Network Under 40
Join Network Under 40 on June 21 at AJ’s Good Time Bar, country music star Alan Jackson’s restaurant and bar, located in the heart of downtown Nashville. With
Amidst all of the growth along Charlotte Avenue, the new Salt & Vine, an all-day food hall and wine bar, is adding both style and substance to the area. Light and airy, thanks to large windows that face the street, the space is wrapped in white brick and blonde woods. Bright yellow chairs offer a pop of sunshine, making the room a welcoming retreat any time of day. There’s a market, with olive oils, small-batch cheeses, loaves of locally baked bread, and items like pancake mix and spices, plus a coffee bar and daytime lunch counter. The mornings find a mellow vibe where you can sip an espresso drinks and quietly tap at a keyboard; by midday and nighttime, the room bustles as wine and Mediterranean-inspired food hits the tables.
Radish Toast, $8
Charred Carrots, $10
Spiced Lamb Meatball, $18
Your Rye’s That Sparkle punch bowl, $45
Such a sleek, grown-up space belies its proprietor, 26-year-old Mattie Jackson, a Nashville native. Though young, Jackson is well-studied. She started tasting and learning while studying abroad in Greece. By 2013, she was working a harvest season at Joseph Phelps Vineyard in Napa Valley, California. After a move to Austin, she trained under a sommelier, and she also briefly worked for a wine import company.
Her return to Nashville was deliberate, she says. “At its heart, Nashville is a beer and bourbon town and probably always will be, but, the way the food scene was escalating, I knew that [an interest in] wine was inevitably to follow.”
Inspired by the now national proliferation of food halls, like Eataly in New York, and artisanal markets and dining spaces, like Oakville Grocery Co. in Napa, Jackson looked to open a wine bar and scaled-down food hall, where you can shop for cheese, bread, and other provisions, order an espresso, stop in for a glass of wine with a snack, or linger over a meal. More than anything, she says, she wants Salt & Vine to take the pretension out of wine.
“[Our goal] is to bring wine back to the table, where it’s been in Europe for centuries,” Jackson says. “It’s supposed to be part of everyday life—if you want to have a baguette with it or if you want to have a burger with it. Whether you’re in your workout clothes or celebrating an anniversary, we want wine to be accessible to whoever, whenever, and however they want.”
To that end, the wine list radiates smart simplicity. Twenty-five wines by the glass and bottle are listed under “crushed” or “pressed,” to match the methods for making white and red wines. Jackson hopes to initiate a dialogue with guests about the listings. The “crushed” section, for example, includes rosé and red wines, since the juice of red wine is pressed after it’s been crushed.
There are styles that will push drinkers beyond chardonnay and pinot noir (though it has those, too), and the list spans the wine map, from old world to New Zealand and California. A tasting bar toward the back of the space will eventually host wine tastings and classes, and a bottle shop will open next door in the fall.
Jackson designed the space with the help of architect and her operating partner Hannah Schneider, who she met in Austin and lured to Nashville to help open and run the space. Schneider, 25, originally from San Diego, California, had moved from Austin to New York, where she was working at a restaurant owned by her sister. Her experience in public relations and hospitality lends both polish and professionalism.
For the food, Jackson pulled in Molly Martin, a chef whose experience spans the breadth of Nashville’s food scene. The opening chef at The Turnip Truck in The Gulch, Martin has worked in kitchens across town and now runs the catering operation for The Food Company in Green Hills.
Inspired by the Israel-born British chef Yotam Ottolenghi, Martin put together a menu that peppers Middle Eastern spices and ingredients into its wine-friendly dishes. Daytime finds a selection of pastries, salads, meat and cheese boards, and sandwiches. By 4 p.m., the menu transitions to heartier fare, with items like green-curry mussels, charred carrots with honey brown butter, house-made burrata, and spiced lamb meatballs. Cocktails and beer make it onto the list, too. If you’re dining with friends, try the “Go Big or Go Home,” which are large-format cocktails that incorporate wine and are served in punch bowls. Your Rye’s That Sparkle mixes rye with sparkling wine, lemon, and blood orange.
Like the women who run the space, Salt & Vine is a well-balanced mix. From the well-thought-out market to the easy, comfortable banter of the service staff, it’s a space filled with casual elegance, where the energy and the mood seem to shift with the sun—and, no matter what time of day, there always seems to be a reason to enjoy a glass of wine.
4001 Charlotte Ave; 615-800-8517; saltandvinenashville.com