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100 Reasons to LOVE Nashville

In honor of our 100th issue, we thought it time to celebrate a cross-section of the distinctive things that make the city special

Written By:  Stacie Standifer, Megan Pacella, Chuck Rainey, Stephanie Stewart-Howard, Anika Dartsch & Laura Holder

Photographers:  

Artists—Matt and Carrie Eddmenson:
It’s not just jeans, it’s the right jeans. In Nashville, try a pair custom made by Imogene + Willie in 12South (wear them months before you wash them, so they conform exquisitely to you). Their design capabilities with all things blue has them creating styles for designers on an international scale. Their influence in the industry is evident on back pockets of some of the most famous people in the world.
Must-Do List—Ryman Auditorium:
Seeing a show at the Ryman Auditorium is the epitome of “Nashville” experiences. Aim for the front row, up close and personal—if you’re lucky, Miranda Lambert will be inches away and you’ll feel sweat flying off the musicians. (Better yet, score a backstage pass, so you can soak in the vibe of your favorite artist.) Of course, you should also try front row at the Grand Ole Opry, and we hear Blake Shelton plays there this month.

Photo by Sanford Myers
Must-Do List—Natchez Trace:
The Natchez Trace Parkway is the perfect place to take a drive—all 101 miles down to Tupelo, Miss. Hop on at Highway 96, take the Discover Tennessee Trails map (tntrailsandbyways.com), enjoy the view. For the best experience—take a convertible, open Jeep or motorcycle. It’s also a top rated bicycle road.

Photo By Robin Hood
The Big Time Star:
Tim McGraw has too many number ones and platinum records to count, so it’s hard to believe that this crooner still has time to pursue other interests in addition to an extremely busy performing career. But, his face has become more familiar to non-country fans as he’s made his way into the acting realm in recent years.With fun roles in Four Christmases to parts in award winning films such as The Blind Side, he is definitely exploring the options. We’re most appreciative of his introducing his Country Strong co-stars to our fair city during production, which has given us endless exposure as a hip destination in national media.
Building The Dream—Retail Warrior:
Today, H.G. Hill Realty Company is led by C.E.O. James W. “Jimmy Granbery” whose latest project is conforming the older buildings at the intersection of Division and Broadway into another shopping, dining and office destination—Hill Center Broadway (rumored to be the coolest yet). The proven success of the Hill Center at Green Hills, the retail development of Nashville West, the Harris Teeter Center in Brentwood and the corner in Hillsboro Village are just a few of the major offerings that he has brought to those of us hungry for shopping innovations.
Eat it Up—Donut Delight:
Forget the chain treats forever—even if there are squad cars outside. If you want a doughnut in this town, hit Donut Den in Green Hills for blueberry doughnut holes (pictured here) or try the wonderful sweet potato doughnuts at Old World Doughnut Emporium, at the Franklin Farmer’s Market (but looking for a storefront).
Special Events—Iroquois Steeplechase:
Ah, Steeplechase—Purchase a chapeau at Jamie. Make sure someone is there early—and we mean dawn!—to set up the perfect spread at the center of the infield. Get Martha Stamps’s farm-to-table fare to sustain you through the mint juleps and bubbly. Bring sunscreen, ibuprofen, plenty of water, and an alternate pair of shoes to match the weather.

Shaping the City—The Chancellor:
Nicholas Zeppos has spent the past two years presiding over the hallowed halls of Nashville’s prestigious Vanderbilt University. Dedicated to making Vanderbilt a model of higher education, his commitment to students sets him apart from his peers. Recruiting world-class faculty, developing new programs, and exceeding fundraising goals in a tough economic climate, he’s a force to be reckoned with. With Zeppos at the helm, Vandy continues its tradition of academic excellence and community leadership.

Photo by Jae S. Lee
Where to Stay—The Classic:
The Opryland Hotel has had a true post-flood makeover with the newly designated Porter Wagoner Suite—featuring an entire wall of embroidered fabric by designer Manuel. If you’re looking for true luxury at the heart of Nashville tourism, book a weekend or an overnight, come have dinner at a new hot spot like the trendy Southern Italian Ravello, wander romantically through the indoor paradise, pause for a drink at the Conservatory Bar. If you haven’t been to Opryland in awhile, be prepared to be blown away.
Artists—Alan LeQuire:
Alan LeQuire, sculptor: Athena Parthenos statue at the Parthenon, Musica on Demonbreun, and the epic Dream Forest. The Cultural Heroes work (sculpted heads of figures in the Civil Rights Movement). LeQuire Gallery on Charlotte Ave. and its little sister in The Mall at Green Hills. Need we say more?

Photo by John Partipilo
Building The Dream—The Powerhouse:
In addition to his role at USB Investments, Mark Bloom, principal in the Nashville-based Corner Partnership, is behind building the downtown Hilton, has renovated Union Station Hotel and brought us the fabled Palm Restaurant. He brought the Margaritaville Café to Lower Broad, thrilling Jimmy Buffett fans. His efforts strengthen not just the commercial real estate market but our thriving tourism industry. He’s also a board member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and All for the Hall Concert Committee, and the Nashville Screenwriters Conference.

Photo by Rusty Russell
Drink it Up—Holland House:
Terry Raley is serious about mixed drinks at Holland House Bar and Refuge. He says a well-made cocktail brings out the flavor of every ingredient. Try the Continental, with vanilla-infused Herradura, house-made roasted orgeat, lemon, bitters and more for an exquisite tequila drink. If you prefer whiskey, the Daisy If You Do is their best seller. Try the smaller bar in the back for good conversation.

Photo by Larry Mccormack
Shaping the City—The Honorable Man:
Phil Bredesen may no longer be mayor or governor, but he continues to have long-term impact that makes him a hero for the city, and he’s changed the landscape here in innuberable ways. From working tirelessly to bring both the Titans and the Predators to town, pushing green initiatives, building the downtown library and the arena, founding the Land Trust for Tennessee, implementing policies that allowed us to become a true metropolitan environment and, as an entrepreneur, starting Health Care America Corp, he is one of Nashville’s great men. We can’t wait to see what he does next.

Samuel M. Simpkins
Special Events—Swan Ball:
It may take an Act of Congress to get that invite, but an invitation to the Swan Ball is a de facto sign you’ve officially “arrived.” If your pockets are deep enough to be a Patron, you might end up rubbing elbows with Jay Leno inside Cheekwood mansion. (The money benefits Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art.)

Photo by Alan Poizner
Eat it Up—Burger Up:
Try the Woodstock at Burger Up (love the Jack Daniel’s ketchup), or drop in to Gabby’s Burgers for lunch (order a regular hamburger, skip add-ons)—either way, it’s grass-fed beef, baby! Try Gabby’s sweet potato fries. Fun fact: If he must have that sports bar burger experience, head to Edgefield Sports Bar & Grill, Sam’s Sports Bar or Cross Corner Bar and Grill.

Photo by Larry Mccormack
Drink it Up—Broadway Brewhouse:
A Bushwacker isn’t only a type of snake, it’s a popular drink at the Broadway Brewhouse & Mojo Grill. Step up to the Bushwacker machine and depart with your frosty beverage. A generous helping of rum, some 151, Crème de Caçao and coffee liqueur are frozen into a milkshake-esque drink served in a pint glass. Each location serves somewhere between 70 and 100 gallons of this gem each week.

Photo by Samuel M. Simpkins
Eat it Up— Sunset Grill:
Sunset Grill has been around for 20 years. With a multitude of seating options, we love the tiny, intimate bar best, (especially during their half price wine sale). Go for the Voodoo Pasta—there’s a reason it’s been raved about for two decades: Chicken, bay shrimp and andouille sausage in a spicy “black magic” tomato sauce with fresh egg fettucine.

Photo by Steven S. Harman
Building The Dream—The Barkeep:
In 1992, when Steve Smith took over Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, downtown wasn’t exactly a bastion of tourist activity. Despite dangerous surroundings, Smith breathed new life into Tootsie’s—then opened nearby Rippy’s for patrons who want a more relaxed atmosphere. With two great bars in such close proximity, it’s hard to choose. Now, the Tootsie’s franchise has expanded, notably at Nashville International Airport snd Pier Park (keeping country music firmly on the minds of visitors to Panama City Beach).

Photo by Shelley Mays
Shaping the City—The Speaker of Truth to Power:
We know John Seigenthaler as a powerhouse journalist and media fixture, as a decisive voice of the Civil Rights Movement, founder of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt and as the guy who took a principled stand against Wikipedia’s lack of reliability and responsibility. He reminds us of what the best journalism ought to be.

Photo by Ricky Rogers
Shaping the City—The Leader:
What do Starbucks, Oprah, Darrell Waltrip, and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital have in common? Franklin-based entrepreneur Louis Upkins. With a gift for branding and marketing, he provides leadership and strategic planning for some of corporate America’s most influential companies. Find him in the boardrooms of organizations like New Hope Academy and Leadership Middle Tennessee, mentoring others and helping make this a better place.

Photo by John Partipilo
Eat it Up—Couture Cupcakes:
When you are driving across town and see big white trucks and vans with Gigi’s Cupcakes on the side, you instantly get a sugar craving. This local lady is our version of L.A.’s Sprinkles, and has expanded with a second location in Cool Springs. Flavors like margarita bring us back to see what’s new. The Cupcake Collection in Germantown is also a must stop for the mini’s. For those wanting a little less icing and a bit more old-fashioned charm, Ivey Cake in downtown Franklin fits the bill. Try the Two Faced chocolate cream cheese— yum!

Photo by Samuel M. Simpkins
Drink it Up—The Palm:
Making martinis down and dirty—the best vodka or gin and super-sized olives with blue cheese. Morton’s uses fruit-infused blends they keep behind the bar, flavored to suit your taste. Straight up? Not a problem. We never know what Mike (the city’s best bartender, three years running) puts in his cosmos, but order more than two and you’ll be calling a cab.
Defining the Times—The Voice of Nashville:
After 30 years anchoring for WKRN News 2, Anne Holt is one of Nashville’s most trusted friends. She’s received countless awards, including three Emmys and the George Foster Peabody Award for her investigative documentary “Under the Influence.” She’s served on the boards of NCCJ, Book’em, Leadership Nashville, Cumberland Valley Girl Scouts, Middle Tennessee March of Dimes and Second Harvest Food Bank. Appointed in 2006 to the UT Board of Trustees, there’s little doubt of her commitment to education.
Where to Stay—The Grande Dame:
For the ultimate in town indulgence— start with drinks at the Oak Bar in the historic Hermitage Hotel where you will likely bump elbows with congress members and other politicians unwinding after sessions on the hill. From there, move on to dinner in the adjacent, luxe Capital Grille. Be sure to linger over multiple courses. Order your dessert, but have it sent upstairs by room service to the Presidential Suite. For special occasions, they fill the space with roses and their specialty is running soothing, scented baths with signature Molten Brown products.
Must-Do List—Hatch Show Print:
Hatch Print Show has been around since 1879, and you can visit the shop at 316 Lower Broad still—watch them prepare a poster, have them print something from the catalog of old concert, circus or event posters just for you, or you can have your own personal poster designed and printed. Big hint: Go in with design ideas if you want an original and know the poster you design yourself can take six weeks from start to finish.

Photo by Jae S. Lee
The Ones To Watch
The highly anticipated Nashville Medical Trade Center, is a $250 million project could eventually generate $390 million a year for the local economy and employ nearly 2,800 people. Healthcare companies would be able to rent showroom space, with a model not unlike the more familiar home and apparel markets in Atlanta. When the project goes through, it could change our economy and our landscape, in a city that’s already a national beacon for the healthcare industry.

Photo by Market Center Management Company
Artists—On Stage:
The city’s theatre scene owes a lot to Scott and Rene Copeland. Scott is the artistic genius behind Nashville Children’s Theatre, bringing the wild things to life. Rene, as producing artistic director at the Tennessee Repertory Theatre, keeps grown-ups challenged, inspired and intrigued.

Photo by Sanford Myers
Eat it Up—Sperry's Restaurant:
Make your way to Sperry’s in Belle Meade or Cool Springs for the culinary excellence of their sumptuous Bananas Foster. Valentino’s Ristorante does a great job too. Both top the flaming, rum-infused dessert with homemade vanilla ice cream. The experience alone is worth the splurge.

Photo by Shelley Mays
Shaping the City—The Quick Thinker:
When the flood deluged Nashville, few were on the front lines like Gaylord CEO Colin Reed. Thanks to exceptional disaster planning and a cool head, his team quickly evacuated Opryland Hotel’s guests to safety as the flood waters rushed in. He managed a $280 million renovation in record time, making this fabulous resort even more welcoming, beautiful and luxurious.

Photo by John Partipilo
Must-Do List—Class at the Frist:
The level of world-class exhibits at The Frist has gotten bigger and bolder. Last year’s stunning Golden Age of Couture didn’t stop anywhere else in the U.S. and The Age of Impressionism didn’t either. We’re still dying over the Dior. (After a viewing, grab some lunch at the cafe.)

Photo by Dipti Vaidya
Shaping the City—The Master of Ceremonies:
Being a New York Times best-selling author should be enough—but not for Robert Hicks, award-winning author of Widow of the South and A Separate Country. His passion for words is equaled by one for preservation, saving the history-steeped places associated with the Battle of Franklin. Writer, speaker, leader, world-traveler, preservationist—one person really can make a difference. (Right now, he might be touring Egypt or having dinner with the cast of True Blood in New Orleans.)

Photo by Samuel M. Simpkins
Eat it Up—Breakfast Spots:
Got a carbolicious craving for breakfast? Visit Merridee’s in Franklin, for giant cinnamon rolls you drool over. Puffy Muffin is a vital, if you want a real blueberry muffin. Don’t forget Provence (pictured here) with their unparalleled mini pastries, or go whole hog and hit Pancake Pantry, and don’t skimp on the syrup.
Special Events—Artrageous:
Artrageous reminds us that while you can be serious about art, you can appreciate it with levity. Raising money for Nashville CARES, Artrageous invites guests each year to go over the top. The late party, with DJ and dancing, plus a pretty spectacular auction add to the experience.
The Ones To Watch—The Quiet Man:
Hall of Fame Oilers offensive lineman turned Titans Head Coach Mike Munchak has a tough act to follow in Jeff Fisher, the longest tenured coach in the NFL, but his lengthy experience with the team as offensive line coach under Fisher doesn’t mean he’s not willing to change things up and fight to make this team better than ever. With recent hires including Jerry Gray as defensive coordinator and Bruce Matthews as offensive line coach, look to see a whole new perspective in play when the Titans take the field in 2011.

Photo by George Walker IV
Eat it Up—Diners and Dives:
There’s quintessential Arnold’s, with meat ‘n three buddies Dotson’s in Franklin, At the Table in 12South and the grand dame, the Loveless Cafe (pictured here) out on Highway 100. If you want good home cookin’ (often locally sourced) you’re set. Of course, you might be wanting hot chicken, in which case, get yourself to Prince’s right now.

Photo by Shelley Mays
Drink it Up—Saffire:
Franklin’s Saffire is a fantastic dining destination using local produce to keep things fresh. The Napa Valley Side Car is the drink of choice here: Brandy, Napa Valley Limoncello liqueur, fresh lemon and a splash of soda create a refreshing flavor that will keep you coming back.

Photo by Steven S. Harman
Building The Dream—The Heart of the City:
For 70 years, the Mathews name has been synonymous with quality real estate. The late Bobby Mathews’ legacy has absolutely shaped our fair city forever: The L&C Tower, Ryman Auditorium, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, MetroCenter, the Stahlman Building and the Hermitage Hotel are just a few of landmark locations his family company had a hand in. Every glimpse of the city’s skyline holds a piece of him.
Shaping the City—Karl Dean:
Mayor Dean helped us get through the floods of last May—leading at a time when the city needed it. He’s been a critical part of getting the new convention center built, supported vital improvements in the city’s schools (raising $1 million for Teach For America locally through the private sector) and continued the efforts of mayors Bredesen and Purcell to make the city more environmentally sound. Currently, he’s pushing for Nashville to be proactive in luring new businesses to town and looking at ways to deal with the Nashville Fairgrounds property.

Photo by Samuel M. Simpkins
Shaping the City—The Songbird:
Though still very young, Taylor Swift has led an entire generation to explore country music, with her youthful, wistful lyrics and creative use of social networks to connect with fans. The new face for Cover Girl cosmetics has made a splash with refreshing, delightful design concepts at her Midtown Adelicia abode, when she’s not filling up concert venues around the globe.
Building The Dream—The Financier:
A successful start-up venture is hard to come by lately—but not in Ron Samuels’ world. As Chairman, President and CEO of the successful Avenue Bank, Samuels has defied the odds in today’s banking world by opening a profitable community bank that helps keep our city financed. He’s designated a “Leader in Banking Excellence” by the Tennessee Bankers Association. Oh, and he’s a guitarist for Avenue Bank’s band, The Hummingbirds.

Photo by Dipti Vaidya
The Ones To Watch—The Alternative Artists:
Up and coming music that isn’t country? Nashville’s changing it’s spots, though country still has a huge place here. But take Mikky Ekko for example: The Indie artist has one EP so far, Strange Fruit, was part of the seminal Ten Out of Tenn tour and remains unsigned, but the buzz is so good. Will he be a dynamic part of Nashville’s growing alternative and rock community? The times, they are a changin’... And so is the sound of a lot of talent coming to town.
Defining the Times—The Heroine:
A champion for the rights of music creators, Frances Preston began her legacy in the music industry in 1958, opening a Nashville office for BMI. She retired in 2004—as the CEO of BMI. In October, she was honored with the Mentor Award at the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame dinner—an accolade well-deserved for nurturing the careers of thousands of songwriters and performers.

Jae S. Lee
The Ones To Watch—The Upstart With An Edge:
The dynamic cabedge recently sold its four-man PR component to Werkshop Marketing, but it continues its major focus—web-based strategy, design, content and development. And the big deal is, they get that the key is content. We predict the company’s business model is one we’ll see repeated in future, and their forward thinking methodologies put them at the forefront of our digital marketplace. (pictured: Chris Blanz)
Must-Do List—Breweries:
For a town with some still-arcane liquor laws, we’re producing our own wines, microbrews and liquors pretty successfully. Try the Sly Rye Porter at the Yazoo Taproom, taste the Red Fox Red at Arrington Vineyards (pictured here) or sip Triple Smoked Whiskey at Corsair Artisan Distillery. (For good measure, check out breweries Big River, Bosco’s, Blackstone and Jackalope).

Mandy Lunn
Building The Dream—The Visionary:
What do you do when you are bored with working at one of the biggest accounting firms in the country? For Jim Caden, that stint of his career as a young man didn’t last long. While he’s ventured into many real estate projects and renting commercial space through Caden Holdings—we most appreciate the fact that he led a group of like minded investors to turn the long stretch of Demonbruen Street occupied by dilapidated T-shirt and hat shops into a vibrant retail and restaurant destination that serves as the ideal entrance to Music Row for visitors and locals alike. Five years later, he’s doing exactly the same thing on M Street— turning trash into treasure with a bit of vision. He’s encouraged influential pals to join him in funding a major overhaul of old buildings and warehouses. Whiskey Kitchen, Kayne Prime and Virago are just the beginning as this corner changes form under his watchful eye. An incredible event venue in the district is coming soon, and there are rumors of a possible boutique hotel and other exciting additions if things work out as planned. (Jim Caden, left, and Rhett Smith are the developers behind The Rhythm at Music Row.)

Photo by Shauna Bittle
Drink it Up—Patterson House:
Vincent’s Ruin sounds more like a video game than a drink, but once you find out absinthe is in the mix, the Van Gogh connection unfolds. This twist on a whiskey sour takes Bulleit bourbon, house-made bitters, fresh lemon, St-Germain elder flower liqueur and a glass rinsed with absinthe to unleash its ruin. Bragging rights alone makes a trip to Patterson House required.

Photo by Samuel M. Simpkins
Special Events—The Predators:
Getting seats to a pro sports game isn’t hard, but may dent your wallet. Titans PSL premiums have been sold out for some time—so watch the charity auctions where good-hearted supporters donate their seats and boxes for a cause. Ditto for behind the glass seats at Predators game. Just remind yourself when you’re writing the check that it’s for charity and buying an experience you’ll never forget.

Photo by Sanford Myers
Defining the Times—The Man of Faith:
As President and CEO of R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation, T.B. Boyd III remains constant in his family’s commitment to publishing inspirational literature written by African Americans. Under his leadership, RHBPC now focuses on providing scholarships and grants to historically black colleges and universities, while remaining deeply committed to publishing quality religious, educational, family, music and historical material.

Photo by Peyton Hoge
Defining the Times—The Good Doctor:
One of our finest institutions is the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, led by Director Emeritus Dr. Harold Moses. Since he became the founding director 12 years ago, Dr. Moses has devoted his professional life to seeking a cure for cancer. With his impressive resume that boasts multiple awards for his research in cancer and pathology, and currently serving as president of the American Association of Cancer Institutes, we’re lucky to call Dr. Moses one of our own.
Eat it Up—Italian Kitchens:
For those wanting to see how it’s done, pull up a seat at the chef’s bar at City House (Anne Kostroski and Tandy Wilson pictured here) and see them stack their house made mozzarella before they slide the pie into the wood fired oven. If you’re seeking a bit more ambiance, Giovanni delights with their cheeses, pastas and irresistible Bolognese sauce. For a Naples-style experience on the go, try Edgehill Village’s Bella Napoli, with fresh and affordable rounds on the table in less than 10 minutes, or Porta Via on White Bridge Road has their own version: Crispy crust and authentic, fresh toppings like proscuitto and arugula are reasons to put them on your speed dial.

Photo by Billy Kingsley
Eat it Up—Cake Bars:
Dazzle guests with one of Jay Qualls’ unique Cake Bars from Maple’s Wedding Cakes. A new wedding tradition, the customized Cake Bars present your cake along with a bar of his signature cake shots, with rich added icings and flavors—for example chocolate fudge with chocolate hazelnut buttercream or raspberry curd and chocolate buttercream. Yum!
Where to Stay—Memory in the Making:
You can step back in time and dream about where you would go if Union Station Hotel were still the original train station, but after taking tea in the lobby, you won’t want to go anywhere. Millions were spent on this treasure, and guests can certainly see the attention to detail in every facet. A gourmet dinner at Prime 108 after drinks in The Lobby Bar intoxicate with their dark but vibrant art and furnishings. More than 12 suites boast plush bedding, inviting robes and a chance to be within walking distance from some of the city’s most desirable entertainment venues.

Photo by Larry Mccormack
Shaping the City—Scott Borchetta:
Founder and CEO of independent Big Machine Records, Scott Borchetta is a driving force in today’s music industry—he founded Big Machine taking a risk on a 14-year-old he met at the Bluebird Cafe: Taylor Swift. Collaborating with country and crossover powerhouses like Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire and Jewel, it’s no wonder this California transplant is one of the industry’s most sought-after innovators.

Photo by Samuel M. Simpkins
Eat it Up—Park Café:
Park Cafe, snuggled in Sylvan Park—order the amazing Green Chile Mac n’ Cheese, in its own little baking dish.

Photo by Nick Bumgardner
Shaping the City—The Professional:
Butch Spyridon, President of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, is the mastermind behind much of what makes Nashville “Music City USA.” From the Music City Walk of Fame to fabulous fireworks on the 4th of July and the new Convention Center, Spyridon is committed to promoting Nashville as a world-class destination.

Photo by George Walker IV
Eat it Up—Fresh Food Finds:
Skip over that fast food and pick up lunch at Fresh Market (try the Red Curry soup) and Whole Foods. Or try grabbing something from locally-owned grocers Turnip Truck or the new Turnip Truck Urban Fare in the Gulch. For the price of a drive-thru “value meal,” you can eat healthy and well.

Photo by Billy Kingsley
Artists—Jack White:
Jack White hangs at the Melrose Pub, records out of his tiny, fabulous Third Man Records outlet on 7th Avenue South (behind the mission) and continues to remind us what gritty rock and roll is all about. Whether he’s being impressario to the likes of the Secret Sisters, recording with the legendary Loretta Lynn or making sparks fly with one of his own latest bands, there’s never a creative dead-end. Who knew a guy from Detroit would be part of the soul of Nashville?
Must-Do List—PLAY:
The best place to dance in town on weekends is at a local gay community stand-by PLAY, in the evolving Church Street district. But for real fun worth having, come the Friday night drag show (and leave your hang-ups at the door), and before you go, stop next door at sister business Tribe for martinis (the DJs are incredible).

Photo by Heather Byrd
Drink it Up—Tequila!:
Rosepepper Cantina offers more 100 percent blue agave tequilas than anyone in the area, with numerous awards for the best margarita in town (pictured here). Pure blue agave tequila, lime juice and Damiana liqueur makes a drink to remember. Love frozen best? They use only natural whole fruits. Or try Cantina Laredo, serving up the best brands with fresh lime juice—and we love their glassware! Late night? Hit the Tin Roof.

Photo by Jae S. Lee
Building The Dream—The Exceptional One:
As CEO of Zeitlin and Company, Shirley Zeitlin has spent over 30 years building one of Nashville’s premier real estate companies. Zeitlin’s commitment to exceptional service and client relationships has made her a market leader. Her company is also committed to helping our community. The Zeitlin Charitable Fund has helped a variety of non-profit organizations across the city.
Must-Do List—Bluebird on the Mountain:
Experience The Bluebird Cafe’s songwriter’s nights outdoors in summer and fall at Bluebird on the Mountain at the Dyer Observatory—bring a blanket and a picnic, and sit under the stars—with the hills and the fantastic 1950s dome in the background. One pass will get a carload of up to eight people in—cheap double date!
Artists—The Master Builder:
Architect Glen Oxford visited Chicago after high school to tour architecture before heading to Auburn University, and knew he wanted to be a part of creating the built environment. With his company Oxford Architecture (formed in 1994) most of his projects are non-residential and out of state, but they’re currently completing the second phase of the Campus for Human Development on 8th Avenue South and Drexel—he tells us learning and understanding the needs of the homeless for this project was a life changing experience. The spectacular renovation of a 1912 Arts and Crafts bungalow for himself and wife Rozanne underlines his remarkable abilities.

Photo By Patty St. Clair
Defining the Times—The Hit Maker:
In 1982, Joe Galante was named head of RCA Nashville—becoming the youngest man ever to lead a major record label in Music City. Nearly 30 years later, Galante retired as a chairman of Sony Music Nashville, after building a resume that includes guiding the careers of Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride. We’ll be forever thankful to him for delivering decades of country hits.

Photo by Billy Kingsley
Drink it Up—Hair Of The Dog:
There ‘s nothing better than a Bloody Mary on Sunday morning. Make your own with a collection of peppers, hot sauces and juices at Sportsman’s Grill any weekend morning, or have the experts at Bricktops build a tall glass to your expectations. Mad Donna’s also embraces the tradition, and they only use fresh juice for discriminating, health-conscious patrons.

Photo by Mandy Lunn
Must-Do List—Giddy On Up!:
Leave the stress behind, try a little old fashioned horseback riding. The area is filled with stables and horse farms—try a trip out to Franklin or Leipers Fork, to enjoy the rural beauty. Try Creekside Riding Academy & Stables (2359 Lewisburg Pike, (615) 595-7547). All ages, including summer day riding programs.

Photo by Dipti Vaidya
Artists—Shawn South-Aswad:
You can’t not be in love with Shawn South-Aswad and her Silo Studio in Thompson’s Station. With a studio brimming with rescued pets, found objects and paints, this creative spirit reminds us why we need to be whimsical—and why there is humor in fine art, too.

Photo by Jill Cecil Wiersma
Building The Dream—The Role Model:
Bill Barkley, president of Crosland’s Tennessee Division (a frontrunner in urban mixed-use development), put years of effort into redeveloping some of our in-demand neighborhoods—think Terrazzo in the once-neglected Gulch. He’s a pioneer in green building, with LEED-certified developments leading the way, and blending environmentally friendly development with a deep respect for historic preservation, Barkley is a real role model for developers in Middle Tennessee.

Photo by Shelley Mays
Eat it Up—Red Pony:
Williamson County may seem in thrall to chains, but Jason McConnell at Red Pony challenges that. Start out in the upstairs bar with a signature cocktail (they do a mean French 75), meander downstairs to your table, start with hand-made guacamole, then order the shrimp and grits—with apple bacon, green onion, mushrooms and wine.

Photo by John Partipilo
Special Events—Nashville Film & Screenwriters festivals:
The Nashville Film Festival and Nashville Screenwriters Conference remind us that Nashville is much more of a film town than we recognize. The Screenwriters Conference brings not only writers of scripts, but writers of music and soundtracks into contact with the L.A.-based industry. NFF brings independent films, big name actors, directors and filmmakers to the city and gives local would-be auteurs the chance to shinel. The pricey upper tiers of membership really have perks—go for the Patron level ($250) or higher for admission to VIP tent and special events.

Photo by George Walker IV
Artists—Rhinestone Cowboy:
Porter Wagoner, Johnny Cash and Marty Stuart wore his suits and made his name synonymous with Nashville star power. Where would we be without Manuel? He’s designed for Sly Stallone and Robert Redford, for Dolly Parton and Madonna, for Ronald Reagan and three generations of the Hank Williams dynasty. His son and daughter carry on the garment-making tradition, but Manuel will always be a fashion legend.
Special Events—Symphony Fashion Show:
April’s Symphony Fashion Show is the fashion event of the year, welcoming the likes of Oscar de la Renta, Monique Lhullier, Isaac Mizrahi and Marchesa. Aim for a front row seat ($100, on top of the $300 for the reception, show and dinner) in the middle, so you can get a serious look at each frock coming and going. It’s the best place to be seen, as well as to see.

Photo by Rusty Terry
Defining the Times—The Purveyor of Style:
Fashionistas have been counting on the savvy sensibility of Jamie Stream for bringing high fashion to Nashville since 1973. With a gorgeous boutique carrying the very best lines and designers in clothing, accessories and cosmetics, you would think that all talents would be focused on attire, but there is much more. Her tremendous taste in art and interiors in both her own homes here (featured in Vogue’s entertaining section) and in Mexico (a cover feature in Elle Décor). She’s recently taken that talent to complete the chic, boutique Hotel Matilda in her beloved San Miguel, which opened last fall to great acclaim. As for the store, no worries, daughter Gigi Grimstad is just as sophisticated as her mother making sure that the Harding Road main-stay is always stocked with the very best.
Special Events—Award Shows:
The CMA Awards take top local award show billing (in a tough field including the Americana Music Awards, Dove Awards and CMT Awards, among others). The key is making friends with someone at a big record label, to score passes to the ultra-private, star-studded after parties. Sip cocktails with Martina, shoot whiskey with Blake Shelton, and don’t go home till daybreak.

Photo by Larry Mccormack
Eat it Up—Frozen Treats:
No matter how low the temps have been this winter, Nashvillians seem to have a frozen fetish. Las Paletas on 12th South keeps in interesting with their ever-changing pops with highly spiced flavoring. But, the real obsession seems to be with frozen yogurt. Krave in Green Hills keeps us coming back, and Sweet CeCe’s is expanding with locations literally on corners everywhere with a line out the door on sunny afternoons. Even the national chain, PinkBerry caught onto the trend, opening their first outpost on West End Avenue. The only real contest at each is how many topics you can heap onto a one cup serving.

Photo by Dipti Vaidya
Building The Dream—The Developer:
You can’t look at the downtown skyline without seeing Tony Giarratana’s fingerprints. Over decades, he’s developed downtown into a vibrant place to work and play, adding The Cumberland and The Viridian to our urban living facilities, and restoring the historic Belle Meade Theatre into a mixed-use facility. Our skyline is in good hands.

Photo by George Walker IV
Special Events—Festival Frenzy:
Nashville loves a festival: Taste of Music City (June 3), has thousands gather to sample from local restaurateurs. CMA Fest has locals begging for a traffic break as the streets are flooded with country music fans. In East Nashville, The Tomato Art Fest is king. In Franklin, it’s Pumpkin Fest and Art Down Main/The Main Street Festival. In Centennial Park, we watch for the TACA Tennessee Craft Fair and purchase handcrafted goods while enjoying music. The Toast of Tennessee Wine Festival at Nashville Shores (May 14, 2011). offers unlimited wine tasting, with most, if not all, of the Tennessee wineries attending.

Photo by Alan Poizner
Shaping the City—The Filmmaker:
Half of the fabulously successful Deaton-Flanigen Productions, Robert Deaton (along with partner George Flanigen) has spent most of his life in film production. Cutting edge work for Carrie Underwood, Kid Rock, and Gretchen Wilson have made Deaton-Flanigen the go-to place for everything from television specials to national commercials to award-winning music videos.—And oh, yeah, that little opening sequence for Monday Night Football and the nationally televised CMA Awards. (l-r): Sony Music Nashville Sr. Director Creative Services Scott McDaniel; video director George Flanigen; Underwood; video director Robert Deaton; and video producer Steve Lamar.

Photo by Micah Kandros
Eat it Up—Cookie Monster:
Who doesn’t love a cookie? Big pros Christie Cookies put us on the cookie map, but small shop Dozen: A Nashville Sweet Shop (at Farmers’ Markets/pictured here) does a rockin’ ginger cookie and Fiddlecakes shows the love with their chocolate chip.

Photo by Larry Mccormack
Must-Do List—Franklin Theatre:
The 1937 Franklin Theatre once symbolized Hollywood glamour for dreamy-eyed moviegoers. When rising rents closed its doors in 2007, we thought the historic Art Deco theatre was lost, but, the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County and local residents fought back. Leveraging generous loans and donations, the Heritage Foundation purchased the building, and sped through the LEED-certified renovation (savethefranklintheatre.org).

Photo by Shelley Mays
Drink it Up—Have A Cold One:
Beer drinkers love 12 South Taproom with 30 beers on tap and so many bottle options rotating through the staff lost count. Flying Saucer has the largest draft beer selection and $3 drafts Mondays. For craft beer, the award-winning beers at Bosco’s do the trick. Try the Flaming Stone or the Bombay IPA. Big River Grill has top notch craft beer. Say hello to their brewer Brad and enjoy one of the best IPAs ever.

Photo by John Partipilo
Defining the Times—The Queen of Country Music:
With a short stature, incredible figure and moving voice, Dolly Parton captured the hearts of millions early in her career and seems to only get better with age. Her big hair and big, well, other attributes, have earned her numerous awards and international recognition. This small town country girl has done big things—for example, her most famous role off the music stage in the 1979 film blockbuster 9 to 5 led to a songwriting gig for the long-running Broadway musical that made us adore her even more.

Photo by Michael Patrick
Eat it Up—F.Scott's:
If your love is jazz music while you dine or imbibe, F. Scott’s is king (Roasted Pumpkin Salad pictured here). Nightly stellar menu and wine list not withstanding, we go there at seven each night (Monday-Saturday) for the live jazz, that makes the whole ambiance something special. The Jazz Bar opens at 5:30, by the way. Find more jazz, plus classic rock and swing at Sambuca nightly at 7 p.m., and pair it with a sultry cocktail.

Photo by Sanford Myers
Where to Stay—The Green Room:
Hutton Hotel is there for eco-chic types, with serious sustainability: Energy-conscious lighting, recycling, low-energy EcoDisc elevators, a hybrid courtesy vehicle, biodegradable cleaning products, bamboo flooring and furnishings and more. Plus, totally worth it for 1808 Grille. Fun Fact: Gwyneth Paltrow stayed here three weeks while filming Country Strong.

Photo by Attic Fire Photography
Artists—Interiors:
Bobbie McAlpine—known for McAlpine Booth & Ferrier Interiors, his distinct style aims to create “the inheritable house.” His work is recognized by Southern Accents, House Beautiful, Veranda and House and Garden. We adore his book The Home Within Us: Romantic Houses, Evocative Rooms. Anything he touches looks more gorgeous.Even more intriguing, he debuted his own furniture line, McAlpine Home, in 2002 and it’s been taken up by Nashville deco.
Drink it Up—Girlie Drinks:
Spring’s a time to enjoy the outdoors and Rumours East has you covered. With a spacious backyard and patio, you can enjoy your evening in style and relax away the week’s woes. Mike will whip up their famous Blueberry Pomegranate Mimosa—his secret is the blueberry part, but don’t tell him we told you.

Photo by Shelley Mays
Special Events—Wine Time:
A Vintage Affair offers a host desirable vintages to sample. Each April, a multi day/night roster of events brings vintners and supporters together, and it’s become so popular that the organization spear-headed by Ralph Drury has branched out to include A Fashion Affair and The Grape Stomp at Animalia.
Eat it Up—Sopapilla's:
You don’t have to head south to treat yourself to an authentic Southwestern dessert. Visit Sopapilla’s in Franklin—a traditional New Mexico-style restaurant—for the best sopapillas in town, made with a special dough that puffs up into a fried pastry perfection. Make sure to add a drizzle of honey.

Photo by Jeanne Reasonover
Must-Do List—Hit The Trail:
If you like running, the place to go is the Red Trail at Belle Meade’s Percy Warner Park. The hills and terrain will test you like nothing else in the area. This is not the kiddie trail boys and girls—and they’ll call you on letting Fido off his leash!

Photo by Samuel M. Simpkins
Building The Dream—The Foodie:
Tom Morales started a mobile kitchen—it’s now TomKats, a nationally-renowned on-location catering business providing exceptional food and service. With crews in New York and LA, he feeds the entertainment industry elite, Tennessee-style. He also manages several beloved restaurants—Saffire (pictured here), SoBro Grill and the famed Loveless Café, and his Disaster Relief Catering team is ready and willing to help when trouble strikes.

Photo by John Partipilo
Eat it Up—Have your Cake:
If you haven’t visited Firefly tucked away on Bandywood for a piece of their scrumptious coconut crème cake, then put it on your list. Other interesting slices at restaurants include the mammoth carrot cake at the Palm (enough for four) or the competing version at J. Alexander’s. If you want to think about getting a slice of cake to go for later, stop into The Picnic—as they always have red velvet and other classics on hand to swipe up for carry out.

Photo by Autumn Cruz
Artists—Glass Houses:
Though it sometimes plays second fiddle to the epic downtown Frist Center, Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art also reset the bar this past year with it’s majestic, interactive Chihuly exhibit.

Photo by Samuel M. Simpkins
Special Events—The Delicious Bargain:
One of the best things about food in town is Nashville Originals’ Restaurant Week. For one week each winter get amazing meals at stunningly low prices— get out of your usual routine and try the places you’ve always wanted to, from Margot, Watermark, Mambu, tayst, Sunset Grill, 55South and host of others.

Photo by Samuel M. Simpkins
Defining the Times—The Agent:
Booking agent Rod Essig paved the way for Faith Hill and Tim McGraw through his now worldwide company, Creative Artists Agency. Representing all facets and entertainment personalities in the business, CAA has become a household name for anyone seeking great representation. The walls of his Nashville office are lined with platinum and gold records and awards such as the Max Boren Axton Award that he received from the Academy of Country Music for his dedication to the industry. His moving and shaking ability and Los Angeles relationships have also resulted in huge strides for major films being shot in the city. We know why he’s so well connected— he’s also the most fun guy in the biz.

Photo by Sanford Myers
Eat it Up—Candy Craze:
Who cares about sugar overload? Obviously not us. The opening of Diana’s Sweet Shoppe last year on Broadway brought retro candy back. The space was originally a candy store opened in 1926. They make handmade shakes and sundaes as well. The Nashville Toffee Company sells out of their tins of melt-in-your mouth chocolate covered bliss every holiday or you can buy it at the Turnip Truck in the Gulch. And, for traditionalists, there are fresh Goo Goo Clusters at every local retailer, since the Standard Candy Company is still making them right here.
Where to Stay—Center of the Action:
Convenience to the arena for concert-going and two blocks from all things honky-tonk doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice on your accommodations. The incredible apartment sized suite on the top floor at the Hilton Downtown boasts two full gorgeously appointed bedrooms and baths along with a spacious living room with a built in wet bar (in case you want to show off your reservation to your friends). Since recent renovations have improvements to all things at this property, it is going to be more popular than ever. Park with valet, have a bit at the Sports Grille and enjoy a night of fun, romance and being completely spoiled.
Eat it Up—Caffe Nonna:
Caffe Nonna makes an ideal date restaurant, given the intimate setting. We love Seafood Angelina—with fresh mussels, baby clams, shrimp and scallops sauteed with tomatoes, garlic, chiles, saffron, pancetta and cream, then tossed over fettucine pasta. Fun Fact: Buy their yummy sauces and pasta packaged to go—proceeds support the Zoe Marie Brain Tumor Research Fund, so feel good indulging.

Photo by Dipti Vaidya
Artists—Margaret Ellis:
You may recognize the name Margaret Ellis from the sign on her lovely jewelry design studio in Cummins Station or from the displays of her goods throughout stores in the Southeast, as she has become on of the region’s most respected and sought-after designers of contemporary fine jewelry. What you also may think of are her distinguished images in advertising that feature empowered women of all races and backgrounds wearing her latest collection. The most impressive part of her always-interesting campaign is that she serves as her own chief photographer in capturing these women—proving that for some, talent really does come in spades.
The Ones To Watch—The New Guy In Town:
Governor Bill Haslam did a bang up job in Knoxville, but how will he play out as Governor of Tennessee? Time will tell. The new Governor of Tennessee has strong business ties, and worked with his father’s Knoxville-based petroleum company Pilot Corporation from his teen years. Look for him to address budget concerns particularly this term, to continue his predecessor’s strenuous efforts to draw in new business to the state and we suspect Haslam’s dynamic historic preservation concerns as mayor may influence some of his work in the governor’s office as well.
Eat it Up—Specialties to Savor:
The Zola Club Med Salad at Tin Angel (pictured) is a blend of lettuces, legumes and veggies created to delight and satisfy to dieter’s delight. The Tamarind Pork at Basil is an original creation with a very well-kept secret recipe. And then there is that hard to identify white barbeque sauce at South Street, perfect for dipping and soaking. The Fire Crunch roll at Virago really is the best sushi on the planet. What keeps some of our best loved destinations on our radar no matter what comes along is their ability to keep it secret, and to keep it coming. And they do it oh, so very well.



 

 

 

 

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