Long ago, when I first moved here, I really liked going to the Merchants, and I belonged to their frequent lunch club. I also really liked the building and atmosphere for dinner too. But as clients and diners go, I somehow let Merchants fall off my radar screen. I am not sure if it is because parking downtown has gotten more and more difficult and pricey, I just stopped making downtown a frequent dinner destination. But, with this news, the Merchant's relauch is official, I may have to spend some time dining at the Merchants again. If anyone goes before I can get there, let me know how it is. Here is the story from the Nashville Business Journal:
Downtown restaurant fixture Merchants relaunches - Nashville Business Journal
Downtown’s Merchants restaurants formally relaunches to the public today following nearly three months of retooling by its new owners.
The Broadway restaurant has operated with an interim menu since May, when brothers Benjamin and Max Goldberg, owners of Strategic Hospitality, purchased the restaurant for an undisclosed sum. The restaurant kept its doors open seven days a week, with construction crews working the skeleton shift to remodel the building.
Strategic Hospitality also owns Broadway’s Paradise Park and Division Street’s The Patterson House. They also owned Bar 23 and City Hall, both defunct.
The ground floor is now a bright and airy, black-and-white themed bistro. At a preview launch Wednesday night, early garage rock played over speakers, bolstering the downstairs’ throwback-cool vibe.
Contrasting with the casual bistro downstairs, the building’s second floor features fine dining amid dark walls and low lighting. Whereas the downstairs wait staff wear suspenders and bow ties, the upstairs staff stick with long ties (but retain the suspenders).
Co-owner Benjamin Goldberg describes the new menu as “modern American food with a Southern soul.”
He said the restaurant’s previous menu featured a lot of “heavy” food — steaks, potatoes and pasta with rich sauces. Goldberg said the new menu distances itself from the steak house feel, with more light fare like fish and salads.
Clayton Rollison, most recently sous chef at Hermitage Hotel’s Capitol Grille, is Merchants new executive chef.
Despite the new food and the new setting, Goldberg said he never considered changing the name.
“I absolutely love the history of it,” he said.
Once a popular destination for business lunches, Goldberg said he wants the new Merchants to capture some of downtown’s tourist dollars, but also to reconnect with the locals. He doesn’t want them to stop by before a Predators game, but visit as their primary destination.
“I want them to come here because they want to have a great dining experience,” he saidRead more: Downtown restaurant fixture Merchants relaunches - Nashville Business Journal
Eric Snyder covers real estate, retail, restaurants, manufacturing and transportation for the Nashville Business Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-846-4254.Read more: Downtown restaurant fixture Merchants relaunches - Nashville Business Journal