Since opening in June 2002, Family Wash has built a loyal and devoted following thanks to its casual and warm ambiance, eclectic mix of live music, and decent, well-priced pub fare. Soon after the small East Nashville bar/club/eatery was up and running, majority owner Fred Grgich turned his attention to opening the more upscale Chapel Bistro nearbywhich left much of the on-site logistics of the Wash to partner Jamie Rubin. Rubin managed the room, bartended and booked all the music. This past summer, Julia Helton came on board as chef, expanding and considerably improving the menu.
In the past few weeks, a soap opera of miscommunication, misunderstandings and mishaps has resulted in what all partiesand customersanticipate is a temporary closing of this neighborhood hangout. It all started around Christmas, when Family Wash had closed as announced for the holiday. That Friday, a break-in occurred, with the damage essentially limited to a broken window and stolen cash register. But thanks to some unfinished paperwork and unsigned documents dealing with an unpaid sales tax bill, the Department of Revenue contacted the Alcohol Beverage Commission, and the ABC revoked the Wash’s license to sell alcohol. Rubin, who did not have charge of the financial side of the business, heard of the unfortunate chain of events on the way to Florida for a short vacation; his beer distributor reached him on his cell phone to explain that he couldn’t make a beer delivery. Family Wash, reopened for one day on Dec. 30, closed on Dec. 31 and remained shut down for the first two weeks of January.
Negotiations have been under way for Rubin and Helton to purchase majority ownership in the business; speaking earlier this week, Grgich said he was very hopeful that those negotiations would have a positive outcome. “I look back on it now and think I must have been crazy to try to open two new restaurants in the same year,” he said. “The best solution would be for Jamie and Julia to own it and run it. Jamie grew it into the great place it has become, and Julia is so passionate about food.”
The late-breaking news is that Rubin and Helton’s offer has indeed been accepted; they hope to reopen almost immediatelythis Thursdaythough they will have to reapply for a liquor license. Soon after opening, they plan to hold a fundraiser over two consecutive weekends; their long-term goal is to expand the room and the kitchen.
At your service
:McDougal’s Village Coop is now open, offering patrons of the Belcourt Theatre across the street a place to grab a bite and a beer before or after the show. The casual eatery with a reasonably priced menu of chicken fingers, burgers, sandwiches and saladsand the ubiquitous PBR on tapwill no doubt also appeal to nearby Vandy students and the youthful set. 2115 Belcourt Ave. Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Mon.-Wed.; 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Thurs.-Sat.
The newest incarnation of the former Maude’s/Trilogy/Casablanca/Atlantis building is finished, and on Monday, Jan. 12, The Rack Room and Blue Bar was cued up and ready to roll. Chef Josh Weekley, with partners Jim Simpson, Kelly Jones and Kevin Gannon, is betting that their corner of the midtown areawhich already boasts Virago, Patrick’s and Red Door Salooncan support another dining/drinking/ entertainment venue. Open seven days a week, the Rack Room is at 1911 Broadway.
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