Germantown Café owners to launch a sequel
Is “5” Chris Lowry and Jay Luther’s lucky number? The founders of Germantown Café at the corner of Fifth and Madison must think so. They have just signed a lease for a second restaurant on the ground level of a new development of townhouses, lofts and flats called 5th & Main. Located at Spring and Main Streets, the development will include a commercial mix of retail and restaurants, among them Lowry-Luther’s new venture, Allium. Of Latin origin, the name describes plants of the lily family—including onions, leeks, chives, garlic and shallots—whose stalks bear clusters of colored flowers and intoxicating scents. Luther’s menu will interpret the name through French-inspired cuisine, with forays into Spain and Italy. Luther will preview much of the Allium menu at Germantown Café prior to opening in late 2007.
Everton Oglesby Architects are planning an aesthetic similar to Germantown, with a commanding view of downtown Nashville. Front-of-the-house man Lowry says the main dining room will seat about 110, the separate bar area another 30, and the patio 20 more. A website soon to be operational, alliumnashville.com
, will chronicle progress as it unfolds.
Trial by fire
Chefs Kim Totzke and Laura Wilson, who are rewriting the menu, taking over the kitchen and tightening up the front of the house at Ombi, dropped into the bar/restaurant on Elliston Place last Friday night to get acquainted with head bartender Terrell Raley. They had barely settled onto the fancy stools when a party of 42—with no reservation—walked through the door, seated themselves en masse on the banquette, and ordered dinner. Totzke and Wilson promptly put on aprons to help the two cooks on duty that night. Less than an hour later, the entire party was eating, and the girls were back at the bar, resuming their happy hour.
Ombi re-opens Friday at 4 p.m., with dinner from the new menu beginning at 5. A late-night menu from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday is expected to lure members of the service industry looking to take a load off their feet and get a bite to eat. The DJ dance parties will no longer be staged at Ombi as it focuses on grown-up dining, select wines and retro cocktails.
South of the border
Though Nashville counts a significant population of immigrants from Mexico and Central America, the number of Uruguayans now calling Nashville home numbers only about 10. On Saturday night, 20 percent of them were toiling in a small storefront that will open mid-month as Nola, a lunch and dinner café owned by Alexia Cabrera. The exuberant young woman from the small South American country has worked in the kitchen of Patrick’s since it opened. When the Louisiana-flavored restaurant recently closed, Cabrera took it as a sign to open her own place. Nola fills the space vacated by Obie’s, in the small strip center on West End Avenue where Vandyland was located for 70-some years. After a major cleanup, the walls have been painted in rich earth tones with jewel accents. Fellow Uruguayan Guillermo Diemarch, whose culinary artist brother Juan works in the kitchen at Mambu, is enlivening the sign and interior walls with his original artwork. The Nola menu will lean heavily toward Cajun tastes, thanks to Cabrera’s time at Patrick’s, but she will also introduce locals to some Uruguayan and other South American specialties. Cabrera has been cooking since she was 7 years old. She learned about food from her grandmother and about wine from her grandfather, who recruited her to crush grapes in his wine-making operation. Nola will start with a beer list, eventually expanding to wine. As for mate
, the traditional South American hot herbal tea served from a hard-shelled gourd and drunk through a specially designed silver bombilla
? Cabrera acknowledges that it’s an acquired taste, not even acquired by all Uruguayans. Don’t expect to see it on the menu. Nola will serve from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday at 2914 West End Ave. Phone: 341-3693 or 341-3694.
While the Titans play on the field has killed many a tailgater’s appetite thus far in the season, Second Harvest is hoping football fans will show up at LP Field to chow down this Sunday at the Taste of the Titans benefit. More than 30 Middle Tennessee restaurants will offer tasting plates during the Colts-Titans game in Indianapolis, which will be broadcast on big screen televisions. Pre-game dining begins at 11 a.m. Tickets—$25 for singles, $45 per couple and $50 per family—can be purchased in advance by calling Second Harvest at 627-1615 or at the event. There will be free parking in lots S, H, G and M. Participating restaurants include Zola, Park Café, Sunset Grill, Midtown Café, Cabana, Bound’ry, South Street, Mirror and Provence Breads and Café.