Archive for the ‘Local Interest’ Category

For a great cut, think Clark & Co.

Clark & Co Hair & Nail Design

4004 Hillsboro Pike

Nashville, TN 37215

(615) 269-5599

The last couple of weeks haven’t given me time for much, but what time I have had to explore the city has been spent on finding a decent place to get a hair cut.

At first I looked into, and even tried some of the more popular salons in and around the West End. Ultimately though, I was unable to find a place that could match its stylists skill to the zeal in which they selected their decor. That is, until someone tipped me off about Clark & Co.

Situated in a non-descript retail strip across from Green Hills Mall, Clark & Co, sports a modern but understated interior and a staff that is both friendly and skilled. On a recommendation, I booked an appointment with Brian and I have to say it’s probably the best decision I have made in some time.

He sat me down, immediately assessed what needed to be done and confidently gave recommendations based on the look I was trying to achieve. Having my hair done by the same guy in DC for 5 years, it’s tough to articulate the exact details that I wanted. Lucky for me, Brian honestly knows how to match hairstyle to personality and beyond giving me some great insight into Nashville culture, worked his magic as if I had been going to him forever.

I have to say that it was a bit pricey ($45 for a men’s cut) but it was worth every penny. Ultimately, Clark & Co. is the kind of place that knows its good and doesn’t need half a dozen flat-panel televisions and a waterfall out front to prove it.

Brian is great but so, I am told, are the rest of the stylists there. I highly recommend giving them a call (you’ll probably talk to Fran who is great and will be more than glad to set you up with an appointment) and seeing the difference, yourself.

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Buried on Page 2B

I’m addicted to newspapers. It’s true. Gotta have my fix everyday or I start getting jittery. This might be considered odd behavior for a tech-obsessed guy who also reads way too many blogs most days, but that’s how it goes.

So I found this gem in today’s Tennessean titled, “Noise complaints lead to return to former flight pattern“. If you don’t live in East Nashville or know someone who does, you may have no idea what this means.

Is Chocolate Expressions the cafe north siders have been longing for?

Ever since I moved to Germantown (and no doubt well before that), I’ve been hearing folks talk about how much they want a coffee shop in the neighborhood. We had a tease a while back when one of the retail spaces on the street level of the Summer Street Lofts had a sign saying that a coffee shop was “coming soon” (and then, mysteriously, later said “pending“… and then disappeared entirely). And the new Starbucks at 8th and Dominican in Metrocenter is almost close enough to count, but even if it were right next door, most of the locals would prefer a locally-owned place.

So it was a pleasant surprise a few weeks ago when I noticed the “cafe” sign on a historic house at Jefferson and 7th. The rest of the signage identified the business as “Chocolate Expressions,” an African-American art gallery and bookshop… with free WiFi. Nice. My hometown in the south suburbs of Chicago had a book room and tea shop (though without the WiFi), and it looked like this might have a similar multi-purpose feel, so I was curious to check out the vibe inside. I went by once or twice hoping to catch them open, but the hours weren’t what I expected: the shop doesn’t open until 10 AM. (Which strikes me as a bit of a problem, but I’ll get to that later.)

I did stop by yesterday on the way back from the craft fair at the Farmers Market. The space is divided into two rooms, front and back, with the front room being used for selling books and art (of which the owner, Mark Miller, tells me some is locally created so that’s definitely a good thing), and the back room is where the coffee and food is served. I had a cup of coffee, which is served from vacuum pump pots. I didn’t notice espresso machines so I’m not sure specialty coffee drinks are served, but the coffee was pretty good. (The cups, however, are styrofoam. Hopefully that’s just a temporary accommodation that will be replaced with something both more eco-friendly and more palatable as resources allow. If you can, bring your own cup in the meantime.)

The posted hours show an 8 PM closing time on most days, so this isn’t exactly a night owl place, either. But from the looks of it, the focus will be on the early evenings for regular events. Here’s a sampling:

Thurs, 9/20 – Networking Night 5-8 PM
Fri, 9/21 – Wine Tasting 5-8 PM
Sat, 9/22 – Germantown BBQ 5-8 PM
Sun, 9/23 – Book Reading 2-5 PM

and so on.

Back to the late opening hours. If this business has any hope of satisfying the neighborhood cafe demand — and to be fair, I don’t know that they do have that hope — it’s almost a foregone conclusion that there will need to be earlier hours. As one of my neighbors quipped, “See, the thing about coffee is…” You don’t need the rest completed for you — it’s a morning beverage for most folks.

On the whole, this looks like a solid addition to the neighborhood business profile — not to mention a great resource for African-American books, art, gifts, and community. I strongly encourage folks in north Nashville especially to check it out, buy some coffee, meet Mark Miller and Frederica Hall, and let them know you plan to be back.

Chocolate Expressions
624 Jefferson St. Suite A
Nashville, TN 37208

What to do on this gorgeous day

It’s a gorgeous day out there! I hope you’re going to get out and enjoy it, or maybe that you won’t even see this post right away because you’re already out there enjoying it.

But if you do see this post this morning, here’s an idea: the Farmer’s Market is having a craft fair today. Go check it out, pick up your weekend produce while you’re at it, and then enjoy being outdoors on the Bicentennial Mall.

That’s part of my agenda for today. What’s yours?

Doing Your Duty

Heh, heh. I said duty.

Sorry I haven’t posted for awhile. I can only chalk part of the time away up to the fact that I had jury duty.

But I’m here to tell you, it wasn’t as bad as I though it would be.

It’s Maddening!

At 6:15 on the WSMV News at 6:00, Dan and Demtria throw it to Jennifer Johnson and Tom Randles with a “So tell us what’s coming up on the News at 6:30.”

Oh yes, please give us a glimpse into the distant future 15 minutes from now.

Then at 6:30 Jennifer and Tom proceed to rehash the top headlines from the days of yore thirty freakin’ minutes ago! Worst of all, they make us wait until five minutes before the hour and two separate sets of headlines and weather forecasts before us sports fans can get our short Titans fix.

Here’s a hint, it was hot yesterday. It’ll be hot tomorrow. You can take up a half hour for the weather when it changes. Or the quarterly tornado threatens Rivergate Mall.

I’ll admit Tom and Jennifer are attractive and competent, but their talents (and my time) are being wasted.

I’d like to buy a vowel, Pat. Can I have a “K?”

Franklin Sounds? What, like cash registers?

So what do you all think about the possibility of the Sounds stadium in Franklin? Bob Krumm brings it up over on but since we’ve had a few discussions about it here, I thought I’d get our readers’ perspectives, too.

Is it a weird idea? Are you, like Bob K, thinking about the tax burden? Or are you thinking about the convenience of a pre-game dinner at Wild Noodles? (Sorry, I’m partial to their Thai peanut salad.)

12South Area to get Detailed Neighborhood Design Plan

I’ve long been a fan of the 12South area, having gone there for years now on Tuesday nights for Mafiaoza’s 2-for-1 beers. Lately, I’ve occasionally been hitting 12South Taproom after work for their jazz happy hour as well. So as a frequent visitor I was intrigued to read today that Metro is planning to implement a Detailed Neighborhood Design Plan for the area, which could potentially include “down-zoning of residential space to prevent multi-family developments, or a conservation overlay to protect historic structures.”

For the most part I think this is probably a good idea, but at the same time I don’t think it would hurt to have some low-rise, higher-density housing along 12th Avenue in that area, either. Regardless, it will be interesting to watch this process as it goes along and see what kinds of plans get put in place for this vital and quickly-growing district.

Music City Brewers’ Festival

So, I attended the Music City Brewers’ Festival yesterday. I had a great time, of course, since, well, there was beer. But, let me tell you, folks. This event has a long way to go. Not to be all “in CALIFORNIA…”, but .. this event pales in comparison Booneville Beer Festival I went to in California. There wasn’t a single brewer there that wasn’t top-notch, and there wasn’t a single beer I tasted that wasn’t phenomenal. Here, not so much. But first, the good: There were the token local brewers — Yazoo, Big River, Blackstone, etc. — who were good as always. They didn’t have much new debuting, though, that I saw. Just their regular stuff on tap. I tried a dutch lager from All Seasons that was pretty good. The standout beer for me was the Appalachian Pale Ale from the Smoky Mountain Brewery. It was delicious, and also ice cold, which may be influencing my opinion of it.

Here’s what needs to happen for the Music City Brewers’ Festival to become awesome:

First, the logistics need to improve. The online ticket purchasing system they are using seems as if it was designed with technology dating roughly to 1995. When I went to print my ticket, it said it had “already been printed” (how would they know?) or transferred away, so I had to spend 20 minutes on hold before contacting someone who could reset it. Then there are the lines. I had to stand in line for 45 minutes in the hot sun just to get in. Not cool. I’m not sure what would improve that — maybe a better (larger) location. There were a lot of people packed into a relatively small park. A new location might also help with the last logistical problem: no shade. This is Nashville, y’all. It gets hot here. You have that many people out drinking beer, you need more shade. When I was in Booneville, I was drinking my beer in the shade of a small grove of redwoods while a stiff, dry breeze blew. Well, we don’t have that. At least put up more tents or something. Lastly, the emergency/first-aid staff didn’t seem to have a very visible presence. At a beerfest — particular one in the middle of July in the hot sun — someone is inevitably going to overdo it. Some poor guy was sitting on the steps puking his guts out and then just sat there with his head in his hands for over two hours, and no one helped him. I even tried to find a first-aid station or something, and couldn’t find anyone. I told some security guard who pretended he was getting up to tell someone long enough to placate me and then when I looked back he had sat down.

Second, ditch the lame vendors. Smirnoff Ice had a tent. Jack Daniels had a tent with their wine cooler things. I mean, come on. Seriously. I’m sorry, I thought this was a brewers’ festival. Malt liquor doesn’t count. Eliminate the lame commercial vendors and work on recruiting more local or regional microbreweries to fill the gap. If I wanted to drink Smirnoff Ice, I’d .. uh.. I’m sorry, my brain is incapable of completing this thought exercise.

So yeah, it was a good time. It was worth the money. It could use some improvements.

“Laguna Beach” Nashville

Has anyone else heard about the new semi-reality TV show coming to Fox this fall? It’s called Nashville and they basically follow around a number of Nashvillians trying to make it big in the music industry. Obviously, some of the show is scripted, but there is a good amount of true reality involved, too. I always thought that Nashville would be a perfect place for The Real World to film a season (they could have a big house right in Hillsboro Village or maybe redo the upstairs of one of downtown’s honky tonks), so this is a good start.

I’ve run into them filming a couple times, once at Corner Pub in midtown. Any other sightings, Metbloggers? Let us know in the comments.

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