The Food Biz: Festival feasting

Music City Eats brings major chef lineup to town

An ambitious new food event, Music City Eats: Nashville Food, Wine & Spirits Festival, was announced this week. It’s the project of Caleb and Nathan Followill of Kings of Leon and some of their high-powered food and entertainment pals. Mayor Karl Dean joined the announcement party hosted by chef Tandy Wilson at City House.

To create the festival, which is set for Sept. 21-22 in downtown Nashville, the Followills are collaborating with Ken Levitan and Andy Mendelsohn of Vector Management (which manages the band) and C3 Presents, the producers of the Austin City Limits Music Festival, Lollapalooza and the Austin Food & Wine Festival, among other large events around the country.

Also part of the team is chef Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto restaurant in New York (and Season 2 of Top Chef Masters), who’s a friend of the Followills. He helped hatch the plan to make the new festival a showcase of both local chefs and Waxman’s buddies on the national food scene. It adds up to a couple dozen chefs, a pretty impressive lineup. The festival will take over Public Square Park with cooking demos, panel discussions, book signings and an event called the Flavors of Nashville, where local chefs will serve up special dishes on Saturday (wine and spirits tastings will also be offered). On Sunday chefs will offer a “Revival Brunch.”

Saturday evening brings Harvest Night, a food event featuring a dozen or so nationally known chefs, and Petty Fest, a musical tribute to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, hosted by the Kings of Leon and the Cabin Down Below Band, along with other musical guests. The venue for those events is War Memorial Plaza and Auditorium.

Local chefs participating include Erik Anderson and Josh Habiger (The Catbird Seat); Carey Bringle (The Peg Leg Porker); Matt Farley (The Southern); Sarah Gavigan (Otaku South); Joseph Lenn (The Barn at Blackberry Farm); Pat Martin (Martin’s Bar-B-Que); Deb Paquette (Etch); Giovanni Pinato (Giovanni Ristorante); Barclay Stratton (Merchants); and Tandy Wilson (City House).

Besides Waxman, the out-of-town guns include John Besh; Tom Colicchio; Giada De Laurentiis; Mike Lata; Edward Lee; Tim Love; Aaron Sanchez; Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo; Nancy Silverton; Michael Symon; and Trisha Yearwood (who in addition to being a country star has authored best-selling cookbooks and has a show on Food Network). Passes to the event range from $275 to $500 and are available at

• Two hugely popular food purveyors in East Nashville are heading west.

Porter Road Butcher, the artisan whole-animal butcher operation that’s been going strong on Gallatin Avenue for a year-and-a-half, is staking out a second location in Sylvan Park, The City Paper’s Steve Cavendish reports. It’s going into the former Mrs. Winner’s site at 4816 Charlotte Pike, across from Richland Park.

“We opened up as a neighborhood shop and realize all of Nashville wants a neighborhood butcher shop,” said James Peisker, who owns Porter Road Butcher with fellow chef Chris Carter. “It’s gratifying because people have a passion for what we’ve been doing. By us growing, it shows Nashville is becoming a food city.”

Peisker stressed that it will be a strictly retail establishment, and there’s no target opening date yet, though he said it certainly won’t be this summer. (Sorry, summer grilling aficionados.)

Meanwhile, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is working to open a sister location to its scoop shop on Eastland Avenue, my Scene colleague Steve Haruch reports.

Jeni’s was founded in Columbus, Ohio, in 2002 by Jeni Britton Bauer, whose affinity for Nashville led her to open the first Jeni’s shop outside Ohio in Nashville in 2011. (Since then the ice cream has gained substantial national acclaim.)

The Jeni’s store has thrived on Eastland, and its sister establishment later this year in 12South. The new Jeni’s will be located at 2314 12th Ave. S. in the upcoming 12 South Flats retail and apartment development.