Like proud parents bestowing a name on a newborn, the Union Station team has finally dubbed its nascent restaurant Prime 108. Slated to open in mid-October, Prime 108 takes its title from The Bully 108, the first train engine to come through Union Station. A bas-relief of the train still adorns a wall in the hotel lobby.
Located in the space that once housed Arthur’s restaurant, Prime 108 will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and will feature a menu of contemporary American cuisine with an emphasis on seasonal, organic and local foods. Tom Cook, who has spearheaded catering services for the hotel since late 2005, will lead the kitchen.
Unlike the bygone Arthur’s, a landmark of long and formal dinners, Prime 108 will offer a casual dining atmosphere where guests can expect a meal to last an hour rather than an entire evening, says Mark Bloom, whose local Corner Partnership teamed with Florida-based Turnberry Associates in the purchase and $10 million renovation of Union Station Hotel that was completed this spring.
Forrest Perkins, the Dallas-based design firm responsible for the recent overhaul of the 125-room Union Station as well as the renovation of the five-star Hermitage Hotel, led the redesign of the intimate restaurant and bar. The new look blends original features of stone, gold leaf and stained glass with sleek contemporary elements.
Located in Union Station at 1001 Broadway, Prime 108 will be open seven days a week.
The Sol Also Rises
Why did the Red Pony cross the road? To open a Mexican restaurant.
Red Pony chef-owner Jason McConnell is crossing Franklin’s Main Street to open Sol, a Mexican concept that he says he’s been trying to put together forever. With the recent closing of Sandy’s Downtown Grille, just across the street from the Red Pony, things are falling into place.
After inking the lease on the property, McConnell, along with Esteban Cabrera and Austin Lopez from Red Pony, headed to Chicago for a tour of 14 Mexican restaurants in three days. Stopping in at Frontera Grill, Zocalo and Adobo Grill, the team picked up inspiration for the Sol menu.
But the original inspiration comes from McConnell’s stay in Mexico City a couple of years ago, when he scoured restaurants and markets and dined in private homes. Now he wants to interpret the authentic south-of-the-border flavors in a style that meets the standards set the by the year-old Red Pony. McConnell predicts tortillas and moles made from scratch, ceviche and squash blossom quesadillas, as well as guacamole prepared tableside and margaritas made with fresh-squeezed limes. Sol will be a little less expensive and a little more kid-friendly than the sultry Red Pony, which has quickly garnered a loyal clientele among Williamson County’s landed locals.
McConnell says he will do a cosmetic work-over of the restaurant, lightening up the colors and bringing in some artwork. “No sombreros, no piñatas,” he says. Located at 108 Fourth Ave. S., Sol is scheduled to open in early November.
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