The restaurant will have a "similar culinary approach" to its sister restaurant, the French-inspired Cafe Fundamental, but a different name (not yet announced). In addition, Watson is creating the new place with a new business partner, veteran French chef Hervé Malivert.
Malivert is the culinary coordinator and director of food technology at the International Culinary Center in New York, formerly known as the French Culinary Institute, where Watson studied and has also taught.
Watson says the new cafe will feature an adjoining bar, called Gearheads. Barry Walker, the owner and developer of Marathon Village, will create and run Gearheads. "It's his dream and vision," Watson says. The bar will have a theme, early 20th century auto racing, in keeping with the history of the Marathon Motorworks complex. The decor will be drawn from Walker's diverse collection of auto artifacts.
The restaurant is going into the structure at 1305 Clinton St. (across Clinton Street from the main factory space), which houses Walker's office and display of vintage automobiles. Watson says the team will be building an expansive L-shaped deck on two sides of the building, designed for outdoor dining and cocktails.
The target date for opening is sometime in August or September. As for the menu, Watson and Malivert are currently developing it together. "The menu will go a little deeper" than Cafe Fundamental, Watson says.
Meanwhile, Cafe Fundamental, which opened in August 2012 at 115 Porter Road in East Nashville, will continue to operate. In fact, Watson says he's working on two expansions of that concept: cooking classes and a new bakery.
Kitchen Fundamentals is the name of Watson's extensive slate of cooking classes, which take place at the restaurant Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays starting next week. Classes are "very hands-on, very intense and very technique driven," Watson says. Check out the schedule and curriculum here.
The other project is the launch of a commercial bakery. Watson says he had originally planned to open the bakery at the Porter Road address, but that plan appears to have fallen through. "We are aggressively seeking a new location," Watson says.
The main focus of the bakery will be bread; in French terms, it's a boulangerie. But it will also produce croissants, both plain and in a multitude of flavors. There will be a retail component to the bakery, but the main thrust will be wholesale, serving other restaurants in town.
The bakery will open as soon as Watson locks in a place to fire up the ovens. Bites will share more details as we get them.