Gerard Craft announced last week that his restaurant family is growing — this time outside St. Louis. The James Beard Award winner is taking Pastaria, his popular Italian concept
, to Nashville, Tennessee.
“It’s no surprise that Nashville has been on our radar for a while,” Chef Craft says in a press release. “It’s a city that shares a lot of the same values as St. Louis.” If that’s the case, maybe a few Nashville restaurants should consider expanding to St. Louis.
Here are five Nashville restaurants we desperately want for The Lou.
5. Loveless Café
This eatery has served country cookin’ to hungry travelers just off the scenic Natchez Trace Parkway since 1951. Loveless might be America’s most recognized diner — and its fluffy biscuit recipe is one of the most sought after secrets in the South.
St. Louis has a respectable lineup of diners, but nothing quite like Loveless. We have historic spots for greasy breakfasts, old- school flatburgers and late night slingers, but we lack a destination diner known for Southern biscuits, red-eye gravy and country ham. And while duplicating an original is always tough stuff, if any city has the character to pull of a second installment of Loveless Café, it’s St. Louis.
The shipping container-housed AVO
is one of the trendier places in Nashville right now. Most of AVO’s vegan-friendly menu is prepared at or below 180 degrees in an effort to preserve the enzymes, vitamins and nutrients of the locally-grown vegetables.
AVO isn’t simply a salad shop. One particularly tempting brunch offering, Avo Toast, is “sprouted, raw pecan flatbread topped with avocado spread, chimmichurri sauce, tomato, hemp, fresh herbs, and marinated cold-smoked coconut.”
Vegan and vegetarian options in St. Louis have sprouted like wheatgrass over the last few years, with plant-centric dishes offered at restaurants such as Revel Kitchen, Tree House, Lulu’s Local Eatery and Seedz. Avo stands out from the meatless crowd by offering vegetable-focused cocktails such as the frozen Rum PumPum made from rum, Averna, pumpkin puree and lime. The storage container set-up is also a practical, modern alternative to the food truck. We'd love to see one come to St. Louis.
3. Cochon Butcher
Follow us on this one. Cochon Restaurant is one of the most acclaimed restaurants in New Orleans. Cochon Butcher is the restaurant’s sandwich shop and charcuterie outlet. Cochon Butcher’s only other location than the Crescent City is in Nashville. Clearly, they're open to expansion, and that expansion has a northern trajectory — so why not St. Louis next?
St. Louis isn’t lacking in sandwich shops and the artisan meat scene has grown recently, but can you ever have too many good places to go for a sandwich? Plus, how great would it be to pick up freshly made lamb merguez sausage, house cured spicy fennel salami or andouille sausages on the way home from work?
Turn the the page for two more Nashville classics we'd like to see here.