This week’s news touches on three of Food Biz’s favorite obsessions: pizza, beer and the Gulch. (We’re taking a break from barbecue and fancy coffee this week.)
First, this hot slice: New York-based pizza pie purveyors Two Boots opened their doors this week in the former Great Escape space on Broadway in Midtown.
Two Boots is not a traditional New York pizza joint. The eclectic pies unite Cajun and Italian influences, and the concept serves up a generous helping of pop culture whimsy.
That’s been evident for a few weeks, as the renovated space sprouted with exterior murals celebrating jazz legend Charlie Parker, The Dude from The Big Lebowski, comedian Andy Kaufman’s alter ego Tony Clifton, and other figures who’ve inspired Two Boots’ various pies.
Unique to Nashville is a new avatar: country legend Kitty Wells. Two Boots Nashville executive chef Chuck Ruwet created a special pie in her honor, topped with slices of hot chicken (supplied by Midtown neighbor Hattie B.’s), blue cheese dressing, pickles and jalapeños on a white pie.
There’s also a pizza named for The Great Escape, which operated for many years on the site, selling comic books, records and more to a couple generations of Nashvillians. (The Great Escape’s main local location is now well established on Charlotte Pike.) The pizza homage is topped with house-made andouille sausage meatballs, fresh basil and ricotta.
For now, Two Boots Nashville is serving pizza only, whole pies or by the slice. (Sandwiches and salads will come later.) Boyer hopes to secure a beer license soon. Two Boots Nashville is at 1925 Broadway. This weekend, hours will be 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday; they’ll be closed this Sunday. Regular hours begin Monday, July 15: 11 a.m.-midnight Sundays through Wednesdays; 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.
• Over in the Gulch, a new little bar specializing in craft brews opened quietly on July 4. It’s called Hops & Crafts, and it takes over the space formerly held by Sweet CeCe’s frozen yogurt shop.
Hops & Crafts has 36 different brews on tap, serving beer by the pint, or in samplers of six smaller pours. You can also get growlers (64 ounces) and half-growlers (32 ounces) filled from the tap to go. Owners Alex Cohn, Danny Charles and Kreigh Bourff are all residents of the Gulch. With backgrounds in accounting and sales, they decided to apply their business knowledge to creating the kind of hangout they’d like to have in the neighborhood.
Cohn said the taps will rotate, but there will always be 12 to 15 local beers. He hopes to start serving sandwiches and snacks — supplied by chef Zack Maddox at Coffee, Lunch — in the next week.
The team plans to have a lot of daily events like trivia and pint nights; follow @hopscraftsgulch on Twitter for updates. For a list of current selections on tap, visit hopscrafts.com.
Hops & Crafts is located at 319 12th Ave. S., the phone number is 456-8797. Hours are currently 11 a.m. to 11 p.m daily.
• Porter Road Butcher, the popular artisan whole-animal butcher shop on Gallatin Avenue in East Nashville, has a couple of developments to report. For one thing, the store will no longer operate on Sundays beginning in August.
The chef-owners of the butcher shop say they’ve been running out of their weekly wares (locally grown, non-industrial pork, beef, lamb and poultry) and Sunday hours no longer make sense. (This may disappoint hordes of fans who don’t plan ahead for their weekend cooking.) Founders James Peisker and Chris Carter said that their staff just needs a day off, as well.
But Porter Road Butcher is continuing to gear up for expansion. Construction is nearly done at the upcoming second location at 4816 Charlotte Ave., across from Richland Park. They hope to start serving up fresh cuts there in early fall.
Porter Road Butcher is at 501 Gallatin Ave. Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday.