Since Juniper Green came onto the scene in 2017, we’ve watched and celebrated as chef Molly Martin delivers her exquisitely crafted fare to weddings, events, and private dining experiences throughout Nashville, including last year’s extended pop-up at the Fairlane Hotel. These days, she’s bringing her culinary flair to a storied Nashville location — Old School Farm. The new space propels Juniper Green to the next level with ample space for weddings and private events galore. Check out Nashville’s newest culinary destination!
If you’re at all familiar with Old School Farm, a beautiful historic site in the Bell’s Bend area that’s roughly 15 miles from Downtown, then you know how perfect the Juniper Green and Old School Farm marriage truly is. Still functioning as a nonprofit, Old School hosts everything from an organic farm to a 3,000 square foot open-air pavilion. Most remember its former farm-to-table restaurant, which closed not long ago due to COVID strains. Thankfully, Molly isn’t letting the space go to waste.
“In December, when we were still at the Fairlane Hotel, one of the owners of Old School reached out to us,” says Molly. “They had decided to shut down the restaurant because of COVID, and then they made the decision not to reopen, but they had booked several large-scale weddings out there that were expecting farm-to-table menus. They originally reached out to us to take over those contracts and essentially be a preferred vendor partner, and then I said, ‘What are the odds that we can just take over the operations?’ It was a match made in heaven, and Juniper Green moved into the space in May of this year.
“We’ve always wanted to have a home base, an event space, and private dining,” Molly tells us, “and it felt like the absolute right fit for us. I thought it was a total Hail Mary pass, but they said, ‘Let’s do it!'” It took some time to hammer out the details, but Molly is finally ready to go public with the announcement. “It wasn’t like we were opening a new concept, but we were in full force and then taking on the execution of weddings that they had already booked,” she admits. “I felt like we were trying to merge two speeding trains! But we’re finally in a groove with it.”
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While Molly continues to do off-site catering, you can expect big things from Juniper Green’s new location. In fact, she’s already planning a redesign that maintains the English countryside ambiance and elevates the already-elegant space. “There was always elegance to it, but it was heavy on the farm part of farm-to-table,” she tells us. “Some of the stuff is a little bit rustic, but nothing about it feels like hayrides and mason jars to me. We’re going to do some work to make it all feel more cohesive, but it’s stunning.”
Once an actual schoolhouse called The Wade School, constructed in 1936, it has gone through several incarnations over the years. “The Wade Hall room with the stage was the auditorium for the school,” says Molly. “The other more intimate chef space is a former classroom. The property manager even went to first grade in that room!”
Molly doesn’t have a role in running the farm itself, but she’s grateful for the chance to use it as a resource — particularly given the nonprofit aspect. “It’s pretty special because the farm creates employment opportunities for people with mental and physical disabilities, and then they donate a good amount of what they grow,” says Molly. “Cheekee Greens is also on the property, which is this really rad hydroponic farm that grows greens, lettuces, tomatoes, and organic varieties of mushrooms and microgreens. It’s the perfect hub for us.”
It’s a perfect hub, indeed, giving Molly the chance to offer clients the unparalleled level of hospitality she’s always dreamed of exploring. Not to mention, the scenery is definitely something to write home about, with a landscape that provides a picturesque backdrop for weddings, corporate retreats, and other special occasion gatherings.
Though Juniper Green won’t be open as a traditional restaurant, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy Molly’s showstopping dishes. Available for private bookings, the space has two interior restaurant areas — one that she has named “The Baldwin Room” (after her mother) and another, larger room that can seat around 70.
“There’s also a huge, gorgeous courtyard with a rose arch and a fire pit, and it looks out over the organic farm,” says Molly, “So, the opportunities and ways to utilize the space are endless. I’m excited to host weddings and private events for our clients. I’m also excited to use it as a platform for community events and internal programming where we sell ticketed dinners and seasonal festivals and concerts. We want it to be a culinary destination — a place where people can be creative and play.” Get ready for big things, Nashville!
Enjoy your dining adventures! And if you’re feeling inspired to broaden your culinary horizons, check out even more of our local restaurant favorites.