4425 Murphy Rd. 385-2201
Open 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily
Norma Crowe is a born and bred Southerner, but in 1996, when she bought several of the properties at the curve of Murphy Road in Sylvan Park, she envisioned a quaint little French village of eclectic shops and dining choices.
With the late-May opening of McCabe Market, operated by Crowe and members of her family, she has completed renovation of the last of those properties, and her vision has come into focus. Her tenants include Portland Brew, the Trick Chandler Art Gallery, and the wildly popular Caffe Nonna. Though chef Willie Thomas is not a tenant, the transformation of the strip helped lure him to the area, and in March he opened Park Café a few doors down.
In February, Crowe took over the space previously occupied by Jack’s Market and spent the next several months cleaning, overhauling, and refurbishing the property. She installed new shelving and a small kitchen, and she added a back porch and a roll-up door on the front that gives the market the feel of an open-air stall.
The inventory has also undergone a complete makeover. The shelves are stocked with pantry basics, but also high-end gourmet specialty items and ethnic cooking products. In the freezer case, customers will find Wolfgang Puck pizzas along with Boca Burgers. Freshly made sandwiches can be ordered from the deli department, and fans of local cookbook author/restaurateur/caterer Daisy King will be thrilled to find some of her specialties, such as squash casserole, corn pudding, and chicken pot pie, in the prepared-food case.
Miss Daisy is sharing space with items from the Silver Leaf, the popular Hickman County inn that has been operated by Crowe as a bed and breakfast and reservation-only dining room for more than 20 years. Along with orange bran muffins and the award-winning Mama Crowe’s jam cake, other Silver Leaf items available recently included carrot cake, chocolate cake, potato salad, and pecan chicken salad.
“I feel like I have the very best here,” Crowe says. “I’ve got Miss Daisy, I’ve got Jeff Tolar for pastries, Provence Breads, Silver Leaf specialties, and fancy gourmet items. I think we’ve brought in something that is new and different, and that works for this neighborhood as it grows and changes.”
McCabe Market presents a songwriters night every Thursday on the back porch from 7 to 9 p.m., and very soon the Bee Spring Garden Center will open in the rear of the market, selling herbs, flowers, and small plants.
Will work for food
Nashville foodies will want to add this address to their personal dining guides: 1806 Hayes St. That’s the location of the new restaurant popular Nashville chefs Anita Hartell and Corey Griffith will open sometime in July.
Hartell built her reputation at several cutting-edge restaurants around town in the mid- to late ’80s; Griffith came to Nashville in the mid-’90s to take Deb Paquette’s place at Cakewalk when Paquette left for the Bound’ry kitchen. The two met through Rick Bolsom, who owned Cakewalk (now Zola) and Tin Angel. Like most chefs, they talked about opening their own restaurant, and after Griffith left Cakewalk, they began the quest in earnest. Frustrated in their attempts to raise capital, they eventually met businesswoman and Realtor Nina Neal. The three teamed up, and in December 1998, they opened Sasso at the corner of 14th and Woodland streets in East Nashville.
Thanks in large part to Hartell’s and Griffith’s loyal followings, and their creative and edgy menu, the restaurant attracted not only nearby residents, but also the West Nashville and Green Hills crowd across the river. Alas, all was not well behind the scenes at Sasso, and in January of this year Griffith and Hartell departed, taking their menu with them. Neal closed the restaurant for lunch, and hired Jason Love, Natalie Hafner, and Betsy Johnson to create a simpler, more affordable dinner menu.
Meanwhile, Hartell and Griffith have been aggressively pursuing opportunities to open another place of their own. When friends at Briar Patch Catering told the pair about the house on Hayes Street that their mother owned, the chefs jumped on it. For the past several weeks, they have been hard at work transforming the Victorian home, which recently served as medical offices, into a restaurant. (Briar Patch Catering operates out of the basement level.)
Griffith recently offered a quick tour through the construction site: There will be several different dining rooms, though portions of walls have been knocked down or cut out, to give the whole space an open feel. A bar is being constructed in one room using doors from the home, materials from the former Briar Patch ice cream store, and antique wooden physician’s shelving.
The restaurant will seat about 90, and the menu will be similar to Sasso, though Hartell and Griffith promise to “trick it out some.” The name of the restaurant will be Mambu, and the phone number will be 329-1293.
Since Clayton-Blackmon, A Bistro closed its doors on Hillsboro Circle in Green Hills a few months ago, several aspiring tenants have been vying for the space, among them the Atlanta Bread Company, a quick-casual chain with more than 90 franchises (and with its first Tennessee store already open in chain-happy Cool Springs).
Score another victory for the little guys. Tony Moon, the chef/owner of Jack Russell’s An American Cafe in the Grassland area on Hillsboro Road, has just signed a lease on the property, along with partners Tom Loventhal (of Noshville and others), Mary Loventhal Jones, and Jeff Kuhn. He will close his Grassland restaurant just prior to the move, and he hopes to have the new Jack Russell’s up and running sometime in August.
Thanks to a succession of failuresClayton-Blackmon, H.R.H. Dumplin’s, and Boston Market among themthis Green Hills address has gained a reputation as being hexed, which can be the kiss of death in the restaurant industry. Moon is up to the challenge.
“We just celebrated our fifth anniversary in Grassland,” he says. “We are out there all by ourselves. We have been totally a destination restaurant, but because we have handcrafted food at moderate prices, we have been very successful. I consider the Hillsboro Circle store to be a prime location. We will be able to put in a full bar, and we will have plenty of traffic with people already there for the movies, the shopping, the services, the work-out centers. The irony is that I will probably attract people to Green Hills who live two miles from my restaurant and have never been in.”
Moon says that Sandy Zeigler, who designed the interior of the Grassland location, will again supervise. “We will Jack Russell-ize the restaurant. We’ll have sassafras wood and the rusted metal, and we’ll bring the doggie wall in its entirety. It will be a very comfortable room, and our menu will remain American food with attitude.”
Score one for David. Bob Bernstein, tireless crusader for coffee purity and owner of Bongo Java Roasting Company, Bongo Java, and Fido, has booted Goliatha.k.a. Starbucksoff the Vanderbilt campus.
For the past few weeks, his freshly roasted coffee beans have brewed the official coffee for Vanderbilt, in Rand dining hall and at convenience stores around campus. “For some time now, we have been trying to make the case to [Vandy officials] that fresh coffee is better coffee,” Bernstein says. “Starbucks Coffee sits in a warehouse somewhere for who-knows-how-long before being shipped across the country. Our coffee is roasted here and delivered fresh. I am very glad that Vanderbilt heard us and decided to go with a local purveyor. Aside from that, I think the biggest reason they went with us is that we make a better cup of coffee.”
Funny, that’s exactly how Kim Jarboe, marketing manager for Vanderbilt Dining Services, explains the switch: “The biggest reason we chose to go with Bongo Java is simply because they make a better cup of coffee than we were selling.”
She also notes that Dining Services had been gravitating toward a local roast for some time, and when they test-drove Bongo Java at the end of last semester, they had very favorable results. “In general, college food is moving away from national branding to more local products,” she says. “Though a lot of what we sell is self-branded, Vanderbilt Dining wants to support local business in our community, so it was sort of an easy decision for us. Besides that, Bob is great to work with, and it’s so much easier to deal with someone locally rather than to have to work your way through a national chain and corporation. Bob is a phone call away.”
You don’t need a college education to figure that out.