East Side Buzz: Tomato Art Fest Issue, Edgefield Sports Bar & Grill to Reopen, Radio Cafe Signs Off, Boutique Hotels Coming to East Nashville, Dickerson Corridor Makeover, General Elections, and more

 Save a Spot in Our Upcoming Tomato Art Fest Issue

Our annual Tomato Art Fest issue is coming soon. And if you’d like to be in it, there’s still time. The East Nashvillian is the media partner for the festival, and our Tomato Art Fest issue is traditionally our most sought-after edition of the year both in print and online. In addition to the TAF special section, this year’s issue will include the “Go-To Guide” booklet for the festival — which includes the schedule, lineup, and passbook — and will be distributed as the exclusive directory at the official Tomato Art Fest information booth. Questions/ad needs? Contact us at sales@theeastnashvillian.com.

 Former Edgefield Sports Bar & Grill Finds New Owners

Photo by Jordan O’Donnell

A favorite East Nashville bar and eatery shuttered this summer will reopen in the fall with new owners and a new name, but it will keep its historic neighborhood bar style. Former Edgefield Sports Bar & Grill owner Charlie “Buzz” Edens announced the establishment’s coming closure back in February after more than two decades of operation at the 921 Woodland St. location, as he decided not to renew his lease which expired this summer. A trio of new owners, Michael McIlroy, Sam Ross and Brandon Bramhall, who launched the craft cocktail bar Attaboy at 8 Mcferrin Ave. in 2017, will take the keys to Edgefield.

“Our intention is to stay true to the tradition of the much-loved dive bar with the only changes planned … a light refurbishment and a new name,” Bramhall says in an email.

The new owners say they will keep the no-frills menu, serving up burgers, beer and whiskey from lunch until late, seven days a week. They’ll also have pool tables, games, music and lots of sports.

For more on Edgefield, check out our “History Channeled” feature by Randy Fox here.

Radio Cafe Signs Off

The second incarnation of the beloved East Side music venue, the Radio Cafe, has officially closed its doors. Owner and manager Mac Hill, cancelled all scheduled shows this weekend and has already started moving fixtures out of the building at 4150 Gallatin Pike in Inglewood.

“The music business is always tough,” Hill says. “We got priced out. My landlord went up on the rent $900 a month, and I couldn’t afford it. That’s really the gist of it.”

Hill says he knew about the rent increase for several months but was hoping to work out an arrangement with the landlord. Any such options ran out last week. “He finally said this is the money I want if you want to stay here, so that was it,” Hill says. “It’s a hot piece of property. People were knocking on my door almost every day wanting to buy it. I don’t know what the plans are, but the landlord said they’re going to try and improve it.”

In 1995, Hill opened the original Radio Cafe in the former Hooser’s Pharmacy building at the corner of Woodland Street and 14th. One of the first revitalized music venues to open in East Nashville, the Radio Cafe survived the 1998 tornado and several ups and downs before closing in 2007 when Hill sold the building. After almost a decade of retirement from the live music business, Hill opened the new version of the Radio Cafe in 2016 as detailed in the March-April 2018 issue of The East Nashvillian.

While Hill has no plans for a third incarnation of the Radio Cafe at this time, he has learned from past experiences. “I am keeping the P.A. equipment, so that may tell you something,” he says. “Right now I’m at a crossroads, I can’t say never, but I will say, not now.”

More Boutique Hotels Coming to East Nashville

Eastside Church of Christ to become a boutique hotel

More hotels are in the works for the East Side. The Nashville Business Journal reports developers of The Russell, a small hotel opened this May in the renovated historic church at the intersection of Russell and South Ninth Streets, have purchased the Eastside Church of Christ property at 2518 Gallatin Ave. and are planning another hotel for that site. Micah Lacher and Anchor Investments bought the 24,000-square-foot property for $3 million and intend to renovate the existing structures, creating a small hotel in the church’s Sunday school building along with a food and beverage space in the sanctuary of the as-yet unnamed project. The church was built in 1925, and a renovation in the 1960s added the Sunday school building to the property. The new hotel, which developers estimate will cost about $8 million in renovation, will offer 26 rooms ranging from $150-$250 per night. The property is situated between a Walgreens and a CVS, just north of Chester Avenue. Anchor Investments has had a division focused on redevelopment of distressed and historic commercial properties for over a decade, according to the Nashville Business Journal.

Another boutique hotel is slated for 916 Main St., the current site of Holleman Transmission, next door to Molly Green, a regional chain clothing boutique. The Nashville Post reports that Oldacre McDonald acquired the .20-acre site just south of McFerrin Avenue in April for $975,000, and plans with M Cubed Developments to build a 5-story structure with 12 four-bedroom units and 12 one-bedroom units along with retail space and a parking area under the building. The plan was to have come before the Metro Development and Housing Agency Design Review Committee Tuesday on June 4, but that hearing has been postponed.

Two other hotels, FieldHouse Jones at 809 Main St. and Bridal Suites at 931 Main St., are set to open soon as well. Vandyke Bed & Beverage, another boutique hotel, opened on April 1 in Five Points.

Metro Council Candidates to Meet with East Side Voters

East Nashvillians will have a couple of opportunities to meet with Metro Council candidates in the coming days.  Voters in District 7 are invited to a candidate forum on Tuesday, June 18, 6-7:30 p.m. at Dose Café and Dram Bar, 1400 McGavock Pike in Riverside Village. Six of the eight announced candidates seeking to represent the district are confirmed to attend, including Emily Benedict, Clint Camp, Stephen Downs, Dan Fitzpatrick, Stephanie Johnson, and Cole D. Rogers. The event will be moderated by Odessa Kelly, voted Best Activist by Nashville Scene readers in 2018 and co-chair of Stand-Up Nashville, a coalition advocating increased Metro funding for community centers and city employee salaries. The forum is hosted by Tara Houston and Issac Kimes, Executive Committee Members of the Davidson County Democratic Party. Not sure if you live in District 7? Go here and type in your address to find out, or check out this district map. The forum is free and open to the public.

Fabian Bedne, who is running for Metro Council at large will have a meet and greet at Amqui Station, 303 Madison St. in Madison on Thursday, June 20 from 6-8 p.m. The event is hosted by John Parrish and friends. It is free and open to the public. You can also check out this Q & A with Bedne in the  Nashville Post.

As noted in our last issue of the East Side Buzz, a record number of LGBTQ candidates are running for spots in Metro Nashville government this year. For more detailed LGBTQ candidate profiles, including profiles of those seeking to serve East Nashville and Madison, check out this issue of Out and About Nashville.

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Dickerson Corridor Gets Set for a Makeover

 The Dickerson South Corridor Study was on the agenda at the Metro Planning Commission this week. The study proposes a redevelopment of the corridor and adjacent neighborhoods in a plan that calls for more high-density mixed-use zones, new transit hubs, wider streets, more sidewalks, and new greenways. Produced by the Planning Department, the study also reflects the input of a community-based steering committee  and stake-holder groups which began meeting in January of 2019. The study also calls for “taller buildings in appropriate locations,” some up to 15-stories, mostly on west side of Dickerson Pike, away from existing residential neighborhoods on the east side. A transit hub is proposed for TriStar Skyline Medical Center, with “transit nodes” to be positioned at key intersections along the main thoroughfare. An expansion of the greenway system that will connect to the Cumberland River is envisioned along Pages Branch on the west side of Dickerson. Many of the proposals would require changes in existing zoning, which would have to be approved by Metro Council.

While the proposed improvements are welcome by some in the neighborhood, others express concerns that much of the affordable housing along the corridor will disappear, making way for high-end retail, office complexes, and pricey condominiums with a river-views. For more on the potential impact of the new plan, see this story in The Tennessean.

Quick Bits

–We’re happy to announce that Shake Your Hips: The Excello Records Story, a 2018 book by The East Nashvillian Managing Editor Randy Fox, has been nominated for Best Blues Book of 2018 by Living Blues magazine. See Daryl Sanders’ article about the book here. If you’ve read Shake Your Hips and appreciate it’s engaging look at a historic period in Nashville’s vibrant blues and R&B scene, we encourage you to help it win the Living Blues award by voting online here by July 19.

–Marché Artisan Foods was a recent target of a phone scam, according to NewsChannel5. During the first week of June, someone walked into the restaurant and asked to use the phone. The person then managed to forward all of Marché’s calls to himself, and when people called with to-go orders or bakery orders, he stole their credit card numbers. Additionally, some people called for reservations, and the scammer took the callers’ credit card numbers to “hold” the reservations. Marché doesn’t take reservations. Those who called Marché and left credit card numbers during the first week of June are advised to cancel their cards.

–Nashville has dramatically underfunded its local arts programs, a recent Metro audit discovered. This week WPLN reported that some $363,000 earmarked for the city’s public art fund in 2017 never made it there. One of the hallmarks of a great city is its public art, and for nearly two decades, Music City has funded art projects large and small through an arrangement that sets aside funds from other public projects and designates the money for things like large scale outdoor sculptures or works housed in public buildings. In keeping with a 2000 ordinance developed with advocacy from the Metro Arts Commission, Nashville takes one percent from major Metro capital spending projects such as new buildings or recreational sites and channels that money into the Percent for Public Art Fund. But the audit showed several capital spending projects in 2017 were not figured into that year’s one percent tally. Some of the public art funded in this way include the East Bank riverfront Ghost Ballet sculpture and the Stix roundabout sculpture, as well as pieces at area libraries and community centers. The Metro Finance Department is working with the Arts Commission to restore the missing funds.

–While residents along the Gallatin Avenue corridor eagerly await the arrival of a new Publix grocery store and an expanded Eastland Kroger, folks living on the other side of East Nashville in the James Cayce Homes neighborhood don’t have quite so many nearby shopping choices. In fact, right now, they don’t have any. The last market nearby, Family Dollar, closed back in the spring, and no new tenants are in sight for the property owned by the H.G. Hill Realty Company. See more on the Cayce Homes food desert from WPLN. For more on Family Dollar closures nationwide, see this from CNN.

– With his most recent album Close to Home set to drop later this month from Plowboy Records, Chuck Mead will be playing several tour dates in East Nashville, kicking things off at American Legion Post 82 in Inglewood on June 18 at 9 p.m., just ahead of the official June 28 release date. This new collection, the first full-length album since 2014’s Free State Serenade, has been described by Rolling Stone as a “part-T.Rex stomp and part-outlaw country swagger.” Mead will also be appearing at The 5 Spot, Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge, Grimey’s New and Pre-loved Music, The Nashville Palace, and other locations in town before he heads out for the European leg of his tour. For more on Mead, the new album and tour, check out his website at Chuck Mead.

–The rent is too damn high for many of Nashville’s newest teachers. In order to live in the city where they work, many of Nashville’s lowest-paid teachers spend about half their salaries for rent. To make ends meet, they often work second and third jobs. Teachers cite low pay coupled with lack of affordable housing as reason for leaving jobs in Metro schools. See this story in The Tennessean for more.

–The restaurant Juicy Seafood opened recently at 2616 Gallatin Ave., not far from the Margaret Maddox YMCA. The restaurant, which also operates an eatery by the same name in Hermitage, specializes in shellfish dishes, including oysters, shrimp, crab, and crawfish. A menu is available here.

–Ten new Yoshino Cherry trees were planted along Riverfront Park this past week. They replace those sacrificed to the gods of the NFL draft. While Nashvillians are no doubt glad to see that bit of the downtown canopy restored, they probably will not forget how very willing Metro was to part with the original trees for the sake of a one-time event. For more on the new trees, see The Tennessean.