Story by Courtney Taylor | Photos by Andrea Behrends
Grits and bourbon, both of which come from corn, have made the crop one of the South’s most essential commodities. Much like the husk that houses an ear of corn, James Beard Award Winning Chef Sean Brock views his newest venture, Husk Nashville, as a protector of Southern foodways—an intense commitment to ingredients sourced exclusively south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Husk Nashville is being opened by The Neighborhood Dining Group (NDG), which also operates several other celebrated Southern landmark eateries including McGrady’s, Husk, and Queen Anne’s Revenge, all in Charleston, SC; and Chicago’s Steak and Seafood in Roswell, GA. Husk Charleston was named Bon Appetit’s No. 1 New Restaurant in 2011.
This newest addition to the NDG family will provide Chef Brock and Chef de Cuisine Morgan McGlone an outlet to further explore heirloom produce and regional specialties and a continued opportunity to spread the gospel of Southern ingredients. A native of New Zealand, Chef McGlone is a Husk Charleston alumnus.
Chef Brock first fell in love with Nashville while working as executive chef at the historic Hermitage Hotel and has always thought of Music City to be somewhat of a second home. Brock’s connection to the city, paired with unparalleled cultural and offerings made Nashville a natural home for his newest venture. Additionally, a burgeoning restaurant scene featuring culinary movers and shakers like Tandy Wilson of City House, Erik Anderson and Josh Habiger of Catbird Seat and Tyler Brown of Capitol Grille puts Husk and Chef Brock in good company.
Through the years, Chef Brock forged close relationships with Tennessee purveyors and farmers, and finds great inspiration in the wealth of local ingredients and products including bean-to-bar chocolate maker Scott Witherow, Allan Benton’s country ham and bacon, Tom Michaels’ Tennessee truffles, Cruze Family buttermilk and bourbon from the Pritchard family, to name a few.
The restaurant’s menu will be governed by one rule—if it doesn’t come from the South, it isn’t coming through the door. The menu will be ingredient-driven, changing throughout each day based on the availability of fresh, local seasonal bounty with deep-fried ties to friends, farmers, fisherman, artisan and community.
Innovative menu examples of Chef Brock’s work from Husk Charleston include Sassafras-Glazed Pork Ribs with Pickled Peaches and Rev Taylor Butter Beans; House-Cured Country Ham with Acorn Griddle Cakes; and Rabbit-Pimento Loaf with Husk Mustard, Pickles and Rice Bread.
The restaurant’s distinctly Southern menu will be complimented by an extensive wine list, a lineup of classic and creative cocktails that pay homage to regional mixology and artisanal Southern microbrews.
Keeping with the historic design of Husk Charleston, Husk Nashville will be housed in the home of former Nashville Mayor Richard Houston Dudley, who occupied the house in 1897. The home dates, which back to 1895, is located in the historic Rutledge Hill District and is listed in the National Registry of Historic Homes. The restaurant space will highlight the building’s historic roots, yet demonstrates Music City’s vibrancy and cosmopolitan flair.
In addition to the main dining space, Husk Nashville offers a unique venue for private events in The Stables. Located just yards from the main house, this second building is located at the bottom of the home’s garden. The Stables can accommodate up to 30 guests and features reclaimed lumber and a private patio.
Appropriately, hospitality, rather than pretense, is the center of Husk’s service philosophy. Husk takes a casual approach to find dining, striving to provide guests with seamless service, in a warm, comfortable atmosphere. The staff guides guests through their dining experience, in an attempt to convey the story of the cuisine and the farmers and fisherman who worked to put it there.
Husk Nashville is located in Rutledge Hill, just a few blocks south of Historic Broadway, in the heart of Downtown Nashville.
Lunch prices begin at $9 and dinner prices begin at $26. For more information about Husk Nashville, visit huskrestaurant.com.