Published on November 3, 2020
Here in Music City, we don’t need to search very far to satisfy nearly any food craving — from gourmet dining to fast food and everything in between. But perhaps one of the most impressive facets of our local culinary scene is the diverse international fare that continues to surface at a rapid pace.
Whether we’re hitting up the neighborhood taco truck, indulging in Indian chaat, discovering the exotic flavors of dim sum, or savoring Ethiopian cuisine, Nashville is making a name for itself as a culturally well-rounded city — especially where restaurants are concerned. Here are four new local, internationally inspired favorites you must visit, plus one that’s coming soon!
4 New Nashville Restaurants: Asian, Mexican, Italian & Australian
Yolan at the Joseph Hotel: Italian
403 4th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37201 • (615) 231-0405
Hours: Monday through Friday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
From ribbons of pappardelle to carefully folded agnolotti, homemade pasta can be a true masterpiece — especially when it’s being prepared by a celebrated chef who has trained in nearly every region of Italy, from small family-owned trattorias to three-star Michelin restaurants. Tony and Cathy Mantuano, the duo behind Yolan, bring their sophisticated culinary and wine expertise to The Joseph hotel, with a menu that features fresh pasta made in-house daily, locally sourced produce, and an impressive (not to mention extensive) wine selection. From a decadent risotto with lobster and saffron to the Anatra duck with apple, sweet potato, and chestnut (autumn on a plate), the menu runs the gamut of elegant and seasonally inspired dishes. If you’re looking for an even more luxurious culinary experience, the caviar service is exquisite, with burrata, potato pancakes and chives, and pastry chef Noelle Marchetti impeccably crafts the housemade Dolci (or desserts).
Even if you aren’t dining in, Yolan’s vibrant bar scene makes it worth camping out for a cocktail or two, including signature drinks such as an Elderflower Gimlet and the Baci (gin, rose-infused tonic, lime and sparkling water). You’ll also have the perfect view of the kitchen goings-on — including a sneak peek at whatever is coming out of the custom wood-burning oven and a close-up of the in-house cheese cave, a temperature- and moisture-controlled enclosure for wheels of imported Italian goodness. Buon appetito!
Succulent Vegan Tacos at the Nashville Farmers’ Market: Mexican
900 Rosa L Parks Blvd., Nashville, TN 37208 • (615) 880-2001
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; closed Monday
It’s no secret the Nashville Farmers’ Market offers a beautiful array of diverse cuisine. The newest restaurant to set up shop is Succulent Vegan Tacos, which brings the newest fast-casual plant-based taqueria to Music City — and an authentic one at that. Owners Adriana Ortega and Ronald Cerdas immigrated to Nashville about 20 years ago, from Mexico City and Costa Rica, respectively, and built their dream business from the ground up even as they maintained other full-time jobs. Their efforts paid off, and Succulent Vegan Tacos has gone from a pop-up to a full-time restaurant in only a few years.
Authentic Mexican street food with a plant-based twist, the menu offers everything from traditional antojitos (appetizers) to vegan pan dulce (Mexican sweet bread). You can’t go wrong with signature tacos such as the Al Pastor (marinated seitan, topped with the traditional pineapple, onion, cilantro, and lime) and Papas (sautéed potatoes with kale, served with roasted tomatillo salsa), and keep an eye out for tamales on the weekends.
914 Gallatin Ave., Nashville, TN 37206 • (615) 649-8728
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
An all-day breakfast, brunch and lunch spot in East Nashville, Hearts, opened up in July amid pandemic closures and uncertainty. Thankfully, the response has been overwhelmingly positive for the neighborhood haunt, which is inspired by the café culture of Melbourne, Australia. “Melburnians love their food and coffee and often spend hours a day at their favorite neighborhood spot,” says owner Kate Ross, herself a Melbourne native.
Built in an old 1950s auto repair shop with character in spades, Hearts offers a bright and inviting place to sip a cup of joe, have an afternoon cocktail, or even bring your dog and enjoy the beautiful weather at one of the backyard picnic tables. The menu is a brunch lover’s dream, with standout dishes such as the Eggs Benny (two poached eggs on a potato hash brown with ham and Hollandaise sauce), Ricotta Hotcakes topped with caramelized strawberry compote, and the Chicken Katsu Roll, a panko-crusted chicken sandwich that seems to have everyone talking.
Healthy dishes abound, too, with options such as the Spiced Cauliflower Bowl with ancient grains and the ever-popular Smashed Avo Toast. Of course, you can add a “poachie” to most dishes if you’re looking to truly embrace the Australian way. “We are all about friendly service, excellent coffee, fresh and delicious food, good wines, well-executed cocktails, sweet tunes and eggs, eggs, eggs any time of the day,” says Kate.
Hawkers Asian Street Fare: Asian
626A Main St., Nashville, TN 37206 • (615) 600-4762
Hours: Sunday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. through 11 p.m.
Perhaps the most vibrant, trendy new restaurant our city has to offer, Hawkers Asian Street Fare has taken East Nashville by storm. Already drawing crowds, the vibey, colorful, neon light-filled eatery has all the dim sum you could want, plus everything from pad thai to kimchi fried rice to a spicy coconut curry stew. With dishes from Hong Kong, Korea, Vietnam and more, the range of flavors is delightfully rich. Standouts include the Korean Twice-Fried Wings, Seoul Hot Chicken Bao, Roti Canai (Malaysian flatbread with Hawker’s signature curry sauce), and Five-Spice Green Beans, which we hear are downright addictive.
Star Rover Sound: Mexican
1400 Adams St., Nashville, TN 37208 • (615) 709-3158
Hours: To be determined
Nashville is in for a treat. Not that The Optimist’s success hasn’t already convinced us of Ford Fry’s capabilities, but his newest restaurant endeavor makes it clear he can tackle anything he puts his mind to. Star Rover Sound, a combination listening room and shareable Mexican street food extravaganza, is about to hit our local culinary scene with all the subtlety of a hurricane. And we’re not mad about it! Though it doesn’t yet have a set opening date, it promises to be a hot spot for live music, Tijuana-style street tacos and tequila-spiked cocktails. The recording studio-inspired decor will have you feeling like you’re mid-session, and the food will take you South of the border in seconds. “It’ll be like stepping back to the early ’70s recording studios with good quality sound,” says Ford, “not to mention the tequila-heavy bar with a ridiculously good frozen margarita!”
Though tacos abound, you’ll find a few of Ford’s signature dishes on the bar snacks menu, too. From the light, citrusy ceviche and the notable butter burger (a menu favorite at his Houston restaurant, La Lucha) to chili cheese fries à la Superica, the Star Rover menu is the best of all worlds. Oh, and if you’re in the market for a tasty dessert, the churro soft serve with plantains and dulce de leche is the winner.
If you’re feeling inspired to broaden your culinary horizons, check out even more of our local restaurant favorites!
Published on August 11, 2020
Opening a new dining destination is complicated enough without the addition of having to navigate a pandemic. Thankfully, we are a city that unwaveringly supports our restaurant scene. Here are five new eateries that recently opened or soon will — and here’s why they deserve every bit of our attention.
5 New Nashville Restaurants to Put on Your Radar
East Side Banh-Mi
1000 Gallatin Avenue, Nashville, TN 37206
Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Husband and wife duo Grace Nguyen and Chad Newton have been doing pop-ups for the last few months to gear up for the official August 13 opening of their sandwich shop and restaurant, East Side Banh Mi. The menu is based on simple, authentic Asian classics made with locally sourced ingredients. As the name suggests, they’re serving up Vietnamese-style bánh mi sandwiches, including The No. 1 (ham hock terrine, pate and smoked bologna) and Impossible (“Xiu Mai” impossible meatballs that are roasted and smashed). Other specialties include the Fresh Peach & Cucumber Salad with fried shallots, roasted peanuts, mint and spicy fish sauce, and the Broken Rice Bowl with your choice of protein, jasmine rice, pickles, herbs, fried shallots, roasted peanuts and spicy fish sauce. Top it all off with a traditional Vietnamese Toasted Peanut Rice Milk, and you’re well on your way to not only satisfying your tastebuds but getting hooked on East Nashville’s newest fast-casual go-to.
901 Woodland St, Nashville, TN 37206 • (615) 922-4934
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
By now, it’s a given that any restaurant experience created by James Beard Award-winning Chef Sean Brock is not to be missed. A throwback to the nostalgic fast food restaurants of the past, Joyland is essentially an old-school burger joint with modern pizazz. Chock full of melt-in-your-mouth buttermilk biscuits, fried chicken, burgers and shakes (not to mention, boozy shakes!), the menu delivers simplicity with a dash of sophistication. There are even ‘Impossible’ burgers to satisfy the non-meat eaters in the bunch, and Peach Truck handpies to satisfy … well, everyone. We recommend the house specialty, “Joy Sticks,” which are a cross between Japanese yakitori and Mississippi’s tradition of fried chicken-on-a-stick. Pair that with a rum-spiked coffee shake, and you’re good to go!
1400 Adams St, Nashville, TN 37208 • (615) 709-3156
Hours: Monday through Sunday, from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
If you’re looking to be wowed, The Optimist is the place to go. From the exceptional staff to the in-depth flavor profiles, Ford Fry and Ryder Zetts have taken their seaside “fish camp” concept to the next level, completely reimagining the historic space (a former hammer handle factory) in Germantown, and delivering seafood dishes that will change your perception of food.
Dishes frequently change to reflect seasonal offerings and new inspiration. Favorites include red snapper en papillote (wrapped in parchment), crispy Spanish octopus and a charred calamari salad. Even the heirloom tomato salad, which initially sounds simple and straightforward, is something to write home about, with its garlic chips and creamy whipped parmesan. The cocktails are on point (our favorite is the Pleasure Cruise), and dessert is a must. The coconut pie, for example, is “a slice of cloud on a plate,” as server McKenzie so aptly described it.
Ford Fry and Ryder Zetts’ highly anticipated upstairs bar, Le Loup, is in its final stages of completion, and they’re also well on their way to opening Star Rover Sound, a recording studio-inspired space where diners can feast on Mexican street tacos and fresh ceviche. Foodies, rejoice!
3826 Charlotte Ave, Nashville, TN 37209 • (615) 730-3088
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; closed Monday
PennePazze is a pasta lover’s dream. With gorgeous fresh pasta and Pinsa (a sort of old-world, fresh-baked pizza), chef and owner Rony Stark is making his mark in Nashville. From ravioli to tagliatelle, and even a gluten-free pasta option, we’re drooling over traditional sauces and ingredients that beam us to Italy in one bite.
The PennePazze menu also offers a build-your-own pasta option, giving us a choice of protein, sauce style, and classic additions such as pine nuts, garlic confit, fresh basil and porcini mushrooms. Chef Rony tells us he was born into an Italian family and began cooking with his grandmother when he was a wee tot. He fell in love with it, followed his passion, and wound up pursuing the American dream here in Nashville. Boy, did we luck out!
5133 Harding Pike, Nashville, TN 37205
Hours: Not yet released
Thanks to Julia Jaksic’s new brasserie, Roze Pony, Belle Meade is about to gain a neighborhood gathering place that redefines the classics — with the Julia twist we love. Slated to open sometime in August, the restaurant will not only serve up all-day dining, but it will feature a take-away case, allowing patrons to grab sandwiches, pastries and pantry items to-go. Unlike her East Nashville restaurant, Café Roze, Roze Pony’s menu and design are steeped in Tennessee tradition and Belle Meade’s history. In fact, she was inspired by Steeplechase, enamored with the event since a friend took her to it years ago.
Ultimately, horses are what set the stage for Roze Pony, in both name and aesthetic. While the restaurant’s interior will maintain Julia’s modern sensibilities, the design elements hail from architecture found in old stables around the world, which she has researched in depth. Roze Pony’s interior features an old-school custom-tiled floor, dark navy blue accents, and a wood ceiling. “I think it’ll be fun,” Julia says of her newest endeavor. “It’s exciting to go into a completely different neighborhood and get to know a different part of Nashville.” We’re excited about it, too, Julia!
Nicky’s Bagel Shop at Nicky’s Coal Fired
5026 Centennial Blvd, Nashville, TN 37209 • (615) 678-4289
Hours: Thursday and Sunday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; closed Monday through Wednesday
Nicky’s Coal Fired has been an Italian staple in The Nations since the end of 2016, and it’s known for having the only coal-burning oven in Tennessee. Since it’s been around for a while, it technically doesn’t qualify as a new Nashville restaurant. However, Nicky’s recently re-opened for fast-casual dining and … wait for it … it now has a bagel shop, too.
Featuring coal-fired bagels crafted by former Bare Naked Bagel Shop owner Rob Kane, Nicky’s bagels are made from scratch daily, using their sourdough starter. From a simple bagel with lox to the heartier roast beef bagel with roast beef, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and horseradish cream, Chef Tony Galzin has managed to make Nicky’s even better!
Enjoy your dining adventures!
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