East Side Buzz
Happy 25th, Nashville Scene
By Chuck Allen
On a recent Friday evening an alumni party was held at the Music City Tippler celebrating the Nashville Scene's 25th year of publication. My partner and publisher, Lisa McCauley, is an alumnus, and we both have many friends who have worked there over the years.
As hard as it is to believe it's been 25 years, it's even harder to imagine the last quarter of a century without the Scene. Nashville was a much different city in 1989. At the time there was no unifying voice for the young, creative, and decidedly more cosmopolitan class of musicians, artists, photographers, writers, and restaurateurs who had begun to fundamentally alter Nashville's social fabric a decade earlier.
This was the void into which two young, brash entrepreneurs stepped. Bruce Dobie and Albie Del Favero saw the fork in the road and they took it, bringing Nashville along with them for the ride. The dominant conversation in those days seemed to be centered on some version of, "I wish people outside of Nashville realized we're not a bunch of hicks listening to country music and using outhouses." Now it seems, 25 years on, we got our wish — for better or for worse. The Scene was the anchoring point for Nashville's alternative . . . scene.
It sounds disingenuous for those of us who were there at the creation to begrudge the fruits of our labor, but now the conversation has turned to subjects like, "Man, if we'd had the kind of club scene these kids have today!" Whatever. It was a great time with a very special energy, but without regular injections of youth and vigor things grow stale. We're fortunate to have a vibrant alternative music scene to this very day; whether or not it pays homage to past groundbreaking is irrelevant.
Throughout the changes the Nashville Scene stood sentinel. In a way, it is the bridge between past and present. At least it is for me. We've traded old problems in for new ones, but the more things change the more they seem to stay the same.
So happy 25th anniversary, old friend, it's been good to have you around.
Matters of Development
By Eric Jans
The Post East is open. We've been following Tonya Lewis and Chris Cowley for a while now, ever since the first rumors of their search for space in the neighborhood for their coffee/juice/smoothie hang. 17th and Fatherland proved to be the perfect spot, and the new build-out looks amazing. It anchors the intersection diagonally across from the new Olive & Sinclair location.
The Shoppes at Fatherland are continuing their musical chairs, with successful businesses moving into bigger spaces while new ones are opening in the spaces left behind. Baxter and Bailey have moved into one of the larger shops facing Fatherland. Clothing and retail stores 1907 and 1907 Kids have closed. High Garden Teas is moving into the space formerly occupied by 1907, which allows space for people to sit and have a cup of tea on the premises.
Chocolate F/X has moved into the 1907 Kids space. Atlanta transplant and chocolatier Andrea Smith has been making confections for about five years and has a background in special effects makeup. She combined those talents to make unique chocolate molds and gifts. Unlike Olive & Sinclair, Andrea makes chocolate confections — mostly Belgian chocolate, such as truffles, barks, and caramels — which can be purchased as individual pieces at the store or as assortment boxes for gifts.
In Baxter and Bailey's old spot is Nest 615, a shabby chic furniture store run by Ginger Elle. She broke her foot a few years ago and couldn't do her job as a model so she started painting furniture. "I literally fell into this business," says Elle. Her store features rehabbed and painted furniture, as well as gifts and found objects. Store hours are 12-6, Wednesday through Saturday and 12-4, Sunday.
Meg Anderson is opening Nutmeg in the space formerly housed by High Garden Tea. It's a fabric, yarn, and craft store built from the concept she developed two years ago in her home, then in pop-up stores over the last six months. Slated to be open in mid-July, the store will feature handmade yarns, crafts and gifts. Anderson teaches workshops and hopes to provide a place for stitching circles and education about nurturing creativity. "I've been wanting to open a store for about twelve years," she says. "Just really to provide people the opportunity to create, I am so happy it's here in East Nashville." www.nutmegster.com
We had reported that a restaurant called Spark of Life was coming to the new development at 1100 Fatherland, but that fell through. It was recently announced that a new place called A Matter of Taste would be occupying that space instead. They currently have a restaurant on Franklin Road offering "freshly made sandwiches, salads, soups, sweet treats and daily specials" for dine in or take out. The focus is on farm-fresh, high-quality local ingredients and gluten-free options.
Also at 1100 Fatherland, juice bar Lynne Lorraine's is up and running, as are Thrive and Nancybgoods. The Local Taco plans to be finished by September.
Over on Riverside Drive, next to Pied Piper Eatery, is a new retail store called Artisan East. Goods & Good Finds. Owner Brandy Davenport managed A Thousand Faces in Hillsboro Village for many years before deciding recently to open her own shop. It features handmade gifts made from recycled or repurposed objects by local designers, cards and stationary, vintage jewelry, and art. From time to time she also has fresh-cut flowers for sale. Open every day except Tuesday.
Riverside Village has some changes in the works. Sip Café | Mike's Ice Cream is moving to a larger space in a former bank building located at the southeast corner of Gallatin Pike and Ardee Avenue in Inglewood. They will have more indoor seating and will also utilize the drive through window for to-go orders.
The former Mitchell Deli space is being converted to house Rudie's Seafood and Sausage, also owned by David Mitchell. Plans are to be open soon, with an expansion into the former Sip Café | Mike's Ice Cream space planned for this fall. A preview menu posted online features oysters, ceviche, pork belly, and mussels.
Powell Design Studio is planning a move to building on the corner closest to Edley's BBQ. Powell has designed many of the great new businesses in the neighborhood, like Five Points Pizza, Fat Bottom Brewery, and the Walden development. They recently finished Lynne Lorraine's Juice Bar and The Yellow House Salon. Their current office on 10th and Shelby will be going on the market.
Designer Andrew Clancey and artist Chris Melton have moved from the Lower East Side of NYC and are working on re-opening their clothing store Any Old Iron. Their store was open in New York for the last 5 years and features one-of-a-kind clothing with "British flavor." The store is slated to be at 17th and Shelby, pending approval from zoning.
Bagel Face Bakery is getting new ownership. Current owners Rae Schobel and Kristen Skruber are passing the torch.
On 11th Street between Eastside Cycles and Bongo East, Edgefield Restaurant has inexplicably been closed for several years. Recently, plans have been presented to Metro Historic for the building to be demolished and replaced with a restaurant called Rhythm and Spice. More info as we have it.
PaperKuts Studio is open at 3922 Gallatin Pike. They can fill any stationary need you may have, from business letterhead to gift cards, they're all about paper.
In the former Ghot Wingz space next to the diesel college at 2501 Gallatin Ave is a new soul food restaurant called Doll's Family Café. Ghot Wingz moved further north on Gallatin in the former Eastside Fish location at 2617 Gallatin.
Ann Smith Florist, just south of the Inglewood Kroger has moved into the Colonial Bread building across from Mobley Vet in North Inglewood. The corner they vacated will be getting a makeover, along with the commercial building next door where Sinker's and Little Caesar's are located.
Tired of standing by the bathrooms while waiting for your carry out pie at Five Points Pizza? Have you been wondering what their new addition is all about? We can help! We ran into Dave Tieman at Tenn 16 the other day, and he gave us the low-down. When the restaurant first opened they had no idea carryout would be such a popular option, and the resulting wait has made for close quarters for all at the end of the bar. The new addition, by Powell Design Studios, will provide a fast lane for carryout orders. There is a dedicated kitchen for to-go pie creation, as well as beer and soft drinks on tap to quench the thirst while you wait. If you're in a hurry and just wanna grab a slice, there's even a small dine-in area. Tieman expects to open by the end of July. Did we mention it will even have a by-the-slice walk-up window?
It is with great sadness that we say, "Goodbye" to Radio Shack on Gallatin Pike. The venerable electronics store has succumbed to the big-box store economy. An old-school way of life now heads into the sunset.
In fast food news, the KFC at 3000 Gallatin Pike is being converted to a Cook Out Restaurant. This is a Greensboro, North Carolina based chain. There are also rumors of a Zaxby's coming (Yeehaa).
All Amped Up (part deux)
By Terri Dorsey
"I thought The Amp was dead"— that's the most common thing people say to Holly McCall in her role as Communications Director for The Amp planning team. "I hear that all the time; people are surprised to find out its still moving forward."
It's a reasonable conclusion to reach about the proposed midtown transit route connecting Five Points to the West side of town via West End. As far as federal transportation projects go, The Amp is a minor transit system. It's basically a bus shuttle running in one lane of traffic. It's not much longer than a 10k race, or two trips around the parking lot on an airport shuttle. But it's drawn overwhelming opposition entirely disproportionate to its size.
The Amp has prompted the state legislature to pass a law giving themselves authority to micromanage transit systems across the state. The Speaker of the House turned into a traffic planner when she weighed in with her opposition last fall. And the infamous Koch brothers, who normally focus on ousting Democrats across the nation, sent funds to Nashville to fight a bus system.
Everybody seems to have an opinion about seven-mile people mover on wheels. People either view it as too much or too little, as a shuttle service for tourists, or a dangerous transport delivering East Nashville "riff-raff" to the refined neighborhoods along West End.
The project was rolled out 1½ years ago with a clumsy start. A strong team of boosters, including the Mayor, MTA, and the downtown business establishment, comprised of leaders with the Chamber of Commerce, the Hospitality Association, and advocates for the convention center & tourism business, were on board. The Amp was presented as a fixed route down Nashville's "Main Street" running from Broadway to West End. The Transit Alliance said the route couldn't be changed without jeopardizing federal funding. But the route ran in the middle of West End Avenue, one of the most scenic residential boulevards of Nashville and thoroughfare to some of the wealthiest homes in Belle Meade and Williamson County.
The threat to West End quickly fueled a well-organized coalition, who pushed back with a force that neutralized the downtown establishment, and leading the charge was Lee Beaman. Beaman is a major benefactor of David Lipscomb University and heavy weight GOP contributor, as well as the big-time businessman behind the Pepsi bottling plant and, of course, the Beaman auto dealership. He supported the lobbying efforts that resulted in state lawmakers empowering themselves as traffic cops to stop the Amp. Now the Tennessee State Legislature has the authority to approve or disapprove any transit systems utilizing state highways.
By this spring, after heated community meetings on the Westside, Mayor Karl Dean retreated. He asked Amp planners to eliminate the designated center lane designed to make the bus rapid transit system speedier than city buses. Now the Amp will run along a curb lane shared with all vehicles from I-440 west toward White Bridge road, and Amp buses will weave around in traffic just like the current buses west of downtown. Mayor Dean also initiated a Citizens Advisory Committee, which includes some of the staunchest opponents, including Lee Beaman, to give them input on The Amp plans. Meanwhile the Amp received funding from the Federal Transit Authority in March — the first $27 million of $75 million to be granted to Nashville.
Behind the scenes The Amp is still chugging along in such a low-key fashion few people are aware it's still moving forward. And even on the Eastside, where support has been strong, enthusiasm may be waning.
Over breakfast recently some East Nasty runners were talking about the current status of The Amp. Here were some of their comments:
"I'm worried no one will use it."
"The pro-Amp people need to better explain how we'll cross the street after we get off the bus."
"It has to be on time or it will be just like the empty Green line buses circling downtown."
"I live in Bellevue so I'll never use it."
"My goal is to never have to park downtown."
"Is there a bigger plan to make it worth the money?"
Amp planners will be finished with the final design plans this winter. What happens next is anybody's guess. Mayor Karl Dean leaves office next summer, so the fate of The Amp will likely be in the hands of the next mayor.
A front running mayoral candidate, Megan Barry, has already put out a policy statement showing she's not a big fan. She says, "The Amp mixes good intentions with questionable strategy." When asked if anyone will be riding The Amp if she's elected, Barry, who currently serves as At-Large 1 Council Member, states: "With The Amp's design, cost, and funding specifics all unsettled, we can't know if it will actually move from controversy to construction." She also says, "if the project is approved and underway during the current mayor's term, of course I'll see it through as his successor. If it doesn't get going before the next mayor takes office, then we'll have to engage this conversation anew." She says she "can't build something the current mayor couldn't."
The controversy, the opposition, and the questions about The Amp's future leave the man in charge of seeing it through unfazed. The Amp Project Director Mark Sturtevant has overseen the completion of several large civil projects such as LP Field, the Arena, the new Convention Center, the Farmers Market and the Downtown Library. He notes it took 18 years to get the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge into SoBro, saying, "It's not unusual for a project to go through a length process. It's really okay to go through this process. It helps us get it right."
In the long term, if it's completed, The Amp may be like the Music City Star, the short-line train that runs Lebanon to Nashville. Congressman Bob Clement fought opposition from the cities it would serve. Critics said it was too little, serving too few. Yet it was the best Nashville could with the money available at the time, and even that small piece of the transit puzzle is beginning to show its worth.
Zoning, Zoning, Zone
By Brett Withers
Since the May/June issue was
published, the northern expansion of the Lockeland Springs-East End Conservation Zoning Overlay passed its final public hearing before the Metro Council on May 6 and was signed into law by Mayor Dean. It went into effect on May 23. This first expansion covers the area north of Ordway and east of Rudolph coming up to Eastland and immediately below Walden. Some properties immediately west of Walden on N 18th and east of Walden on Truett and McEwen remain excluded.
A second, southward expansion of Lockeland's Conservation Zoning Overlay to cover the area just below Fatherland going south to Shelby and between S 14th and S 18th Streets also passed its third and final public hearing on July 1. This expansion should be finalized by the Council on July 15th, be signed by Mayor Dean and take effect a few days later. Permits pulled before the law's effective date remain valid until their expiration date, which is 90 days for demolition permits and six months for building permits.
Many East Nashville neighborhoods have requested information sessions with Metro Historic Zoning Commission staff to learn more about Conservation Zoning Overlays. Perhaps the most prominent one is Inglewood. The Metro Historic Commission staff presently has a backlog of requests from across the county; it may take them a while to get to all of these neighborhoods. However, the Metro Historic Commission did receive state grant funding to pursue a National Register of Historic Places designation for parts of Inglewood. National Register listing does not prevent demolitions but does raise the profile of areas seeking local historic zoning protection. Interested readers should visit www.preserveinglewood.com or attend monthly INA meetings for updates.
In addition to Conservation Zoning Overlays, the Planning Department has been working for several months on three zoning code text amendments that passed the Planning Commission hearings by unanimous votes but experienced varying degrees of difficulty at the Council level upon their public hearing in June. Bill BL2014-769, which expands Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit eligibility beyond Conservation Zoning Overlay and Urban Design Overlay districts to any lot that is zoned for two-family dwellings that has either alley access or is larger than 15,000 SF, was approved and is now law. Bill BL2014-770, which changes the code for two-family dwellings (duplexes) to ban umbilical-cord duplexes county-wide, among other changes, passed its June hearing — despite opposition from some in the development community — but is presently deferred until August while ongoing discussions take place about potential amendments prior to finalization. Bill BL2014-771, Contextual Overlay District, saw some neighborhood support and a large amount of opposing testimony from some in the development community. This bill would create a new type of Overlay district that would not require historic status, would not prevent demolitions, and would not require design reviews, but it would limit the size and scale of new housing to be within a certain percentage of the average height and footprint of the neighboring properties. The Contextual Overlay District requirements would also ban front-loading garages and would place limits on the width of shared driveways.
After bills 2014-770 and -771 were deferred in June, a large write-in campaign requesting Council approval of these bills was successful in keeping them alive. Consequently, community meetings will be held to discuss potential amendments prior to their next Council votes in August. At press time community meeting details have not yet been announced.
Keepin' Eatin' Real
By Melissa Corbin
As Nashville's palate matures, the demand for fresh and sustainable ingredients is at an all time high. Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership Certification of Tennessee has become a great resource for the healthful gastronomist. "With the increased consumption of food prepared away from home, it's critical that we help families find restaurants that serve healthier food and beverages," said Kristie Ryan, Executive Director of the Tennessee chapter of the American Diabetes Association. Utilizing the points-based REAL Index, independent, registered dietitians conduct an assessment of menu offerings and overall nutrition, as well as sustainability practices. Establishments are credited with points across a range of criteria such as the use of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy preparation methods, moderate portion sizes, unsweetened beverages, healthy children's options and sustainable sourcing. Eat REAL Tennessee Project Manager, Kristen Korzenowski says she is "Thrilled to recognize these leaders who are committed to providing food that is nutritious, sustainable, and increasingly more celebrated in Nashville and nationwide. They truly have the well-being of their community in mind."
East Nashvillian establishments which were a part of Tennessee's inaugural class of REAL Certification include:
Wild Cow "We are honored to be certified by REAL and are impressed with their integrity and mission."
—Melanie Bhagat Cochran, owner
My Veggie Chef "My experience with Eat REAL has been fantastic. I love that they are encouraging consumers to eat real, whole foods and are giving them the tools they need to make smart choices when dining out. Also, Eat REAL has helped me to grow my vegan meal delivery business by certifying My Veggie Chef as an Eat REAL establishment."
—Kristie Rigdon Holdren, owner/chef
Sky Blue Cafe "Our business is already busy, as we have grown a lot this year. Even still, it has been cool to be a part of Eat REAL."
—Emily D'Andrea, manager
For more information on eating REAL and a complete listing of Eat REAL certified restaurants in Tennessee visit eatreal.org.