The bridge over Richland Creek is a perfect photo op. And, when the cherry trees start blooming in a few weeks, I don’t know a prettier display that down Murphy Road in Sylvan Park. If you can take a run down Murphy during late March, you will be rewarded with sheer beauty.

 

 

Sunday afternoons often find us walking the greenway and crossing over the Richland Creek bridge.

Sunday afternoons often find us walking the Greenway and crossing over the Richland Creek bridge.

 

Architecture and Real Estate

Much of Sylvan Park was built in the 1950′s, but you’ll find Victorians and older Tudors in the mix as well. This neighborhood is made up of homes that make you stop and stare to take in the attention to detail that went into the design, as well as homes with chain link fence-framed front yards that seem to be yelling, “Save me. I need attention!” That said, this neighborhood, aesthetically, is just getting better with every passing year.

Examples of homes on the market to show architecture and price points:

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This small ranch home from 1963, on the market for $265,000 is typical of many of the smaller homes in Sylvan Park. Click photo for details.

 

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This house, on the market through French King-Fine Properties, shows the historic architecture commonly seen in Sylvan Park, as well as the tasteful and modern detached addition. $475,000 Click photo for details.

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Even newer homes have an older feel. This Victorian was built in 2005 and is on the market for $638,800. Click photo for details.

Sylvan Park also has two newer, planned communities within: Cherokee Crossings and West End Station. Both give the sense of walking on a Hollywood movie set. Cherokee Crossings, a 31-house development, boasts newer homes built with an historical nod to the Richland/West End (RWENA) neighborhood it borders, with house names like “The Central” and “The Mayfair” (street names found in RWENA). My friends who live here refer to it as Wysteria Lane. West End Station, with 46 homes, is a pocket community that aims to shrink the carbon footprint of its homeowners through greener living. Driving through here reminds me of Rosemary Beach architecture. A similar community is being planned for the 12South Neighborhood called Gale Park.

Cherokee Crossings:

A 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath home was recently on the market in Cherokee Crossings for $475,000.

 

West End Station:

A 2 bedroom, 2.5 bath home recently sold in this community for $274,900

 

Sylvan Park is a Nashville neighborhood that is getting a lot of new eyes these days, but I don’t think this will interfere with its innate charm. With all the new businesses on the Sylvan Park-end of Charlotte Ave, this may just be the “new” 12South. We’ll be back next month talking about Charlotte and everything happening there. We’ve long been fans of Fabu, but now Fabu has excellent company surrounding it!

 

And, as promised, here’s the link to the post Elizabeth wrote recently featuring Nonna Pizzeria: www.styleblueprint.com/pizza-pizza-pizza.