Goldie’s Deli makes a move
On Sunday, June 25, Goldie’s Deli will serve its last corned beef on rye from Belle Meade Plaza. For 40 years, the slice of space at 4520 Harding Road has been the source for classic Jewish fare like knishes, chopped liver, blintzes, kugel and chicken soup, as well as New York deli sandwich standards. The first tenant in that spot when the center opened in the mid-’60s was Schwartz’s Delicatessen. Goldie and Jeff Morris took over the lease in 1996, renaming it Goldie’s, but otherwise maintaining the high standards of quality and tradition set by their predecessors.
Goldie’s lease expired in February, and—in what is becoming a very familiar refrain for a host of Nashville landmarks—the tremendous spike in real estate prices that is marking the West End/Harding corridor dramatically narrows the profit margin for small, independently owned businesses. While the owners of the Plaza have generously allowed them to stay on temporarily, they have been scouting alternative locations. Just a few weeks ago, they signed a lease for new digs in Sylvan Park, joining a thriving restaurant community that includes Sylvan Park restaurant, McCabe Pub, Star Bagel, Café Nonna, Park Café and, until two weeks ago, Murphy’s Loft, the spot at the curve of Murphy Road where the new Goldie’s will be located.
The space has already been emptied, and the Morrises are in the process of cleaning, purchasing new equipment and designing the small room to suit their needs. “It’s probably half the size of our place now, but we think if we follow the Café Nonna method of space efficiency, we won’t lose any of our indoor seating, which is 40,” says Jeff Morris. “Plus, we’ll have the outdoor dining, which will be larger than we have in Belle Meade.”
Morris notes that Goldie’s has a loyal customer base that they feel will follow them to Sylvan Park, “especially if they take the short-cut down Cherokee,” the street where he spent the first six years of his life. He already feels at home in the new neighborhood, which is where their son has lived for two years. The menu will remain the same, though they will open earlier—probably 6:30 a.m.—to get the breakfast and coffee crowd that have frequented the building at 4501 Murphy Road through several incarnations, notably Portland Brew’s first Nashville spot; closing time will depend on the neighborhood response and needs. The Morrises hope to be fully operational by the first week of July. Goldie’s phone number, 292-3589, will remain the same.
Chapel Bistro closes
Chapel Bistro, which expanded the borders of the burgeoning East Nashville restaurant boom when it opened at the corner of Chapel and Eastland avenues in late 2003, performed its last service on Saturday night. The restaurant made a sparkling debut, snagging several dining awards in its first year of operation. Owned by insurance exec and East Nashville homie Turner Williams, Chapel’s more high-profile names were talented chef Ted Prater and well-traveled front-of-the-house guy/designer Fred Grgich. A little over a year later, both were gone. The restaurant was unable to regain its footing and has suffered a declining level of business since.
Yet, as East Nashville’s residential and commercial development shows no signs of slowing, the location remains attractive, so much so that several suitors have been vying for it in recent months. On June 20, Yvette and Willy Thomas will take possession, hoping to re-create the success they’ve enjoyed in Sylvan Park since opening Park Café in 2001.
The fact that the couple work in West Nashville, and live with their three children in Williamson County, doesn’t deter them from venturing into the tightly knit, fiercely independent and proudly quirky neighborhood. “We weren’t looking for something else,” Yvette says. “Between Park Café and the kids, we’re crazy busy now. But we heard this was becoming available, and from the minute I drove down Eastland Avenue, I fell in love with the area. There is such a good feeling in that building. We’re looking forward to getting to know our neighbors as we have in Sylvan Park.”
They are currently fielding applications from local chefs and interviewing for front-of-the-house positions. They expect to keep the bar as it is, though furnishings in the main room will likely change. (Thank God. Get rid of those low, butt-bustin’ chairs, please.) The menu is under consideration, though Yvette says the goal is to be affordable enough to allow neighborhood residents to “make it their home away from home.” They haven’t settled on a name, but they hope to be open by Aug. 1.
Deal a meal
Summer is the restaurant biz’s slowest season, which means discerning diners can find delectable deals in many of the city’s pricier establishments. Morton’s serves up a particularly appealing bargain with its Grilled Trio Dinner: a center-cut filet mignon, sesame encrusted yellowfin tuna and two jumbo shrimp, served with grilled asparagus, a Caesar or Morton’s salad, and a choice of either the restaurant’s signature Hot Chocolate Cake or crème brulee for dessert. The tab is just $59 per person, and will be available nightly through Aug. 31. Morton’s is at 681 Church St. Open daily from 5:30 p.m.; call 259-4558 for reservations.