December 1, 2017

First look: M.L. Rose opens Saturday near the Gulch

Owner Austin Ray already planning a fourth location of the neighborhood pub as third opens in ground-floor space at 11th and Nelson Merry Street inside hospital chain HCA’s 1100 Charlotte at Capitol View building.

It’s been a busy summer and fall for Austin Ray.

Barely two months ago, the Nashville restaurateur opened Von Elrod’s Beer Garden & Sausage House across from First Tennessee Park near Germantown.

On Saturday, he’s set to open his newest M.L. Rose Craft Beer & Burgers at hospital chain HCA’s new 1100 Charlotte at Capitol View building in the North Gulch.

And Ray is already working on plans for a fourth location in greater Nashville under that popular neighborhood pub concept known for its beers and craft burgers.

“Two restaurants in two months is ambitious to say the least, but we’re almost there,” he said earlier this week as employees underwent training and construction workers put the finishing touches on M.L. Rose’s new 4,750 square feet of ground-floor space at Capitol View. “When you go from three locations to five, it’s just exciting to see who on the team steps up and people you’ve worked with for a long time taking it to next level.”

Surveying the landscape around M.L. Rose’s new location at the intersection of 11th and Nelson Merry Street gives Ray confidence that he picked the best corner at Capitol View, which is in an area with limited dining and bar options within immediate proximity.

Across 11th Avenue, work is underway on the next phases of the 32-acre mixed-use campus, including on the former Hansen Chrysler Plymouth Jeep-Eagle dealership site at 11th and Charlotte. Buildings and parking structures rising would house apartments, a grocery store that could be a Publix, a Hampton Inn & Suites hotel plus headquarters for health care information technology HealthStream and other office spaces.

In addition, LifeWay Christian Resources recently opened its new 1,100-employee Capitol View headquarters at 11th and Jo Johnston Avenue. And on three acres near Capitol View where telecommunications giant AT&T previously operated a work center and garage, construction continues on developer Terwilliger Pappas Multifamily Partners’ 271-unit Solis North Gulch apartments.

“It’s a new city in the middle of an already fast-growing city,” Ray said about the overall mixed-use campus, which is being developed by financial services giant Northwestern Mutual and its development partners Boyle Investment Co. and Northwood Ravin.

The new M.L. Rose has 70 employees and can seat for 222 people, including on the patio. Free parking is available at HCA’s garage for patrons of the neighborhood pub.

A garage door with a bar that opens up to the sidewalk is one key difference between the new North Gulch location and the two existing M.L. Rose pubs in Nashville’s Melrose area and Sylvan Park neighborhoods. Ray said the kitchen of the Capitol View location was designed to be efficient to accommodate an expected busy lunch crowd.

The bar will have 36 beers on tap, including four taps in the middle featuring sour beers. There are several television sets for patrons to watch games and collages decorating the walls.

“We’re not a sports bar, but a great place to watch a game,” Ray said.

In addition to craft beers and burgers, M.L. Rose’s menu includes sweet potato buns and its, signature waffle fries. The Capitol View location will have similar hours of operations as the neighborhood pub’s other locations.

At the 1100 Charlotte at Capitol View building where HCA houses roughly 2,000 employees, M.L. Rose will join a newly opened Pinnacle Bank branch among tenants for ground-level retail space. Others include or will include fast-casual pizza joint Your Pie, clothing boutique Southern Vintage Market and a Starbucks coffee shop.

“Although the other two M.L Roses have gone into neighborhoods on the early end of a slower development, and now that development is really picking up steam, this one’s at the front end of a really fast-moving development that we’re excited about,” Ray said. “I’ve said for a long time you can build a neighborhood around a neighborhood pub like M.L. Rose and a coffee shop, and you’ve a got a (Starbucks) coming down at the other corner.”

Originally Published in The Tennessean

By Getahn Ward