The Food Biz: Dairy dipping downtown

Iconic Bobbie's Dairy Dip to dispense shakes, burgers, beer in heart of city

Bobbie’s Dairy Dip, the venerable West Nashville spot for ice cream and burgers, is  staking out a second location downtown.

Bobbie’s, which has operated in the same stand on Charlotte Pike  for more than 60 years, is working to open a new location in the former Wise Burgers space on Fourth Avenue North.

Sam Huh, who bought Bobbie’s in 2006 and is also the general manager, said he was motivated to open the new location partly as a way to serve his customers and employees all year round. (Bobbie’s closes for three months every winter.)

And he said being downtown will allow him not only to tap hungry office workers but also give tourists Bobbie’s brand of Nashville-grown, non-franchise burger experience.

In addition to providing real seating in a cafe setting (the original Bobbie’s offers only outdoor picnic tables), the new location will serve beer. But “it won’t be a pub,” he said. Just three or so local beers will be available on tap.

Huh, who also owns J&J’s Market & Cafe, said the menu at the new place will feature the popular items Bobbie’s has served for ages: burgers, fries (including the sweet potato version),  luscious soft-serve ice cream, sundaes and milkshakes.

Bobbie’s Dairy Dip Downtown is scheduled to open Sept. 24 at 223 Fourth Ave. N.


Aura, a new restaurant featuring “world fusion” cuisine, small plates and specialty cocktails is under construction in a high-profile location on Division Street in Midtown.

It’s going in at 1811 Division St., the home of Virago before it moved to its vast current space in the Gulch.

Aura’s managing partner is a longtime Nashville restaurateur, Mathew Igwonobe, whose past projects include ownership of Quails restaurant in Brentwood. He also did a stint as chef at Mere Bulles and Merchants.

Igwonobe promises a diverse menu with globally inspired cuisine, including a separate lunch menu. He also said he’ll use as many locally sourced ingredients as possible. The cocktails will be made with fresh fruit juices and herbs, he added.

The team is doing an extensive overhaul of the space, both inside and out. Igwonobe hopes to open sometime in the next three weeks. A sneak peek at the menu is available at


I’ve gotten to write about a bounty of upcoming restaurants this summer, but I haven’t always had time to report when they actually open their doors.

So here’s a rough count of much-heralded restaurants that have opened their doors in the past month or so (in alphabetical order): Café Fundamental on Porter Road in East Nashville, Etch in the Encore condo tower downtown, Fat Bottom Brewery on Main Street in East Nashville, Lockeland Table at Woodland and 16th streets in East Nashville, and Silo Restaurant in the Vista apartment building in Germantown.

Sadly, I also have to report a prominent closure. YOLOS, located in the restaurant space between the movie theater and the Metro Archives building near the Mall at Green Hills, shut down suddenly last week.

Few details were available, but a sign on the door announced that if you possess a YOLOS gift certificate you can get a refund by writing to P.O. 1802, Bowling Green, Ky., 42102.


Tickets are going fast for one of Nashville’s more ambitious annual food events: the Southern Artisan Cheese Festival, set for Oct. 6 at the Nashville Farmers’ Market.

Kathleen Cotter, the dedicated cheese monger behind The Bloomy Rind, the cheese shop that shares space with Porter Road Butcher, started the festival last year to give Nashville a taste of the kind of cheese-worshipping extravaganzas that take place in some bigger foodie cities.

The fest is unique in its focus on the cheese wares of the South, a region that is somewhat new in the annals of cheese, but is catching up fast.
Cotter has lined up more than 20 cheese makers from the region, plus plenty of other Southern artisan food and drink purveyors. She estimates that your $44 ticket will give you access to samples of at least 150 different products, including beer and wine.

In addition to tastings, cheese mongers and other culinary experts will offer short classes on cheesy topics.

Learning from a couple glitches that occurred last year, Cotter has made some tweaks, including securing a bigger footprint at the Farmers’ Market to ensure crowd flow: The whole flea market side of the building will be devoted to the festival.

Like last year, the festival is expected to sell out. Go to for more info and tickets.