The newest buzz from East Nashville’s restaurant scene is Lockeland Table, and the buzz is worthy. Neighbors and non-neighbors alike are embracing this community gathering spot recently opened by executive chef and owner, Hal M. Holden-Bache. A Nashvillian for over 10 years now, Chef Hal is most recently known for his 5-year stint as executive chef of Eastland Café. Located on Woodland Street, plunked down in the middle of a row of houses just a few blocks beyond 5 Points, Lockeland Table reminded us of Denver, where the best restaurants are commonly found on the same sidewalks as neighborhood homes.
Talking to Chef Hal, you immediately sense what a labor of love Lockland Table is. This is a chef who loves being behind the stove, so expect the consistency of a restaurant open much longer than a just few weeks. I loved hearing him describe building out the space. The contractor would leave at 5 PM and Hal, along with his wife, family and friends, would go to work until 10 PM or later. He can point out areas of the restaurant where his band of craftsman built focal points during the late night hours. Why do I tell you this? Because it lets you know that the people working here are proud of this restaurant and are excited to have you visit and share some honest, solid, flavorful food–simple food, straight from the farm, expertly prepared.
If dinner is not an option, or you just want to get out early, Happy Hour is a nice way to avoid crowds and enjoy quality time with the friendly bartenders. And, it’s deal time, as well. All cocktails and appetizers on the Happy Hour menu are $6. Draft beer is just $3. Happy Hour lasts from 4-6:30 Monday-Thursday and 4-6 Friday and Saturday. The bar opens at 4 and you can have table service as early as 5. You can circle back for the same savings every late night for the last hour of business, too.
Lockeland Table has partnered with various local purveyors for produce and meat, and each is given credit on their menu. The produce is so fresh that the staff has no idea what the vegetable of the day is until it arrives, freshly picked, from the 10 acre farm down the road which is owned by their go-to gardener, Kevin. Hal uses the fresh produce for daily dishes and future dishes by canning some of today’s seasonal goodies.
Unlike many of the farm-to-table restaurants we’ve seen, Lockeland Table’s desire for a low-carbon footprint extends to the bar, as well. For example, there is no Grey Goose vodka, but there are multiple examples of American vodkas. Obviously the whiskey and bourbon are local. Scotch isn’t made in America, so there are exceptions, even with some international wines. The beer is all local and excellent. The quality and flavor of the drinks offered may have you embracing other local selections regularly, as well.
There are several options for seating: at the bar, at the pizza bar, in cozy booths, at dining tables in the main restaurant or bar area, or on the patio. Their spacious patio is explained by the photos on the wall of the different incarnations of the building, along with good narrative by the staff. Many moons ago, the building housed an H.G. Hills grocery store, where produce was sold street side. Next, the building was home to Archie’s, a local provisions shop with a soda counter. Then, it was reinvented into a hair salon, which is where the building’s foot print changed. In 1980, an employee of the hair salon was going through a divorce and her soon-to-be-ex was a bit disgruntled, so he plowed his car into the front of the building, causing the front to crumble down. So, they removed the debris and decided to just shore up what was left, leaving about 20 new feet of sidewalk in front of the building! This space then became a photography studio before finding its potential longtime tenant: Lockeland Table.
Four of us went for Happy Hour. We all want to return for dinner. Reservations are accepted and recommended — and they do have a children’s menu!
You will feel the love of food and people at Lockeland Table. We can’t wait to hear your thoughts.
In the end, our bill for 4 cocktails and 4 appetizers was just over $50, including tax. I think I need to hit Happy Hours more often.
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