Changes have been underfoot at one The Listening Room Cafe, one of Nashville’s favorite restaurants and performance stages, and now, its new doors are wide open for locals once more.
The venue recently relocated from Cummins Station to 217 Second Avenue S., and per its owner, Chris Blair, the new locale -- which is in the growing SoBro Area of Nashville and within walking distance of the new Music City Center, Bridgestone Arena, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Riverfront Park, and the honky-tonks of Lower Broadway -- is a hit with patrons.
“It’s a lot bigger than we had before, so it opens it up to be able to do a lot of full band shows and showcases," Blair shared with Examiner.com in a Feb. 12 interview. "The old place was great – we had great sound – but it was in that middle: almost too big for acoustic nights and too small for full bands. Now we’ve got the best of both worlds.”
As fate would have it, Blair knows a bit about good tunes and live performances, thanks to the fact he's a songsmith and musician himself. In fact, originally, Blair said, he moved to Music City from St. Louis when he received attention from a major record label. Years later, he fulfilled one of his dreams when The Listening Room Cafe opened in 2008.
“I created The Listening Room Cafe five years ago because I wanted a place that served great food and drinks for people listening to incredible music in an environment that was both fun and welcoming,” Blair remarked.
“I am happy to say that it quickly became one of the places in town to hear live music performed by both artists and songwriters," he added. "We will continue to host great performances in our new, larger location ... in the midst of downtown Nashville’s food and music district.”
The venue's not just known for its music, though, and with its grand re-opening, the locale is now under the watch of its new executive chef, Joshua Champion, who most recently served as executive chef at the award-winning 440 Main in Bowling Green.
As for the revamped menu, “We wanted to take good southern food and give it a nice twist and send it out to people in a way they haven’t seen before,” the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts graduate told Examiner.com.
Among other offerings, diners can now feast on smoked pork steak, whiskey salmon, Cajun fish tacos, baked ravioli, pecan-crusted chicken fingers, house-made seasoned chips and much more. And, of course, The Listening Room Cafe’s famous sweet 'n' spicy pickles remain a menu highlight.
Although the venue's always been known for its great food and top-notch players, behind the scenes more changes have taken place, Blair noted, including the addition of GM Stephanie Margalis and Chase Armstrong, the room's booking coordinator for performances.
Hours: Those wanting to stop in and sample the still-comfy atmosphere at the new address, as well as the cuisine of Chef Champion are invited to just that 11 a.m.-11 p.m. each Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m.-midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Take-out's available, too, though, and Blair said dine-in customers should be advised there's plenty of well-lighted parking for those who make the trip.
For more info, call the venue at 615-259-3600. And to view the food and drink menu, click here.