The Food Biz: Green Hills eats

A pair of restaurants — one Japanese, the other Mexican — give options on Richard Jones Road

The redeveloping retail strip along Richard Jones Road in Green Hills has a new restaurant anchor. Kohana Japanese Restaurant opened two weeks ago at 2002 Richard Jones.

Kohana is owned by local restaurateur Doris Cheung; it’s the sister restaurant to Kohana locations in Clarksville and the Streets of Indian Lake in Hendersonville.

The menu features many of the standards of Japanese cuisine in America: teriyaki, tempura, noodles and katsu. But the Kohana folks are especially proud of their sushi lineup: 70 different sushi rolls, and if that’s not enough variety, diners can customize their own.

Kohana is working to secure a liquor license, but until then you can bring your own bottle of wine with no corking fee.

Closed Mondays, Kohana serves lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday (the restaurant closes for a couple hours between lunch and dinner Tuesday through Friday). The phone number is 915-2415.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the same strip on Richard Jones, Alegria Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar is poised to open in coming weeks.

Promising “modern Mexican” cuisine, Alegria has posted some impressive interior shots on Facebook, with bright, splashy colors, cozy booths and chic chandeliers. We hear Alegria will seat 200 diners, with 60 more spots out on the margarita-friendly patio.

For updates, follow Alegria Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar on Facebook.

Two other hotly anticipated restaurants we expect to open soon: Etch at the Encore, in the Encore condominium building in SoBro — which is the new restaurant from Chef Deb Paquette and the team behind Amerigo — as well as Lockeland Table Community Kitchen and Bar, chef Hal Holden-Bache’s project at 15th and Woodland streets in East Nashville.

Also, the taproom at Fat Bottom Brewery is nearing completion. Fat Bottom, owned by entrepreneur Ben Bredesen (a former health care exec and the son of former Tennessee governor and Nashville mayor Phil Bredesen), will be the first of two breweries opening in the former Fluffo mattress warehouse on Main Street in East Nashville.

Bredesen says on Facebook that things are coming together well, but he plans to make some final arguments at the beer board meeting on July 12 “to hopefully include the brewery viewing area under the retail permit. (So you can bring a beer and watch the brewing action.)”

We’ll keep you posted.

Here at Food Biz we talk a lot about events, restaurants and of course fresh produce at the Nashville Farmers’ Market north of downtown. Starting Tuesday, another smaller market will take up temporary residency in the downtown core.

The Country to Core Market brings in produce from a number of small local farms, and during the growing season, it will be held Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Bank of America Plaza near Fifth Avenue North and Union Street.

The event is a sister to the West Nashville Farmers Market, and a project of the six-year-old organization Good Food for Good People.

Some of the local products you might see this week include heirloom carrots, purple Cherokee tomatoes, cantaloupe and green beans.

And coming up this Wednesday, otherwise known as the Fourth of July, is a distinctly Nashville tradition: the Music City Hot Chicken Festival.

Celebrating the unique Nashville specialty of searing spice and savory heat, the festival was recently ranked as one of America’s best food festivals by Jane and Michael “Roadfood” Stern on the Gourmet Live blog.

The first 500 people will get free hot chicken samples from Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, 400 Degrees, Pepperfire Hot Chicken, Smack Your Mama Chicken and Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish.

There’s also music, an amateur hot chicken cooking contest in which six teams will vie for the championship, a beer garden and all kinds of other food vendors with treats for sale.
The event is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, July 4, at East Park, 700 Woodland St. in East Nashville.

And this year for the first time, the party will be preceded by a Hot Chicken Festival Parade, which will start at 10:30 a.m. at Eighth and Woodland streets and end at the East Park Community Center.