12 South gets a tea shop
“As God is my witness, I will never be thirsty again!” Certainly not if you reside in the 12 South neighborhood, which in its eight-block commercial district counts two coffee shops, Rumours wine bar and restaurant and two full bars at Mirror and MafiaOza’s Pizzeria. The men behind the pizzeria are hard at work on their highly anticipated wine shop, at the end of their little strip center at the corner of 12th and Caruthers, which will complement Corrieri’s Formaggeria on the side street.
In June, Will Shuff expects to have the 12South Tap Room pulling drafts and pouring pints inside the former 12South Market and out on the new patio. And if all goes well, come July, Kim Carpenter Drake will be throwing tea parties in the Paris Building, 2814 12th Ave. S., in a ground-level space formerly used by 12South Yoga, which still occupies the space next door.
Drake, who has spent nearly 20 years in the nonprofit world—from the Nashville Symphony to the Nashville Zoo—had what she terms an “early midlife crisis” a couple of years ago, and decided to make her passion her profession. “I love England, love to visit there, love the fact that very civilized people manage to carve some time out in the middle of the day to sit and talk,” she says. “It’s not grabbing a cup of coffee to go; it’s taking tea. As I began to read more about tea, I found out that it’s not limited to England, but also a practice in India, China and Japan.”
Drake didn’t just read up on the subject, she studied it through courses offered by the Tea Association of America and the Specialty Tea Institutes, and has been certified a tea specialist. “I think you can gain certification in just about anything these days,” she says. “I learned enough to be able to speak intelligently on the subject. It’s a continuing education.”
Over a year ago, Drake opened Tea Time Nashville on Dogwood Lane in Berry Hill, selling loose and bagged tea, tea accoutrements and tea ware—traditional British pieces as well as items from Russia, China, Japan and India. A resident of Green Hills, she drove through 12 South every day on her way to work at the Frist, and has long felt the area would not only support her vision of a tea shop, but also her commitment to community. When the 12South Yoga space became available, she jumped at it. “The saddest thing about leaving Berry Hill is leaving that community, but I think this is the right move for the business. There is a lot more visibility on 12 South, and more residential walking traffic.”
Tea Time Nashville will not, at least in the beginning, serve brewed tea or food, but will offer different tea samples during business hours. She will also continue the tea tastings—similar to wine tastings—that have been very popular in the Berry Hill store, about two or three a month. “I hope people will come in not
knowing what they want,” she says. “I hope they come in curious, and wanting to try something new.”
Tea Time Nashville will initially be open Wed.-Sun. from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Italian Street Fair—a longtime fundraiser for the Nashville Symphony—was neither very Italian (red, white and green bunting do not a Little Italy make), nor on a street; it was a fair, though one with a decidedly more country than Mediterranean flavor. Sausage & Bocce in the Park, on the other hand, delivers what it promises: sausage sandwiches and bocce lessons and competition presented in Centennial Park, under the pavilion near the train engine.
The second annual celebration of all things Italian, presented by the local chapter of the Amerigo Vespucci Society, takes place Sunday, June 4, from noon to 5 p.m. Along with the aforementioned attractions, there will be pizza, Italian ice, Italian pastries, a silent auction and a children’s activity area.
It’s not clear whether the number of Italian Americans in the area is increasing, or if they are just coming out of the closet. In less than a year, two markets specializing in Italian foods have opened: Ernesto Schiratti and Jim Africano’s Italian Market, on 51st Avenue just north of Charlotte, and Corrieri’s Formaggeria, owned by Brett Corrieri in the 12 South neighborhood. Attention former Melrose Lane patrons: both have bocce courts, a.k.a. Italian lawn bowling, outside their buildings.
For more information on The Amerigo Vespucci Society, visit www.ItaliansInNashville.com