Some really surprising closures this week, plus a new clothing shop, some in-the-works projects and lots more.
On to this week’s East Nashville News:
Wylee’s, in former Mad Donna’s spot, closes
If you follow us on social media, you likely picked up on this earlier this week: Wylee’s on Woodland, the recently rebranded restaurant formerly known as Mad Donna’s, announced its February 13 closure via a door-posted goodbye note.
The printed notice called back to the restaurant’s aim of providing East Nashville with “a fun and funky spot to dine and play. ... With time comes the necessity to evolve and grow and so we have decided to close our doors … to discover that next adventure,” it read.
The shuttering is a quick about-face for Wylee’s, which opened to big fanfare in December, after a fast and furious made-for-TV renovation, courtesy of Bar Rescue host Jon Taffer and locally based A-lister Sheryl Crow.
Taffer and Co.’s overhaul reportedly wasn’t for Bar Rescue, but a new, yet-untitled pilot. Either way, the show hasn’t aired yet, and by the time it does, in-person remnants of the TV team’s work could be on the cutting-room floor.
A longtime employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity given show-related confidentiality agreements, told us the restaurant had experienced a significant downturn in traffic post-unveiling.
“Ever since the Wylee’s brand started, (the owners) noticed that the customers weren’t coming,” the employee said. “…They tried very hard to keep this going, I can tell you that. The 37206 zip code means a lot to them. They love the community — it was really really hard for them to make this decision.”
The employee said many customers were vocal about the rebranding — the name is a kind of portmanteau for Crow’s two sons, Wyatt and Levi, and the initial reboot menu was stocked with Crow-inspired dishes, like “‘All I Wanna Do’ is Have Dessert” — and that feedback largely focused on the theme-y angle being a poor fit for an eccentric, community-centric neighborhood like East Nashville.
A note circulated to Wylee’s staff before the closure cheered the employees’ loyalty, dedication and willingness to “rise to the occasion” of an unusual rebrand, and said that the decision didn’t come lightly, or without extensive ship-righting efforts.
“They’re such good people,” the employee said of the restaurant’s ownership team, Neil Clark and Rachel Fontenot. “When the whole show was happening and they were closed for the renovation, they made sure that people got paid. There’s a lot of places that wouldn’t do that.”
Mad Donna’s took over 1313 Woodland in 2008, after the closure of now-storied East Side venue Radio Cafe (which reappeared somewhat recently in Inglewood, at 4150 Gallatin). It became known in and out of the neighborhood for weekend brunches (including a popular build-your-own Bloody Mary bar), fiery habanero mac & cheese and regular drag queen bingo nights.
Share your goodbyes on Wylee’s’ Facebook page. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for news on a new tenant in that space.
Shop By Amelia Styles opens on Porter
Welcome another new East Nashville fashion destination: The Shop by Amelia Styles opened February 10 at 729 Porter Road in the Shops at Porter East, offering “women's clothing that's current, versatile and all under $100.”
The brick-and-mortar is new, but the brand isn’t: Owner Millie Leach first launched it as a style blog, which grew into an online shop last year.
The retail component, she writes on the Amelia Styles site, “not only enables me to share my sense of style, but it also allows me to bring accessible, fun, and easy clothing to your closet.”
The Shop By Amelia Styles is now open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 11 to 4 Saturday and Sunday. The Amelia Styles online shop has lots of clothing and accessories up for grabs, too.
Crazy Kukla Boutique closing
Another surprisingly swift closure: After opening an East Nashville location late last year, kids shop The Crazy Kukla Boutique is getting ready to close its doors.
Via Facebook, owner Kimberly Simpson announced plans to shutter the neighborhood shop, at 1900 Eastland Ave., Unit 102, after Saturday, Feb. 18. The decision, she said, came “after much thought and consideration,” and as she winds down, items in the shop will be marked down 50 percent, and fixtures/furniture will be on sale as well.
The East Side location is one of two Kuklas — the original is on the square in Murfreesboro, and it also stocks its shelves with clothes, toys, gifts and more for young folks. That original location will be closing as well, though a little later — its last day is March 4.
“My personal life is much different now than when we opened the store nearly two years ago,” Simpson wrote in a note to her Murfreesboro customers, “and closing is the best decision for my family.”
If you’d like to stop by the East Nashville Crazy Kukla before it closes, the shop will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Big international company coming to The Wabash?
Things are moving along with the long-in-the-works The Wabash, a huge mixed-use project at Woodland and 9th from developers and onetime East Nashvillians of the year March Egerton and Dan Heller. This week, Heller dropped some exciting mystery and intrigue on the Nashville Business Journal, hinting that all 25,000 square feet of office space at the 40,000-square-foot Wabash is likely going to an international company that “will be well-known to your readers.”
“It's exactly the kind of tenant that works for the development that we do, and exactly the kind of tenant that works for the neighborhood," he said. "It's a very cool company that people will be excited about."
Since Heller’s a nice guy and all, we tried to pretty-please the name out of him. But, sadly, they’ve “gotta keep it on the down low for now,” he said. Worth a try.
Alongside this mystery tenant (expected to get the keys in three or four months), The Wabash will include retail and restaurant space. No word on any names grabbing those spots yet. (C’mon Dan, pretty please!?)
Word about The Wabash project initially came through last spring. Read more about these latest rumblings at BizJournals.com.
Let’s applaud our local Grammy winners
In case you somehow missed “music’s biggest night,” lots of folks took home Grammy trophies Sunday, and some neighbors are among them.
East Sider Maren Morris took Best Country Solo Performance for “My Church,” Sturgill Simpson (who made lots of early Nashville moves here on the East Side) snagged Best Country Album for A Sailor's Guide To Earth and Cage the Elephant (who’d previously worked with East Nashville super-producer Jay Joyce) took Best Rock Album for Tell Me I'm Pretty.
More Nashville on there too. Here’s the full list.
Upcoming East Side comedy of note
Love local comedy? A few shows to note, coming up in the neighborhood:
Rudie’s Seafood, Sausage & Taproom hosts a PopUp Patio stand-Up show on Monday, Feb. 20, kicking off at 8:30 p.m., with local talents Mary Jay Berger, Chuck Anderson, Chad Riden, Chloe Stilwell, Aaron Weber and Benton Ray. (We wrote about some of those folks in our feature on East Nashville comedy a while back.)
There’s no cover, and there’ll be booze specials. 1402 McGavock in Riverside Village.
On Thursday, Feb. 23, Broads & Brews: A Night of Comedy and Music at The 5 Spot will celebrate female comedians/musicians and raise money for the ACLU.
Chloe Marie Stillwell hosts, and there’ll be comedy from Mikah Wyman, Cortney Warner, Kayla Evans, Kendra Corrie, and Laura Peek; music from Tennessee Muscle Candy and Emma Swift; plus lots more.
Cover’s $5, 21-and-up, and the ACLU will have an info table there too. 9 p.m., 1006 Forrest Ave.
— Is East Nashville due for a Bajo Sexto location? There’s a rehab permit for one at 2300 Riverside Drive (Riverside Village area). Certainly doesn’t indicate a done deal, but an interesting possibility. We reached out for more, but haven't heard back yet. Current locations of the Jonathan Waxman-led taco concept are in the Country Music Hall of Fame and in Sylvan Park.
— Reports hit that a new 110-unit condo project is in the works at 1404 Dickerson Pike, taking over a former hotel site. Nashville Post says 15 percent of the spaces will be priced at $99,000.
— Next HENMA mixer is Tuesday, Feb. 21 at the Basement East, 6 to 8 p.m. If you’re an East Side business owner and want to learn more, head here.
— Very last days of Chocolate F/X’s East Nashville shop are here. Head by 1004 Fatherland St., Ste 101, through Saturday to snag your chocolate, on sale.
— Some big congrats to Goodbuy Girls, who just celebrated seven years of supplying East Nashville with vintage/new clothes/boots/assorted treasures. They’re at 1108 Woodland if you want to wish them a happy birthday.
— The East Nashville Beer Fest is looking for volunteers. You’d do a shift at the fest, and depending on shift, either get to stay and taste through the second shift or during an after party. Event is April 8 in East Park. More info/sign-up here.
— Some praise-worthy figures from Pet Community Center: “Since Pet Community Center opened in 2014, there has been a 64 percent drop in dog and cat intake at Metro Animal Care and Control. Wow! That shows how much your support is making an impact every single day in our community.”
That’s it for this week. Tips to share? Please email Nicole.