Matters of Development

The year kicked off with some major changes — longtime restaurant closures and lots of new concepts in the works — plus some really cool projects at historic East Nashville properties.


POP Nashville went and POPped back up: The onetime restaurant incubator-and-more, which closed in late 2016, reopened in February in the same location — 604 Gallatin Ave., #202 — with a slightly different thrust, at least to start.
      POP To Go is now up and running there, at press time offering takeout/delivery eats from POP owners Sarah and Brad Gavigan’s Otaku Ramen (which is now in The Gulch, but once operated out of POP).
      An announcement from the Gavigans said they expect to offer multiple menus there. As the Otaku to-go effort was ramping up at press time, they were serving Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays 5 to 10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 5 p.m. to midnight. A release noted that “extended hours and additional menus” would follow shortly.
      POP originally opened in that Gallatin Avenue space in 2014, and in its first few years there, it helped spur both Otaku and Little Octopus (which also now has its own space in The Gulch).
      To keep up with POP To Go and the “ever changing hospitality group” behind it, visit
      The old East Nashville Walmart spot? It’s not empty anymore either.
      In February, the newly renovated Space-Max storage facility opened its doors where the Wal once was, offering lots of options for locking down your extra stuff, from lockers to 300-square-foot climate- and humidity-controlled spaces.
      That isn’t the end of the build project over at 1216 Gallatin Ave. — along with overhauling the Walmart space for Space- Max, a new retail building is nearing completion on the property, too. At press time, Nashville SpaceMax property manager Ray Peng told us that part was likely weeks away from wrapping.
      We reached out to Southeast Venture about potential tenants for the 15,000 square feet of Class A retail space, but didn’t get a reply. We’ll keep digging; look out for updates on our blog at
      That former Walmart Neighborhood Market closed in early 2016, as part of a nationwide store shuttering, alongside more than 150 other locations.
      White we wait for word on that retail hub, the Porter East retail hub has a tasty new tenant: KOKOS Ice Cream opened their KOKOS To-Go Shop in January at 729 Porter Road, offering dairy- and nut-free, vegan artisan ice cream, built on a coconut milk base.
      The inspiration came via co-founder Sam Brooker’s own dairy intolerance — left with an ice cream-shaped void, his now-KOKOS partner/bandmate Jerusa van Lith encouraged him to try out the already available coconut-based stuff.
      “We went to the grocery store to get some,” he told us, “and it felt really good to eat ice cream. But it wasn’t that great. So we got to talking. …”
      After months of experimentation, the two landed on a non-dairy formula informed by gelato techniques Amsterdam native van Lith got familiar with in Europe, and hard ice cream techniques we’re used to here in the States.
      The brand initially launched on the road — Brooker and van Lith kicked things off with a cute, sweet ice cream bike that made its way around Nashville, including lots of East Side spots. After setting the stage and building a fanbase, they moved to their first brick-andmortar, which is still a trimmed-down version of their ultimate plans.
      At KOKOS To-Go, folks can grab cups of various rotating KOKOS flavors (some winter ones included Orange Ginger Snap and Vanilla Cherry Bomb), along with chocolate-robed KOKOS pops. Pints on the way, too.
      Down the line, Brooker and van Lith are hoping to launch a sit-down Nashville scoop shop, along with a sister location in Amsterdam.
      More immediately, though, they’re planning to expand flavors and hours at the To-Go shop, and get the bike out four days a week as the weather warms up.
      Initial winter hours were 1 to 4 p.m., Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but check — with spring springing, they might already have expanded KOKOS’ times.
      Now open at 715 Main St.: kitchen/ lounge/curated wine shop Nashville Urban Winery.
      They’re serving pizza and snacks from the kitchen, and lots of grape-based beverages from the bar, including reds/whites/roses and sparkling wines, along with mixed drinks like house-made sangria. (Beer and craft cocktails are on offer, too.)
      Hours are 4 p.m. to midnight Mondays through Wednesdays, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursdays to Saturdays, 4-10 p.m. Sundays. More at
      A different kind of kitchen: East Side books/music/art shop Atomic Nashville recently added The Kitchen, a low-key acoustic listening room inside the actual kitchen in their historic building, at 118 S. 11th St.
      The thrust is “no microphones, no speakers, no Internet,” meant to keep the focus on what’s actually happening in the room.
      Shows are rolling regularly now (Grammy-winning songwriter, children’s book author, and filmmaker Scot Sax is booking them), and you can keep up at
      CrossFit East Nashville celebrated their grand opening in early February at 400 Davidson St., Suite 410, and they’re now offering group classes, community workout sessions and open gym hours six days a week, with classes starting as early as 5:30 a.m. and as late as 6:30 p.m.
      For schedule/membership info and more, head to


A big bummer for East Nashville diners in February: After almost a decade at 1601 Riverside Drive, neighborhood diner Pied Piper Eatery closed its doors.
      Owner Becky Piper set the eatery stage in late 2008, creating a fun, family-friendly, music-themed hangout that offer comforting American staples, from big burgers to bacon and eggs and apple pie. After her death to cancer in 2015, Piper’s family forged forward with the diner, but as 2018 kicked off, they announced that the time had come to move forward, and on.
      “As her family, we have done our best to honor her vision for her creation, but it was her heart that beat for this diner, this work,” a closure announcement posted on Facebook said. “We’ve decided it’s truly time to let her rest, and to honor her by following our own creative visions.”
      The Pipers also launched and run East Nashville ice cream favorite Pied Piper Creamery, and that business will keep scooping at 114 S. 11th St.
      Another bummer closure: Gerst Haus, the stalwart German restaurant near the stadium at 301 Woodland St., closed its doors in February.
      They’d been dishing up Rindergulasch and Kartoffelpfannkuchen and steaming hot pig knuckles in Nashville since the ’50s in various locations, though East Nashville (again, at various addresses) had been home for decades.
      DCXV — best known for the selfie-siren “I Believe in Nashville” murals — also closed its East Nashville storefront at the end of January, though owner/designer Adrien Saporiti noted that it’s not a shuttering of the T-shirt/ apparel brand, just the brick and mortar at 727 Porter Road.
      DCXV continues as an online entity, but Saporiti said in his goodbye message late last year that, “the focus going forward will be on periodic limited releases.”
      Saporiti rose to Nashville design prominence when the bold but simple “Believe” design hit the scene in 2012, and since, he and his team have worked diligently toward the DCXV goal of sharing art and representing Nashville (he’s a native — and the name’s “615” in Roman numerals).
      “Through DCXV I received an education, a lifetime of experiences, and made friends from all over the world that I will cherish for the rest of my life,” Saporiti said. “Thank you to everyone who has supported DCXV (especially those of you who got the logo tattooed … I mean, come on!).”
      If you’d like to stay up with those limited releases/DCXV projects going forward, keep tabs on
      Also moving to an online-only brand: Steluta, the fashion/gifts/home goods shop launched by Fort Louise owner Jessica Bower at 1601 B Riverside Drive a little over a year ago.
      “We are astronomically grateful for the community we have met and grown to love,” said an announcement from Bower. “… As with all celestial bodies, we look forward to continuing a long life orbiting through these beautiful skies together.”
      If you loved Bower’s taste, keep up with, which remains stocked with women’s clothing, jewelry and more.
      Not closing but ramping down some: longtime 5 Points-area fixture Wonders on Woodland. Late last year, owners Wayne and Debbie Goodwyn announced that the longloved vintage/antiques shop would be moving toward a “seasonal approach,” shutting the doors at 1110 Woodland St. for the winter, reopening for a few weeks in the spring and mid-summer, then again around the holidays.
      “For some time now we have struggled with balancing our love for our shop with the desire to enjoy some of life’s other adventures,” their announcement said. “…The commitment to present interesting and unique finds in a pleasant setting is one we’ve taken on with pride and pleasure. However, that commitment leaves time for little else.”
      If they’ve been your go-to for furnishings and vintage trinkets, you’ll still be able to schedule by-appointment visits, and you may see the shop open on “random days by chance.”
      Wonders has been open in that spot for nearly 11 years, and even with the maelstrom of change around it, it looks like it’ll remain a steadying sight (if one with more frequently locked doors). For the latest, follow them at
      Another non-closure closure that may be a lapsed closure by the time you read this: In early February, restaurant/venue/cafe The Family Wash/Garage Coffee unexpectedly and abruptly closed its doors at 626A Main St.
      Repeated word received from owner/operator Mitchell Fox is that the temporary closure would come to an end inside of a month, after some upgrades were finished.
      Time being what it is, there’s a chance you might be reading this in a fresh new Wash; if not, keep an eye on our blog at for the latest.
      After about two years in East Nashville, Memphis-bred chapeau shop Mister Hats has opted to close its local doors, at 921 Gallatin Ave. (At press time, they were gearing up for an end-of-February end, so by the time this is in your hands, things should be wrapped, barring any unexpected changes.)
      Its flagship in Memphis remains, slinging all manner of caps, bowlers, homburgs, pork pies and the like. No word yet on what might take over the East Nashville space.
      Furniture/decor/gift shop Rustique also shut its doors early in the year, after more than four years at 700 Fatherland St.
      In announcing the shuttering, mother- daughter owner team Erica Howard and Karin Farr noted that, “retail has been great ... but we are ready to have our weekends back.”
      Both have plenty with which to fill those weekends: Howard is running letterpress/ lettering/design business Ruthie & Oliver Letterpress; Farr is running event/wedding venue the Barn on Willis Branch, in Goodlettsville.
      Cloud IX, a hookah bar/lounge in business at 3807 Gallatin Pike since 2016, has closed.
     The lounge’s future seemed uncertain in the wake of two shooting deaths on the premises inside of a year, particularly after news hit that eviction proceedings had begun, with the property’s owners citing more than $175,000 in overdue rent.
      In February, District 8 Metro Nashville councilmember Nancy VanReece updated us, noting that the club owners had lost a court case related to that claim, and that as a result, the space was to be vacated by Feb. 17.
      The business’ Facebook page and Instagram feed both appeared to be down, and no updates were available at (the club’s online calendar was empty).
      For more on the issues at Cloud IX, visit — our January/ February issue had a primer.


A double-shot for food lovers from the folks behind downtown coffee haunt Slow Hand Coffee: Come spring, owner Nick Guidry told us, he’ll have two new East Nashville concepts going under one roof, at 1012 Gallatin Ave.
      The first will be familiar: Slow Hand is moving East, but broadening and morphing into Slow Hand Coffee + Bakeshop.
      With the “+ Bakeshop,” we can expect an even more specialized version of artisan coffee service, with about triple the house-made pastry selection, plus lots of grab-and-go options, like quick-service coffee and wraps, biscuits, and sandwiches.
      The second, which’ll be settled in the center unit of the building (to the left of Slow Hand): Pelican & Pig, a full-service restaurant with a live wood/ember fire cooking bent, facilitated by an onsite raised-brick grill.
      “Live fire will be utilized at its various stages from smoking and grilling meats over embers, to ash roasting vegetables and hearth-baking breads,” Guidry told us.
      Approaches the neighborhood tends to love — locally sourced, seasonal produce and proteins, and baked goods made in house — are also in the works, along with a “small and specialized” cocktail/beer and wine menu, and desserts, concocted by pastry pro Audra Guidry, that’ll lean toward “comforting classics and fun twists on old favorites.”
      Plans are for dinner six nights a week, plus weekend brunch.
      The Guidrys and their team started working on both projects simultaneously; the best place for regular updates (and appetite-whetting food photos):
      A mile up the road in Inglewood, at the old Hop Stop space, new bar concept Walden is taking shape.
      Owners Robyn Donnelly and Katie MacLachlan shared details about the new project in late January, noting that they’re aiming for “a place that feels as familiar and accessible as a dive bar, while having the service and selection of a high-end spot.”
      The menu will have a focus on affordability, the partners said, with lots of on-tap beers, wines, and cocktails priced under $10, and a food menu with a mix of shareable options; late-night and brunch will be added later.
      The décor will draw from the name, with murals designed and painted by local artist Tarabella Aversa, inspired by Walden Pond plants described by Henry David Thoreau in his famous book.
      Key bonus for East Nashville’s many dog lovers: A pet-friendly patio with seating is in the planning too.
      Walden is expected to open in the spring. For more:
      Craft beer haunt The Hop Stop closed in November, after four years in that space.
      Another East Nashville haunt getting new life: The former Holland House space at 935 W. Eastland Ave. is set to house Lyra, a Middle Eastern restaurant led by onetime Holland House chef Hrant Arakelian.
      The Nashville Business Journal dropped that scoop just before the New Year rolled in, noting that Arakelian and his wife, Elizabeth Endicott, were hoping to get Lyra open in late spring.
      Holland House closed over the summer after seven years.
      By the time these pages hit stands, you may already be able to check out Rolf and Daughters chef Philip Krajeck’s new East Nashville place: Folk, a pizza-centric restaurant bar, was due to open in March at 823 Meridian St., according to a report from Eater Nashville.
      Krajeck told Eater we should expect “authentic,” “wood-fired,” “flavorful” food that’s “easy for people to digest” at the new location, starting with dinner, then later, brunch. Along with pizza, we should see seafood and house-cured meats, plus a classic cocktails/wine program led by Rolf alum Shane O’Brien.
      Expected in March — although at press time the project has been delayed: a new East Nashville location from Urgent Team, a large Southeast urgent/family care center brand.
     They’re set to open at 3024 Gallatin Pike (the former 615 Ave. space), where you’ll be able to walk in for urgent, primary, and wellness care, along with school/sports physicals.
      Announced hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and 1-5 p.m. on Sundays. More at
      A big addition to the ongoing revitalization of Dickerson Pike on the way: A team of investors that includes Lyon Porter, of Urban Cowboy B&B and Urban Cowboy Public House, has plans to overhaul the historic Key Motel at 1414 Dickerson Pike, turning it into affordable but stylish lodging.
      While Porter’s other East Nashville lodging space is a high-end, boutique stay, with suites starting at $295 a night, he expects this reinvigorated hotel to offer single and double-bed rooms in the $100 to $150 range, but without sacrificing the style-forward aesthetics that have made Urban Cowboy such a draw.
      The space currently has 26 rooms, and when it reopens (ideally around summer, Lyon said), it’ll likely be around the same number, depending on how lobby designs shake out.
      That said, while the Key is getting turned around in a significant way, Porter was clear that their effort would be far from a teardown/ rebuild.
      “We’re not changing it,” he said, “we’re just breathing some life back into a property that’s not seen any TLC in a while.”
      That’ll include nods to the building’s midcentury beginnings, Porter said, along with “thematic and cinematic” elements, and “a lot of whimsy.”
      Beyond, a lot’s yet to be announced — including whether Porter and his partners (including Elliott Kyle and Talbott Ottinger) will keep the Key name.
      But overall, Porter said, “My goal is to make it the most approachably affordable, highly designed hotel in the city.”
      Another exciting renovation of a historic building: Nashville music scene stalwarts Chark Kinsolving and Jamie Rubin — founders of Mercy Lounge and The Family Wash, respectively — are working on overhauling the long-shuttered Madison Bowl, at 517 Gallatin Pike N. in Madison, and turning it into combination bar/restaurant/bowling alley/venue, kind of in the spirit of New York’s throwback-cool Brooklyn Bowl, just with a Nashville edge.
      The project was very much in its nascent stages at press time, but the partners did have a well-sketched-out vision.
      Once renovations get under way, they’ll be working on building out two bar areas (one a quieter lounge, set behind windows/doors), adding a performance stage and freshening up an adjacent dancefloor/dining and games space. Bowling will happen on about two dozen lanes (traditional bowling is likely, though the duo was also exploring other options, like candlepin and duckpin bowling).
      Both food and programming will echo a bit of the early Family Wash spirit, with booking focused almost entirely on local musicians, and the bar and kitchen staying simple and honed-down but not run-of-the-mill.
      “All that we’ll work out later,” Rubin told us. “It’ll be basic, but like nothing else you can get up in Madison.”
      And while the renovation will be significant, Kinsolving and Rubin were clear that they’re hewing to the property’s history, clipping out some of the ’80s additions that made the place feel overwhelmingly “Miami Vice,” and bringing back as much of the 1960 aesthetic as possible — including refreshing the iconic sign out front.
      “The idea is to keep everything pretty simple but comfortable,” Rubin said. “A good hang.”
      Hopes are to get the new Madison Bowl open around August.
      An in-the-works addition to the Wabash building at 901 Woodland St.: Sips n Strokes Nashville, a kind of hangout/ art class provider for painters of all ages and experience levels.
      The brand is a growing Southeast chain, and this East Nashville location, owner/ manager Emily Krenkel Bussman told us, will bring a similar experience to other Sips n Strokes studios: Creatively inclined patrons can bring their own sips, and work on a pre-planned painting with step-by-step help from instructors.
      It’s a “fun, laid-back atmosphere,” she said, that can offer a low-key night with friends and give budding artists a chance to discover hidden talents.
      For news, follow Sips n Strokes Nashville at