At the corner of Gallatin Pike and Mckennie Avenue, adjacent to the Eastland Baptist Church, an innovative development is turning a former car wash into a series of side-by-side micro-kitchens giving local chefs the opportunity to share a taste of their goods. It’s adaptive reuse without sacrificing neighborhood history, and Music City is all the better for it. Introducing, The Wash.
Fully leased with a waiting list to boot, The Wash is the most recent collaboration between Hamilton Development and Pfeffer Torode Architecture. With various joint real estate ventures across town, this is one of their first operable business endeavors, and at 2,400 square feet, it’s small but mighty. “We acquired the car wash in the fall [of 2020],” says Jamie Pfeffer, partner at Pfeffer Torode Architecture. “It had fallen into disrepair, and it wasn’t a neighborhood-enhancing element anymore. Our goal is to bring it back to the neighborhood.”
With different food or beverage concepts slated to occupy each of its six bays, The Wash has a “fast-casual-food-hall-meets-elevated-and-culturally-influenced dining experience” sort of vibe. “It’s really more of a curated restaurant concept,” says Developer and Designer Jordan Fife, who spearheaded the project for Hamilton Development. “It lets us bring in individual restaurants for each stall, and then create an al fresco dining experience for people to try different things. It also allows established businesses or first-time brick-and-mortar restaurants to try a new concept and really dig into East Nashville.”
“We’re trying to increase the quality of food offerings that are available to everybody,” adds Jamie. “This encourages people to use pickup options or pop in and grab something to take out. Hopefully, it will also bring approachability to entrepreneurial-minded food operators to start a new concept and bring even more quality food to the neighborhood.”
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Slated to open mid- to late-August, all five of the current micro-kitchen slots at The Wash are filled, with the sixth stall hosting a long-term bar concept that an in-house team will run, called Bay6. “It’s really interesting because we’re covering the span of cultures and ethnicities,” says Jordan of the future tenants. “We sold out months before we even started breaking ground. It’s great to have such a waitlist for this because it really tells us that we’re doing something that fits the demand of the restaurant community and culture. It’s really within the zeitgeist of what East Nashville is looking for.” Foodies, prepare to have your taste buds tempted. The vendors who have signed on are Soy Cubano (Cuban sandwiches and a twist on Latin cuisine), Tootsie Lou’s Tacos, The Poki (Hawaiian poké bowls), ESP by Eastside Banh Mi, and Two Peruvian Chefs (a food truck-turned-brick-and-mortar operation serving everything from fresh ceviche to their popular pork belly sandwich). There’s truly something delicious to satisfy every palate.
The Wash faces Gallatin, with its food and beverage stalls opening out into exterior wraparound seating. The patio will serve as the main public dining area and will boast a metal and wood trellis system with vines — a beautiful space to enjoy the sunshine and a bite to eat. “In a lot of ways, we’re starting to rebound from COVID here in Nashville,” says Jordan, “but this is primarily outdoors, so those who don’t yet feel comfortable indoors are still able to get some of their favorite foods and feel comfortable in the setting. The six bays spill out onto this indoor, outdoor patio sort of vibe with a floating fireplace in the center and a lounge area. It’s really symbiotic with all of the restaurants and the general seating area.”
While the structure’s design pays homage to its former life as a car wash, it will also embrace its new chapter as a modern micro-kitchen concept. “We’ve been really focused on the special design of it, and it’s deeply influenced by the East Nashville car culture of the ’70s,” says Jordan. “We’re still acknowledging the past of a car wash but looking towards the future of East Nashville.” And that future is looking bright.
Aside from The Wash, The Cauble Group and Pfeffer Torode have also joined forces to develop 1100 Douglas as a showroom for the renowned Daisy Mae Hat Company, completing the development of the entire block of Gallatin. August can’t come quickly enough!
If you’re feeling inspired to broaden your culinary horizons, check out even more of our local restaurant favorites!