Having moved here from Denver over 2o years ago, I am a huge fan of mixed-retail in neighborhoods. Whenever I try to explain how mixed retail actually makes a neighborhood better, my comments are usually rebuffed with “that’s fine, but not in my neighborhood.” I understand this concept is foreign to many, especially if you have not lived it.
When I resided in Denver, I could walk (now that’s a concept) to dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant two blocks north or go to the Historic Ogden Theater, another three blocks away, or grab pastries from Momma Perogi’s Russian bakery down the street. The dry cleaner was several blocks south as was the wonderful Cherry Creek Mall which was a collection of high end boutiques.
Gathering at our favorite shops and watering holes gave our neighborhood a sense of community and familiarity. So when I took my kids to the new Las Paletes and saw Moms with strollers, recent grads and cute girls with tattoos and nose rings munching on the pops, it made me smile. It made me want to be a part of the vibrant 12th Avenue South community.
Housed in the small strip of stores is located at 12th Avenue South & Paris Street is Burger Up, Greenlight Market and Deli, Las Paletes, Two Moon art gallery and a great massage studio. Above the stores are fabulous lofts with great balconies overlooking Sevier Park.
Here is what I found on my quick tour:
Las Paletas: They used to be housed in the Cypress Building where Momshell Fitness is now. By moving up the street a block, they have upgraded the store dramatically. As you walk in, there is a huge blackboard with the flavors of the day listed: coconut, tamarind, Mexican caramel, strawberry, avocado (my favorite), honeydew and the list goes on. We snagged four popsicles for $2 a piece and then went in for more. The gourmet popsicles are the creation of the owner, Irma Paz Bernstein and are reminiscent of popsicles from her hometown in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Greenlight Market and Deli: It’s housed in a narrow space, but it is chocked full of goodies. The Green has everything from locally farmed produce (I snagged a delicious quart of homegrown strawberries) to Tennessee made products. Everything is fresh and the owner Brent Woodard is so welcoming. His mission is to educate us on buying what’s in season and buying locally. I concur.
Burger Up: This is possibly the hippest burger joint in town. It is the brain child of Michael and Miranda Pontes (owners of the Frothy Monkey) and is one gorgeous restaurant. The interior is a wonderful combination of walnut and marble with a generous outdoor patio. The menu is extensive with everything from lamb burgers to a quinoa and black bean burger. Save room for dessert as the Krispey Creme donut pudding with Grand Marnier creme anglaise sounds too decadent to pass up.
Two Moon Art Gallery: What a treat. I made my kids stand outside because one never knows what type of reception one will receive with three kids in tow. Owner, Hal Pickel, an accomplished artist himself, asked if I wanted to take a tour. I glanced at the kids sweltering in the sun and said, “maybe later.” Hal who became a new Dad a couple of days ago, responded, “Bring em’ in. ” He even enticed the girlies with a ice cold Coca-Cola. The artists al has assembled is impressive. The Gallery represents a small number of American artists with a variety of styles and approaches. I love the way each artist offers uniqueness to the gallery, but they all contribute to the symbiotic nature of the gallery. Two Moon art gallery is truly lovely.
I plan to write an additional post of this gallery and what they are offering to visiting artists and the community in terms of rental space for gallery showings and parties.
12th Avenue South is a neighborhood which has gone through tremendous revitalization and transformation. It is one of which we should all be proud, as it adds so much personality to Nashville.