In focus: Benjamin Goldberg

Culinary innovator gratified to sit in the catbird’s seat

Restaurateur Benjamin Goldberg of Strategic Hospitality has been helping Nashville become a hipper place since 2003, so he was pretty gratified to see the city’s culinary scene garner national attention in 2012.

In a year filled with U.S., and even international, media outlets praising Nashville’s food and entertainment charms, one of the most talked-about restaurants remained The Catbird Seat, which Goldberg launched in late 2011 with his business partner and brother Max. The kudos Catbird has received could fill a book.

People who follow the restaurant industry are — not surprisingly — looking to Ben Goldberg to see what’s next. Interestingly, 2012 was the first year since the brothers created Strategic Hospitality in 2007 that the company didn’t launch a major new project. That’s quite calculated, Goldberg said, while pointing to all the other entrepreneurs helping propel Nashville’s growth.

“There are so many talented people in Nashville right now, it's really exciting to see the country take notice and applaud the amazing things taking place in the city,” Goldberg said. “As for Strategic Hospitality, we've had amazing support that has allowed us to continue to grow and develop new projects.”

He added, “We still plan to forge ahead, we just want to make sure getting bigger doesn't impact our ability to make sure every single project we do is special and receives the care and attention it deserves. We're just being very cognizant of that as we move forward in 2013.”

Given his track record, observers are betting will Goldberg keep the positive momentum going. And Goldberg is betting Nashville will do the same.