What’s new for the new year? Depends on who you ask. For Martha Stamps, it’s a new restaurant; for Red Door and Rumours, a new meal; for Piranha’s, Provence and Kalamata’s, new stores; for Germantown Café, Tin Angel and Ellendale’s, new rooms; for Wild Boar, a new chef. And chef Sean Brock, who’s all about what’s new, has a brand new blog.
Martha S. opens Molly P’s
This year, Martha’s at the Plantation celebrates its fifth anniversary on the grounds of the Belle Meade Plantation, and chef/owner Martha Stamps will also celebrate the opening of her new eatery, located inside an old business moving to a new location. In late February or early March, the 70-year-old Belle Meade Drugs will be changing its address of the last 30 years from 4334 Harding Road to 85 White Bridge Road, in a newly constructed building next door to J. Alexander’s. But Picnic Café, the popular lunch spot within the drugstore, will not be moving. Instead, Stamps has signed a lease with store and pharmacy owners Tom and Brenda Zazzi to open a small café that will maintain the same hours: 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, until 6 p.m. on Saturday. In the mornings, she’ll serve gourmet coffee and teas, along with pastries and breakfast breads. Counter service will be available for lunch, which is where takeout dinner items will also be sold.
“I am really going back to what I was doing when I was at the Corner Market,” Stamps explains. “But the food will be closer to what I was doing when I was at Yellow Porch—more global influences than Southern. I am also very into healthy living these days, so the menu will be quite nutritionally aware.”
The new place will be named Molly P.’s, after an old childhood nickname of Stamps’. Meanwhile, Martha’s at the Plantation has gotten a bit of a facelift with new paint, new carpet and a new logo. Stamps will continue conducting cooking classes in that kitchen, with one on stews set for 4 p.m. Jan. 14. Cost is $35, reservations required; call 353-2828.
Now serving lunch
Red Door Saloon, the scruffy music biz and biker hangout tucked into a small lot on Division Street, is offering early risers—comparatively speaking—solid sustenance beginning at 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon on Sunday. Customers can chow down on seven different types of steamed sandwiches—including a Reuben, a turkey Reuben, Red Door sub and veggie sub—for $5.95 each, including chips, slaw and a pickle.
Rumours Wine Bar in 12 South has also added lunch to its repertoire, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. “We thought it would help drive daytime traffic both to The Art House Gallery & Studio [next door] and to the street,” explains Christy Shuff, co-owner of both establishments with Whitney Ferré. Shuff’s husband Will—with whom she owns 12th South Market & Deli a couple doors down—is chef, along with handsome Argentinean Hernan Borda, who splits his time between Rumours and Layl’a Rul. On the lunch board are two salads, a pasta, soup and catch of the day, as well as the restaurant’s signature crab cakes. Though cooler temperatures have emptied the popular sidewalk patio of patrons, live music from Jennifer Niceley and Amy Loftus is heating things up inside on Thursday nights starting at 8:30 p.m.
In the Roundabout
Two established Nashville eateries have set up shop in the Music Row Roundabout area. Provence Breads & Café opened its fifth site in mid-December in Roundabout Plaza, the office building at the top of Demonbreun Street. Reflecting the building in which it’s located, this Provence is more contemporary in design, with about 30 interior seats and 20 to 30 more on an outdoor patio. It’s also WiFi-outfitted, with access from the building lobby, sidewalk and Roundabout Plaza garage, where patrons can receive up to 90 minutes of free parking. Future plans call for wine to be served late into the evening, but for now the café is open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. While this particular location will be more self-service, it will also be the first to prepare custom sandwiches.
Just down the street, at the new satellite location of Kalamata’s, patrons will find the same nutritious and delicious Middle Eastern sandwiches, salads and entrées currently available at the first store in Green Hills, which is where much of the food will be made. Kalamata’s II is next door to Caffeine, in the space most recently leased by Music City Gyros. Initially, lunch will be served 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday, though hours will be extended if business warrants.
On the Rock Block
For six years, native Pittsburgher Michael Hamlin and partner Kirk Evans have been feeding downtown workers and late-night revelers their version of Steel City’s signature sandwich: meat, fries and slaw stacked between two thick slices of bread. Now the duo will do the same for another area of town rich in both daytime laborers and nighttime partiers: Elliston Place. The new Piranha’s Bar and Grill has taken over the former Sherlock Holmes Pub next door to Exit/In, where customers will find more than 30 versions of the Piranha sandwich, hand-cut fries, ice-cold bottled and draft beer, and a full bar.
Tin Angel, the cozy neighborhood bistro holding tight to its corner of West End Avenue, has spread its wings into the space next door, most recently occupied by a beauty salon/supply store. The addition, which includes its own coolers and staging kitchen for private parties, boasts an elegant and warmly appointed new dining room that can seat close to 40.
Another cozy neighborhood bistro, Germantown Café, is also expanding its corner lot at Fifth Avenue North and Madison, taking over the space to the left of the restaurant’s entrance. The bar will move next door and will add dining space for up to 25 on a raised platform offering a magnificent view of the State Capitol and Bicentennial Mall. An adjoining private dining room will be ideal for birthday parties, rehearsal dinners or a gathering of pharmaceutical reps and their clients. Construction is expected to begin in the next few weeks and should be completed by March. Already in effect is a new policy on reservations, which will now be accepted for dinner seven nights a week, though walk-ins and call-aheads are still welcome.
Ellendale’s, Donelson’s only upscale independent restaurant, has completed a 2,000-square-foot addition to its hilltop perch. The new space adds a bar, more tables and a spacious new kitchen. Late-night dining hours have been extended to midnight on weekends, and plans are in the works for live jazz and wine tastings. The wine list now offers more than 70 choices by the glass, and the appetizer menu has been revamped. Owned by recovering musician Michael Freeman and his wife/chef Julie Freeman, Ellendale’s celebrated its sixth anniversary at 2739 Old Elm Hill Pike last fall.
Chefs gone wild
The Wild Boar, Nashville’s only Four Star/Four Diamond restaurant, has snagged a new executive chef from one of Atlanta’s toniest establishments, the Four Seasons Hotel. Colin Quirk replaces executive chef Robert Price, who had been at the Boar for eight years. The new toque in town was born in Manhattan, but his move to Nashville is actually a homecoming of sorts, as Quirk was raised in East Tennessee, where he gained an affection for our regional flavors and products—which he promises to bring to the Wild Boar kitchen. The new à la carte menu on the restaurant’s website, at www.wildboarrestaurant.com
, shows early evidence of Quirk’s reliance on local growers and producers.
In with the new
As a professional diner, it’s rare that I’m permitted the luxury of turning off my internal culinary calibrator and immersing myself in an evening devoted solely to personal pleasure at the table. New Year’s Eve seemed the perfect time to do so, and as it turned out, The Capitol Grille in The Hermitage Hotel was the perfect place. Where better to take a fond look back at the departing year and usher in the new than at Nashville’s most historic and storied restaurant, gloriously refurbished and remodeled to ensure many more decades of celebration? The five-course meal, masterfully orchestrated by mad scientist/executive chef Sean Brock, was a spectacular creation of classic product extravagantly interpreted. Check out the menu and its dizzying prep list, as well other behind-the-curtain experiments, on Brock’s blog at www.seanbrock.blogspot.com