As the clouds clear, the days lengthen and the sun gloriously reappears, we want to soak up every moment of light and every ounce of Vitamin D that we can – even while dining. While warm and cozy was a familiar comfort throughout winter, we’re excited to step into the places that are light and airy and celebrate all things spring, with some delicious drinks and dishes, of course. Two new restaurants on the scene, Liberty Common and Hathorne, offer refreshing spaces and thoughtful menus that beckon us inside. Take a peek into these two hot spots, and go ahead and book those weekend reservations!
4708 Charlotte Ave, Nashville, TN 37209 • (629) 888-4917
Hours: Monday through Wednesday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 11:30 pm; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sitting on Charlotte Avenue in a 1948 fellowship hall of the adjoining Methodist church, you’ll find Hathorne. This New American restaurant’s chef and owner John Stephenson tells us, “Hathorne really starts with the building itself.” He immediately fell in love with the shape of the building and the large windows that allow light to stream in during the day. Guests settle into church pews that line the wall and take note of the prayer rail as a room divider. And the church theme flows right into the food, too. John notes, “After putting together the menu, it became clear we could do a ‘fellowship’ style of service that offered plates for the table to share in a sort of progressive potluck dinner.”
The menu is packed with creative spins on ingredients we love. With a heavy emphasis on veggie-centric dishes, John and the Hathorn kitchen accommodate most dietary restrictions, including gluten-free. Shared plates are passed and conversation pours over these unique dishes for an inclusive and communal dining experience. John points out three dishes on the menu: the crispy goat cheese and fermented honey, the roasted golden beets and the confit pork shank with grit and hominy frico. “These dishes exemplify what we’re all about at Hathorne. The simplicity combined with technique allows these products to sing and fits in with our mantra of loving the guest and respecting the food.”
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Enjoy some sunshine in this light-filled fellowship hall during Hathorne’s brunch service. Chef John, confident it will soon become a popular Sunday destination, tells us, “Featuring a few items from the dinner menu with additional brunch items like a French omelette with Gifford’s bacon, my grandmother’s pancakes and the best steel cut oatmeal you’ve ever had, it is a truly delightful place to enjoy the warm sunshine through our amazing windows, or sit outside during nice weather.”
Hathorne, named after John’s grandmother Mary Ruth Hathorne, is a peaceful atmosphere reflecting its unique history. “My grandmother is a direct descendant of Hugh Hathorne from County Cork, Ireland, and her name evokes the early strength and resourcefulness of Irish immigrants in the mid-1700s. I felt it was perfect for the building and food.” It is fitting, as each dish’s strength is rooted in John’s use of seasonal vegetables, and the sacred building has proven a tenacity that, we believe, will be around for many, many years to come.
207 1st Ave S, Nashville, TN 37201 • (615) 649-8900
Hours: Breakfast: Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; Weekday Lunch/Brunch: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Happy Hour: Monday through Saturday, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Dinner: Sunday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Weekend Brunch, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Nashville’s Terrell Raley (Butchertown Hall and The Pharmacy) has landed in bustling downtown. His new concept Liberty Common is on First Avenue, just across from Ascend Amphitheatre. Inspired by his European travels, this French brasserie is open all day long. “The idea was to have this big-city brasserie with an ideal location on the park that is open all day, where the quality of coffee, cocktails, tea, service and cuisine were all exemplary and professional. It really is like stepping into what we imagine Paris to be.”
Walking around the corner, you’ll first spot the outdoor bar lined with French bistro chairs sure to be brimming with Aperol spritz-sipping guests this spring. Inside, the soaring ceilings and expansive space are filled with little details that transport you out of Nashville. The bar invites patrons for a cocktail and oysters, and the cozy bright blue booths provide a backdrop for lingering conversation. Terrell tells us, “The space is very beautiful and warm, with black and white murals on the walls contrasted with soft blue upholstery; very classic details of marble, copper and opal glass sconces; lots of interesting tile work and blonde woods. We were careful to give the brasserie a modern update while still staying true to the traditional elements.”
With hours that span the entire day, there are breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner and happy hour menus that appeal to all. Terrell notes of Paris, “There is a bohemian element to all of the cafés there. You really see all kinds and every strata of society in those places, from artists, business people … and a little riff-raff as well.” Hopeful to be a destination for the business person and the brunch lingerers alike, Liberty Common prides itself on its approachability, often uncommon in French restaurants. The long, beautiful bar is the ideal first or last stop on a busy day. And for spring, they’re shifting to an even more patio-friendly menu that will highlight their beer and spritz selection. The outdoor café will be bustling!
Brunch, Terrell says, is far and away the largest service Liberty Common offers – with nothing else like it in town. “The star of the show is the half fried chicken and one of our Belgian waffles. They are quite simply the best around. And what would Nashville be without its biscuits? Jessica makes these melt-in-your-mouth biscuits that simply make guests happy.” And that’s what they want to do, of course. The guests remain the focus of this downtown destination.
“What is most special is the feeling that you have somehow been transported to a different time and place, courtesy of the view from our storefront, strong design work, great service and fabulous music,” Terrell adds. Stop in and step out of Nashville.
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