For more than three decades s I've written & edited about startup & small businesses, personal finance, women's health, food, drink, & the great outdoors. I love to tell the stories of the South.
A Nashville Itinerary Packed With Rowdy Music, Cutting-Edge Creative Culture, and Top Tier Restaurants
Yes, it was, is, and will always be Music City. The twang of a guitar and the tale of a broken heart are in Nashville's DNA. Yet its entrepreneurial spirit and maker culture are always in evidence, too, in its restaurants, its shops, and even its hotels. Spend a few days here and meet the chefs, performers, and designers who are making Nashville the most creative city in the South.
Daniel Chester French is sometimes referred to as “America’s sculptor,” a nickname as big as his most famous work, the mammoth statue of Abraham Lincoln that sits inside the Lincoln Memorial. His former summer home now houses an artist-in-residence program to fulfill his legacy.
The historic Woolworth building is a landmark because it was the location of 1960s sit-ins. What's happening there now is emblematic of larger Nashville conversations.
“The Hermitage Hotel is really a character in the story of suffrage. It served a bigger purpose than a venue,” explains Carole Bucy, the county historian. Bucy has spent considerable time researching the city and state’s connection to the women’s suffrage movement, particularly leading up to the 2020 centennial of ratification. “I cannot think of another hotel in Tennessee that has the history it has.”
Rita Martinez was surprised. Her pandemic-pivot business, The Salty Cubana, had taken off. After selling croquetas, breads and other Cuban bites at pop-ups and farmers markets, she was asked to make fried-to-order empanadas at a seven-hour event for the Nashville Predators early in 2022.
Martinez precooked the meat-filled pastries (with Porter Road beef stuffed in vegan dough) in a permitted commercial commissary kitchen. Transporting the precooked, frozen empanadas allowed her to fry on site...
A coalition of Nashville chefs and farmers hopes to change Tennessee state laws.
Many colleges and universities nationwide are facing housing shortages in 2022. Freshman classes are larger than usual, in part because some students deferred starting college during the pandemic. But at Tennessee State University the challenges are a little bit different.
Most American distilleries buy neutral grain spirit in bulk from ethanol factories in the Midwest; many craft distillers even skip the part of making their own base alcohol, buying their neutral spirit after corn has been germinated, fermented, and distilled. But when Rob Forster, Chand Harlow, and Thomas Alexander launched Wonderbird Spirits in Taylor, Miss., in 2018, they didn’t want to do things that way.
When Andy Mumma opened the first Barista Parlor location in an old East Nashville transmission shop a decade ago, it was hard to imagine it would become an essential neighborhood destination. It didn’t even have a street-facing storefront. He wasn’t sure if people would show up to buy coffee from the old garage he overhauled (with help from his friends and his dad).
When Scott Jordan, the SCOTTeVEST’s CEO and co-founder, wanted to take the pups for a hike in the summer of 2021, he didn’t have a staff member to mind the store. So, he bought a couple hundred dollars of electronics, including a Ring doorbell, motion sensors, an Alexa Echo speaker, and security cameras. He put a sign on the door explaining the concept of “honor shopping.”
It started out modestly.
Melvil Arnt wanted his parents to immigrate to Nashville from their native France so they could spend time with their two young grandsons. So the three of them opened a no-reservations bistro with a focused menu and limited hours. Once Upon a Time in France opened in December 2019, and even with the dining restrictions from the pandemic, the restaurant has been a success. On a recent Saturday afternoon, a line of more than 30 people snaked along Gallatin Avenue...
Dismayed at the lack of business ownership opportunities and advancement afforded to entrepreneurial women, Marianne Markowitz spearheaded a consortium to form a women-founded, women-owned and women-led de novo in search of a national solution.
“Our goal is really to work ourselves out of a job,” says acclaimed Dallas chef Chad Houser. Café Momentum is Houser’s brainchild.
Café Momentum’s goal is to help kids ages 15 to 19. Yes, to give them skill sets and jobs, but Houser wanted to address more than that. He wanted to address the long-term hurdles formerly incarcerated young people face, like finding housing, support systems and health care.
Now Café Momentum is opening its first Nashville restaurant, using the non-profit model that worked in Dallas.