The Neighborhood Dining Group, a restaurant management group that operates the award-winning Husk Restaurant in Charleston, S.C., has announced plans to open Husk Nashville in the spring.
Chef Sean Brock, a James Beard Award winner and respected hero of farm-to-table and Southern cuisine, will lead the culinary team at the restaurant.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to come back to the city that I love so much and be part of the community again,” said Brock, who worked as executive chef at The Hermitage Hotel for just under three years beginning in 2003.
The Neighborhood Dining Group, led by David Howard, operates Chicago’s Steak and Seafood in Roswell, Ga., as well as Charleston’s McCrady’s, Queen Anne’s Revenge and Husk, which Bon Appetit magazine named the “Best New Restaurant in America” in 2011.
Brock, chef/partner at both Husk and McCrady’s, said the success in raising public awareness of Southern culture through Husk led to talks about opening a second location.
“We rattled off a bunch of cities and Nashville was at the top of the list,” Brock said. “It’s hands down one of the most exciting towns in the South for sure.”
Husk Nashville will be located at 37 Rutledge Street in the Richmond Hill area a few blocks from downtown. The building, which previously held the fine dining restaurant Andrew Chadwick’s on Rutledge Hill between November 2007 and March 2009, dates back to 1895 and is on the National Registry of Historic Homes.
“(Nashville) just seemed to be a natural fit, and it was also about finding the right building,” Brock said. “Husk has to be in an old building. It has to have a specific feel to the restaurant. That’s part of the charm of Southern hospitality.”
Brock cited Nashville’s “unique voice and vibe” as part of the attraction, as did Howard.
“We just want to jump in there,” Howard said. “You have an energetic culinary scene. When I visited Nashville I just fell in love with it.”
Howard and Brock both mentioned Brock’s relationship with Tennessee purveyors (such as Scott Witherow of Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Co., Allan Benton of Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams, among many others), as a reason for their choice.
“For us it’s a very easy transition,” Brock said. “We already use all these wonderful Tennessee purveyors. We’ve already got them on speed dial.”
Brock also has relationships with several established chefs in Nashville, and he’s familiar with the feel of the city.
“I think what’s cool about Nashville is you have ethnic restaurants and amazing meat-and-threes like Arnold’s.
Then you have neighborhood places like what Tandy (Wilson at City House) and Hal (Holden-Bache at Lockeland Table) have been doing.”
He tipped his hat to longtime friend Tyler Brown of The Capitol Grille, Pat Martin of Martin’s Bar-B-Cue Joint, Carey Bringle of the Peg Leg Porker, and Josh Habiger and Erik Anderson of The Catbird Seat.
Nashville’s growth, and soon-to-open Music City Center convention space also encouraged the decision to open the restaurant here, Howard said. The restaurant will add more than 50 new jobs.
The philosophy at Husk Nashville will match that of Husk Charleston, which celebrates Southern cuisine, heirloom produce, and regional specialties.
“Our philosophy won’t change one iota,” Howard said. “We have a self-imposed rule that our ingredients must come from the South.”
The restaurant will be open seven days a week for dinner ($18-$24 an entrée) as well as Friday lunch ($9-15 an entrée) and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.
Brock said the menu likely will incorporate wood-fired and outdoor cooking as well as vegetables raised in gardens at the restaurant and gathered from local farmers.
“It’s all about what a day tastes like,” he said.
Contact Jennifer Justus at 615-259-8072 firstname.lastname@example.org.