Matters of Development

We’ve been no strangers to reality/surreality TV around East Nashville over the past few years, but December might’ve brought the most surprising scenes yet.
     Early in the month, longstanding East Side hang Mad Donna’s closed abruptly. Owners Rachel Fontenot and Neil Clark shared a social media announcement of “sincere appreciation” for nine years of customer support and tipping that we should expect “exciting details for a new project soon.”
     Those details came in part from celeb business-fixer Jon Taffer, host of Spike TV show Bar Rescue, who on Dec. 12 announced the “massive TV Grand Opening of a brand new restaurant” at 1313 Woodland St. That night, with a crew of neighbors and a new collaborator named Sheryl Crow on the scene, the Wylee’s Cafe & Bar was unveiled, replete with freshened-up exterior and interior and a new for-TV menu stocked with Crow puns: “If it Makes You Happy” salad, “All I Wanna Do” is Have Dessert, et al.
     Wylee’s was back open and serving nontelevised patrons days later with lots of familiar touches still in place, including their beloved bingo, brunch, and Bloody Mary bar, but with a fresh, organic thrust (and that fresh new look). The show responsible for the overhaul, reportedly, isn’t Bar Rescue, but a new, yet-untitled pilot. Keep an eye on our blog at — as soon as we get an update on the airdate, we’ll share it there. Meantime, stop by Wylee’s 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday, 9 a.m. to midnight Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.
     Wylee’s is one of a bunch of new names to pop up in the neighborhood over the past few months. One that might be familiar from other parts of town (and other parts of the country): Title Boxing Club — a chain with locations from coast to coast, including several in Middle Tennessee — added an East Side workout space at 605 Gallatin Ave. in mid-December.
     At Title Boxing East, you can work with trainers on “a true boxer’s workout,” focused on toning muscles and confidence. They’re up-and-going with a regular schedule of classes — hours are 6:15 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. Learn more at
     Another chain that joined the East Side recently: The East Nashville outpost of all-natural pet food makers Pet Wants opened in early December at 962 Woodland St. They sell their own proprietary brand of kibble, and offer it by the pound, with free local delivery. (You’ll also find treats, supplements, and other items at the shop.) They’re open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. More at
     Can’t call this one a chain just yet, but it is growing: The little East Nashville sister of Murfreesboro’s The Crazy Kukla Boutique soft-opened at the end of October, with all kinds of cute kids stuff on the racks, from clothes and shoes to toys and gifts.
     They’re at 1900 Eastland Ave., Unit 102 (same Walden development as the new Five Daughters Bakery, Two Ten Jack, and others), and the hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Learn more at (If you’re a regular ’Boro visitor, the O.G. Crazy Kukla is on the square.)
     Another bit of branching out: Urban Cowboy Public House, located behind the Urban Cowboy B&B at 1603 Woodland St., opened in November. Like the totally overhauled main house, the Public House is high-style all around, with lots of wood cladding and rustic/industrial cool filling out its small indoor bar (flanked by a larger patio space). On the menu: craft cocktails and seasonal/organically focused food. They’re open 4-11 p.m. weekdays, 4-midnight weekends.
     A few one-and-only locations joined the landscape, too.
     In mid-November, Inglewood resident Jessica Bower opened up new clothing, accessories, and home goods shop Steluta at 1601-B Riverside Drive, joining Pied Piper Eatery, Atomic Nashville, and others at the increasingly busy corner of Riverside and Porter.
     The name, Bower told us, is Romanian for little star, and is meant to reflect the shopping experience she’s trying to create and the shelves she’s aiming to fill with “special treasures, large and small, that reveal the craftsmanship and thoughtfulness of the designers.” The shop’s open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 1-5 p.m. on Sunday. Check out more at
     East Nashville has another new vintage haunt: Black Shag Vintage just joined the crew at The Station, Karen Goodlow Designs’ reimagination of the historic fire hall No. 18 at 1220 Gallatin Ave.
     On the shelves at the new shop: all manner of vintage clothing, shoes, boots, and accessories, angled “for your rock ’n’ roll heart,” in addition to the self-described “largest and best selection of original vintage concert T-shirts in the South.” Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, and Mondays by appointment.  
     They join Goodlow’s commercial/residential interior design office and Grounds 2 Give coffee, among others, in the newly renewed Station. Check out more about the location at
     Long-awaited beer bar/record shop Vinyl Tap opened its doors in late November at 2038 Greenwood Ave. Inside the new East Side hangout — designed to give off a “living room vibe” — you can browse and buy/sell vinyl, quaff local and regional craft brews (or wine or soda), and grab small bites, like sliders and charcuterie plates.
     Vinyl Tap is open noon to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, noon to midnight Friday and Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. Check out more at
     Vinyl Tap isn’t the only uncommon combination to join the scene: Former Marathon Village spot Soda Parlor completed its move to the East Side, too, opening its new, larger space at 966 Woodland St. in late November, and offering sodas, floats, “Waffle Mondaes,” and the opportunity to shop for apparel and play games in their full-on arcade.
     That newly opened place joins the fleshed-out development that includes the former Turnip Truck (now Burger Up) and the aforementioned Pet Wants. Stop by 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, and learn more at
     For the health-conscious East Nashvillian: Hummingbird Cracker Company opened in the Porter East development at the confluence of Porter and Eastland in late November, offering gluten-free, vegan, small-batch snacks created with vegetable pulp.
     The in-house description of the Hummingbird approach: “We take the natural, raw pulp left over from making fresh vegetable juice and repurpose it in these crackers that are slowly dehydrated and bursting with maximum flavor.” Among those maximum flavors: Carrot Cake and spicy Fiesta.
     They’re open at 707 Porter Road 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, and you can find more/order online 
     New thrift store Woodland Thrift — run by the folks at Set Free Church — opened in November at 943-B Woodland St.
After only a year in Inglewood’s Riverside Village, coffee shop and café Perk & Cork closed in late October.
     “This was not an easy decision,” owner Nancy Redmond said in a social media announcement, “but (we) feel it is the best for us as a family.”
     Redmond and staff served an impressive array of house-made baked goods and sandwiches over that year at 1304 McGavock Pike, in the little blue house that was once home to East Nashville vintage mainstay OMG. Riverside Village’s original coffee slingers, Sip Cafe, left that area for a new home on Gallatin in 2014, and Perk & Cork served as the Village’s main caffeine providers from their opening in October 2015 to the arrival of Dose Cafe & Dram Bar nearby in July.
     Another disappointingly short stay: “(Korean) Fried Chicken Joint” The Birdhouse closed its McFerrin Avenue doors in late October after less than a year.
     “While we love our neighborhood and tried our hardest to make things work at this location, unfortunately and frustratingly, it wasn‘t to be,” a closing announcement on The Birdhouse Facebook page said. “This business decision was a very difficult one to make, but the correct one given the circumstances.”
     Although it was brief, The Birdhouse earned steady praise in and out of the neighborhood for a menu led by that fried chicken and broadened by a burst of favorites and fresh takes, like Bibimbap, Kimchi fried rice, and Korean BBQ brisket. Guesses are we haven’t seen the last of the Birdhouse brass, though — the goodbye note also hinted that chefs Chris Futrell and Casey Carstens “hope to be serving y‘all our Korean Fried Chicken again in the very near future.”
     Another big East Nashville food-scene change, though thankfully not a closure: John Stephenson, executive chef of The Family Wash, stepped down in October, telling Eater Nashville that he hoped to spend more time with family before exploring new endeavors.
As our July/August 2015 feature noted, Stephenson was a big part of bringing The Family Wash/Garage Coffee to life (alongside Wash founder Jamie Rubin, Mitchell Fox, and Robert Camardo). To read that piece, head to and hit Back Issues on the nav.
     The Horner Rausch Optical Superstore at 968 Main St. closed in November, along with Dr. Don J. Fenn’s optometrist office next door. Investors Chad and Andy Baker (the guys behind The Dog Spot and other businesses) and partners Jim Higgins and Rick Piliponis purchased the property. Chad Baker told The Tennessean that a yet-unannounced health and wellness business was set to take over the Superstore’s location.
     Some good news for fashionable neighbors that comes with a little bit of bad news for East Nashville: East Side boutique Sisters of Nature shut its doors at 521 Gallatin Ave. in December, but not for bummer reasons. Lead Sister Kimberly Parker recently launched a fashion line, and it’s doing well enough to necessitate some big changes. “Sisters of Nature has decided to close its chapter as a storefront in Nashville in order to fully dedicate our love and attention to our new clothing line based out of L.A.,” an announcement from Sisters of Nature read. “We are still more passionate than ever about ethical fashion and we will continue to play our part by being designers and producers of socially conscious pieces, as opposed to curators. We have been rapidly evolving since we hit the ground running in 2013 out of our vintage camper trailer and are so excited for the direction of the brand.”
     Some good news to follow up that news: The Sisters folks also announced in December that friends and fellow East Nashville fashion players Vinnie Louise were set to take over the vacated space at 521. (Vinnie’s been sharing their wearable wares at 737 Porter.) “Passing along our keys will be so much easier knowing our space will be in such good hands with the women of Vinnie,” that announcement said. “Supporting and celebrating local brands has always been the backbone of Sisters of Nature, so we hope you can join us in welcoming them to the block!”
In mid-November, word broke that one of Nashville’s best-known chefs is working on coming to our side of the river.
     Philip Krajeck — the multiple James Beard nominee behind Germantown’s Rolf and Daughters — has a new restaurant in the works on Meridian in McFerrin Park, and according to a release, we should see that “seasonally focused neighborhood” place open its doors in the spring.
     Krajeck’s Germantown restaurant, with a menu of rustic Italian food, cemented his place as a rising culinary star both in and outside of Nashville — among reams of praise, Bon Appétit named it the third best new restaurant in the country in 2013.
     East Nashville might not be a full-fledged craft beer hotbed yet, but we’re working our way there — and The Tennessean hinted that more might be on the way. The paper got word in November of Noble’s Kitchen and Beer Hall, in the works at 974 Main St. (part of the Hunter’s Custom Automotive campus), and aiming for a January opening. Among the plans: 48 taps with local/regional beer, plus a fresh, local-focused food menu.
     Another growing subsect of our neighborhood food scene: sweet stuff. Something to look forward to on that front, according to the Nashville Business Journal: Shugga Hi Bakery & Café, at 1000 Dickerson Pike. The sisters behind that project, Kathy Leslie and Sandra Austin, are native East Siders, and they told the Journal that a “funky-type vibe” was their aim (they’re working with East Nashville architecture and real estate biz Southern Athena), and that we can expect donuts, “alcohol-infused cakes,” and more once the doors open. We haven’t heard any more about timeframe, but we’ll share more on our blog when we know it.
     Our pizza options may be about to broaden, too: The Nashville Business Journal’s Jacob Steimer reported in November that Louisville-based BoomBozz Craft Pizza and Taphouse was a potential new resident at 1003 Russell St. (the former Crystal Fountain Church of God in Christ).
     BoomBozz is known for “award-winning gourmet pizzas with premium ingredients” and craft beer, and has seven locations in Kentucky and Indiana. If this plan comes to fruition, it’d be the first Nashville BoomBozz.
     East Nashville-launched Five Points Pizza, meanwhile, is working on spreading out, too — they announced in mid-October that a West Nashville restaurant was in the works, with an expected opening of late 2017. That location’s set to be larger than the East Side original, though it should have familiar markers, like the well-loved Woodland carryout counter. 
     Also expanding, though in a different way: creative suites/coworking spot Center 615 is adding a new west wing, which they expect to be finished early in 2017. Looking for space to work in the neighborhood? Their Main Campus is at 615 Main St. (with several other buildings close by in the 615 family); online home is
     One more eating and drinking hub to keep an eye on the horizon for: Actual Brunch chef Dan Forberg is working on opening the Inglewood Lounge, “a neighborhood bar with bold food, cheap drinks,” and more at the former Mrs. Winners building at 3914 Gallatin Pike.
     Forberg told the Nashville Scene that he’s been DIYing the build-out, “taking my time, being careful about every decision,” and that once the doors open, we should see bar food that’s inspired by global street fare, plus, down the line, the brunch he’s come to be known for. We’ve been holding tight for a grand opening date, and we’ll update on our blog; if you’d like to keep up, check