What does a chef entrepreneur do when he decides to add a fourth business but doesn’t want it to overlap with his first three restaurants? How about open a retail location.
That’s what Arnold Myint is doing as he prepares to launch a new place called AM this summer in the Nashville Farmers’ Market downtown. He’s calling it a gourmet grab-and-go, with just a handful of seats.
Known locally for his restaurants PM, Cha Chah and Suzy Wong’s House of Yum — and nationally for his appearance on Top Chef last year — Myint is staking out new territory with AM.
“It’s a small gourmet retail shop,” Myint says. “The food is an extension of what I do at Cha Chah, but I want to bring my flavors to another market.”
Speaking of market, Myint says it’s a bonus to be located in Nashville’s central hub of farm-fresh produce. “It’s really exciting to be able to pull stuff right here,” he says.
And Myint, whose mother Patti introduced a generation of Nashvillians to Asian food 35 years ago when she opened her International Market store and eatery, says he wants to do some educating, too. People who visit the Farmers’ Market, he says, will be able not only to see and buy fresh produce, but also get a taste of creative uses of those ingredients, what he describes as “food with integrity.”
“We want to show people that a sandwich is not just a sandwich, a salad is not just a salad,” he says. “We bake our own bread, we trim our own meats, our veggies are local.”
AM’s offerings of cold sandwiches, deli salads and takeaway dinner entrees will be prepared in advance in Cha Chah’s kitchen. (The Farmers’ Market space doesn’t have a stove hood or other requisite equipment for real cooking.) The focus will be on takeout, but there will be a few seats at the counter.
When Myint emceed the Top Chef Tour at the Farmers’ Market last week, he hinted at another component that he said he couldn’t yet detail or promise. “There’s talk of a license,” he said. “A license for something that comes in a glass.”
Now selling steaks
Another enterprising restaurateur, Chris Hyndman, just unveiled his fourth restaurant, Kayne Prime Steakhouse, on McGavock Street off the Gulch in the former Radius10 space at 1103 McGavock. Aiming to be the high-end steakhouse of all steakhouses in Nashville, Kayne Prime staged VIP previews last week and was primed to open officially this past Friday.
Hyndman’s the man behind two other restaurants on the same block: Virago, a chic warren of dining spaces and cocktail perches inside a former warehouse, and Whiskey Kitchen, the more casual hangout of folks like Nashville rockers Kings of Leon. Hyndman has branded that stretch of McGavock as an entertainment corridor he calls M Street. A little ways down Broadway in Midtown, Hyndman also has Tavern, his chef-driven-cuisine-meets-neighborhood-pub concept.
Overseeing all four kitchens is executive chef Robbie Wilson, a veteran of some top-flight joints like sushi deity Nobu Matsuhisa’s outpost in Aspen, Colo., and N9ne Steakhouse, also in Aspen.
Kayne Prime (the name comes from the historic Kayne Street train yard, the tracks along which the trendy Gulch sprang up) is described as “an experience aimed to please both the steak/wine aficionado as well as the adventurous ‘foodie’ clientele.”
In true foodie fashion, the menu proudly proclaims the farms and ranches where each steak was sourced, and endeavors to educate diners on luxe cuts like USDA Prime steak and “beyond-prime” wagyu beef.
In fact, there’s a little steak tasting flight, the “Progression of New York Strip Sirloin” that lets diners compare 3.5-ounce cuts of USDA Prime, American-raised wagyu and imported Australian wagyu.
But it’s not all about the beef. There are ceviche-like compositions (crudo in Italian) such as Arctic char with roasted grapes, crushed pine nuts and shiitake bacon, intriguing side dishes (crème corn brulee with jalapeno) and, we are told, a daily four-course vegetarian tasting.