Husk burns, closes indefinitely

An overnight fire burned two rooms at the converted historic house that Husk calls home.  It was bad enough that the restaurant has shut down, and they don’t yet know when they’ll reopen.

Three employees were present after midnight when they saw the electrical fire start.  The firemen, who are stationed just down the street, arrived quickly and doused the flame.  It didn’t affect the dining or bar areas.

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Interview puts the spice in the hot chicken community

A few days ago, George Embiricos wrote a piece about Hattie B’s, the relatively new-to-the-game hot chicken joint.  He stirred up a few embers, though, with some cultural appropriation, however unintentional it may have been:

Lengthy lines — packed with locals, tourists and celebrities alike — regularly stretch down the block during peak times. Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack may have created hot chicken in the 1930s, and institutions like Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish may have helped preserve the tradition over the years, but Hattie B’s has made hot chicken cool.

The drama has been unfolding over a few days.  First, commenters on a Facebook group raised heck about it, but moved on.  Betsy Phillips of the Nashville Scene, though, was not having it:

We’ve lived through white people “inventing” rock & roll so they could sell it to white people and then half a century of people — black and white — pointing out that it’s an older art form than that. We’ve lived through a century of “vulgar” “exotic” “indecent” dances done by black kids becoming “fun” and “energetic” and “cool” when white kids do it — see everything from the hop straight through breakdancing through whatever kids are doing today. Graffiti, when black kids were doing it, was criminal and fed into gang culture. Banksy does it and now it’s worth preserving and spending money to collect it. There’s not a black art form, food included, that by this point hasn’t been popularized by white people and then the popularized version celebrated by white media like white people invented it, or at least, perfected it.

Then just today, Phillips’ colleague, Chris Chamberlain, waded into the fray to sort-of defend Embiricos:

In my opinion, Embiricos’ piece is not a bad piece; it has a bad headline and a few awkward phrases in it that I imagine Embiricos wishes he could rework.

And he added a few good points about the whole situation:

It’s probably worth mentioning, as well, that a Nashville editor might have raised some of these issues [of racism], while Embiricos’ editor, working out of Manhattan for a national food site, didn’t see some of the landmines here.

Regular tourists flock to both Nashville locations, because … if you’re on a Pedal Tavern, it’s a long-ass trip up Dickerson Pike [to Prince’s].

All three pieces are worth a read, in order, when you’ve got a little free time.

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It’s Restaurant Week

This one almost slipped by me, but today is the beginning of Restaurant Week here in Nashville.  This time around (it happens twice a year), there are 43 independently-owned restaurants participating.

They’ll have special items on the menu or special deals for patrons.  Many of the full meals are $20.16 for one meal (or the same price for two people, depending on the restaurant).  Visit Nashville Originals’ page to see the deals different spots are offering.

I’m hoping to get out and try a range of different restaurants, from the cheap (Elliston Place Soda Shop) to the less cheap (Holland House).

This year’s winter Restaurant Week got snowed out by that big winter storm that shut down the area for a few days.  Let’s hope that doesn’t happen this week.  On the plus side, they did extend Restaurant Week by an extra week that time.

Earlier: Restaurant Week is ComingRestaurant Two Weeks

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Hot chicken is hot … and so is the weather

It was a hot, muggy 4th of July, but that didn’t stop the crowds for showing up for the annual Hot Chicken Festival.  Held this morning and afternoon in East Park (which is, yes, in East Nashville), events ranged from a fire truck (and kilt) parade:

To a hot chicken contest:

A stage also featured a host of festival-quality music, as pictured above.

Unfortunately, Calli Cline wasn’t too thrilled about the heat, both on the chicken and in the atmosphere:

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USPS debuts new stamps on Elliston Place

Elliston Place Soda Shop was chosen as the place to debut a collection of new stamps.  The Soda Fountain Favorites were presented today by the United States Postal Service in a ceremony on the street in front of the old-timey burger and shake joint, opened in 1939:

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The Old Gas Station to open in old gas station

A new craft beer bar is set to open in The Nations next month.  The Old Gas Station, as it’s called, will have a fenced-in area underneath the awning which used to cover the gas pumps, and an additional building with “a rustic feel” will offer indoor seating with at least 12 beers on tap (in addition to bottles and cans).  He’s still working on getting some permits relating to health standards, though, which kind of makes sense for a place in a disused gas station.

The Nashville Post has more.

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Fancy South Carolina cafe/”grocer” to land in Midtown

At a new mixed-use building just across 21st Ave S from Vanderbilt, a new “grocer” has been announced to fill a retail space downstairs:

All of the chain’s current locations are in South Carolina, which offer such items as duck confit panini and creole white fish sushi.  The cafe’s host, Aertson Midtown, is expected to be finished later this year and will include apartments, a hotel, a parking garage, and retail space.

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Why did the chicken restaurant cross the road?

It’s a new restaurant, actually: The Birdhouse surprised Nashville diners by opening a few days early.  They were supposed to serve their first Korean-Southern fusion fried chicken to patrons on Friday, but they threw the henhouse doors open today for lunch.

As Eater Nashville reports:

Designed as a take out joint with patio seating, The Birdhouse will provide a creative take on traditional Korean Fried Chicken, as well as a number of other street-food inspired dishes.

Most importantly, the Chefs realize the necessary responsibility of moving away from factory farms and offering only chicken that is all natural and humanely raised.

Located at the corner of McFerrin and Cleveland in East Nashville, this new restaurant is at the same intersection as popular restaurants Mas Tacos, Holland House, and The Pharmacy.

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