Where To Eat Near the Music City Convention Center
The new convention center is amping up Nashville’s downtown dining scene
Written By: Kay West
Photographers: Ron Manville
150 3rd Avenue South
The Southern Steak & Oyster, from TomKats owner Tom Morales, who famously helped resurrect the Loveless Café, is a spacious, modern restaurant located near Broadway and a quick walk from MCC. An oval bar anchors the room and provides a perch for raw bar enthusiasts (they have anywhere from five to eight oyster varieties available daily) but the menu reaches across Southern state lines with chicken fried chicken, fish tacos, and smoked baby back ribs. Sunday brunch brings in a local jazz group.
The Southern (main dining area) Etch
303 Demonbreun Street
Nashville legend Deb Paquette reappeared after a brief hiatus to help open this beautiful downtown dining room. There are particular pleasure points (candied beets, with manchego, chorizo, mustard seed, capers, fennel, pomegranate, and pistachio) but every dish is new and fresh. The grand finale belongs to pastry chef Megan Williams and her savory-sweet-tangy-fruity-chocolaty seductions.
Flyte World Dining and Wine
718 Division Street
A restaurant known for its inventive menu and fine wines, Flyte is one of the city’s best. Chef Matthew Lackey gets inventive with dishes like elk tartare, octopus with bok choy, and game hen. He sticks to buying locally from farms within a fifty-mile radius of the restaurant. Flyte also reels in the community’s wine connoisseurs, as wine director and co-owner Scott Sears has compiled a selection of uniquely unfamiliar wines from around the globe.
Flyte World Dining and Wine Flyte World Dining and Wine Yazoo Brewing Company Taproom
910 Division Street
There are few places in town people can’t find a Yazoo Pale Ale or Dos Perros, but there’s no place like Yazoo’s taproom, which is a public on-site tasting room where you can check in on the brewery’s operations, about a half-mile from MCC.
701 8th Avenue South
Since opening their own taproom in 2011, owners Robyn Virball and Bailey Spaulding have welcomed visitors to taste their stellar line of local brews and regularly host events in their parking lot. Watch for their new expansion into the neighboring space on Division.
For three years, Nashvillians have watched the 1.2 million-square-foot, $585 million Music City Center rise from its 16-acre site south of Broadway and east of 8th Avenue.
Aside from reconfiguring traffic flow on the perimeter of the behemoth building and boosting Metro’s sales tax kitty, when the dust settles what will the thousands of MCC conventioneers mean for nearby businesses? A spike in hotel occupancy rates is a given—all those folks have to stay somewhere. But beyond that, the first to register MCC’s trickle-down economics will likely be restaurants—despite the fact that the MCC kitchens will be capable of feeding all 6,000 people in the Grand Ballroom in one seating.
At some point, conventioneers will make a break for it, and the good news is, they won’t be corralled into a chain restaurant, but can instead partake in some homegrown flavor. Click through the gallery for more on our picks for the newest dining spots to hit the neighborhood.