The Food Biz: Fat Bottom arrives

Ben Bredesen's brewery takes shape in the old Fluffo Mattress warehouse in East Nashville

Nashville’s newest microbrewery, Fat Bottom Brewing Co., is set to open in East Nashville in less than two weeks, and it looks like the taproom will offer a small but fascinating food menu, as well.

Last time I talked to Ben Bredesen, the proprietor of Fat Bottom, he didn’t have much to reveal about the food — he was mostly focused on crafting the beer recipes, building a professional brewery facility and navigating the complex paperwork that opening a new brewery requires.

Bredesen, a health care software exec (and son of a former Tennessee governor), quit the corporate life last year to concentrate on brewing full time. One of his signature brews is Ginger, an American wheat beer spiked with a ginger kick.

Ginger helped him create his concept for Fat Bottom, whose logo flaunts a 1940s pinup-style drawing depicting an amply endowed young woman holding a foamy beer mug.

Like Ginger, all the various brews have women’s names and similar lady mascots: Bertha is a voluptuous gal representing a hearty oatmeal stout; Black Betty is a raven-haired beauty holding a tall glass of India black ale.

In another unique twist, Fat Bottom specializes in unfiltered beers. Skipping filtration results in bolder flavors, or as Fat Bottom’s slogan goes, “bigger, sexier beer.”

Fat Bottom’s location is distinctive, too: the former Fluffo mattress warehouse at Ninth and Main streets, which is in the process of redevelopment. Another highly anticipated tenant is Edley’s Bar-B-Que — the popular 12South barbecue joint plans to open its second location next door to Fat Bottom. (A second local brewery, Broadcast, had also planned to share the building, but we hear it’s not going forward at that location.)

As Bredesen’s brewery came together, he decided to hire a serious chef — Christopher Haston, a veteran of Mambu — to make the taproom fare, albeit in what Bredesen describes as a “very, very small kitchen.”

“It’s a microkitchen for a microbrewery,” Bredesen said, laughing. “But Chris told me it was no problem.”

The menu is small but with rotating selections that pack some culinary punch. The opening day menu will include: duck quesadilla; deviled eggs with lump crabmeat; an adaptation of the British pub food staple “bangers and mash”; and a stellar-sounding charcuterie board with mortadella, salami, jamon iberico, chorizo and a duck terrine.

Bredesen figures he’ll open with three beers (Ginger, Betty and Bertha) on tap and will ramp up to four or five.

Fat Bottom Brewing is set to open Aug. 17 at 900 Main St., but there could be preview events earlier. Watch Fat Bottom Brewing on Facebook or follow @FatBottomBrews on Twitter for updates.

 

August is really turning into a landmark month for openings of interesting chef-driven restaurants: In addition to Lockeland Table, Etch and Cafe Fundamental, all of which I’ve reported on recently, the highly anticipated Germantown restaurant Silo is set to open soon — Aug. 13, in fact, according to proprietor Clay Greenberg.

Greenberg is a highly regarded chef in town, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York who served as executive chef at Virago, launched the late lamented Lime and most recently cooked at the original outpost of The Local Taco in Sylvan Park.

His business partner is Paul Cercone, a veteran of the hot culinary scene in Charleston, S.C. Together they selected Larry Carlile, another Virago vet, as executive chef.

That’s a lot of impressive chefs, even for a chef-driven venture, and the setting isn’t mundane, either. Silo is in the new luxury apartment complex titled Vista Germantown, at Fifth Avenue North and Madison Street.

What that means for Silo is that in addition to attracting the regular cohort of food-curious folks and denizens of the Germantown restaurant scene, Silo has a built-in clientele of hundreds of hungry diners living upstairs.

The cuisine is billed as “elevated Southern” — the concept of taking Southern traditions and uplifting them with the highest standards of preparation. Greenberg jokes that when he was hiring for the kitchen he told recruits, “You’ve got to be able to channel your inner grandmother, but you’ve got to be classically trained, too.”

As for the now-expected local food angle, Greenberg has worked with local farm advocate Sean Siple to connect with farmers to supply the ingredients for Silo.

Cured meats are made in house. In fact, if you walk down Fifth there’s a window into Silo’s tiled charcuterie room so you can literally see how the sausage is made. Pastry chef Melinda Knight does “gorgeous breads,” Greenberg said, including the house-baked hamburger buns, but she’ll be instrumental in an amenity Silo plans to add this fall: Cinnamon Roll Saturdays, where the kitchen will fire up fragrant pastries and coffee on Saturday mornings so that the apartment neighbors can stagger downstairs (in their jammies, if they like) to enjoy an indulgent morning bite.

In addition, Silo will serve dinner seven nights, starting at 5 p.m. (with the bar open at 4 p.m.), plus brunch on Sundays.

The beer selection will be all local and all on tap — including Tennessee breweries like Yazoo, Calfkiller and Jackalope, with one North Carolina ale, Highland, allowed in as the regional content. There will also be “a distinctive wine list,” more than 30 different Bourbons, a house vodka distilled nearby and special cocktails like the rye-based Seersucker.

Check out the menu at SiloTN.com — it looks very tempting. Silo is located at 1121 Fifth Ave. N., and as I said, the opening is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 13
 

woo-hoo Nashville! keep 'em by angie@kaleidosc...